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M&E Frameworks for Capacity Building in Climate Transparency
A Comparative Review of Two Quantitative Approaches
02 September, 2022
Chisa Umemiya, Sumit Prasad, and Shikha Bhasin

Suggested Citation: Umemiya, Chisa, Sumit Prasad, and Shikha Bhasin. 2022. M&E Frameworks for Capacity Building in Climate Transparency: A Comparative Review of Two Quantitative Approaches. New Delhi: Council on Energy, Environment and Water.

Overview

This study performs a comparative analysis of the two existing monitoring and evaluation (M&E) methodologies , Capacity-Building Assessment Matrix (CBAM) and Greenhouse Gas Inventories (GHGI) Capacity Indices , both of which aim at undertaking quantitative assessments of capacity-building efforts for climate reporting aspects. In the study, capacity building for the preparation of a national greenhouse inventory is taken as an example as it showcases the conceptual and methodological similarities between the two M&E methods. The study also highlights the significance of the outcomes of the M&E assessments; they hold immense potential in serving as critical inputs to the negotiations and supporting developing countries' transition to the enhanced transparency framework. It urges to initiate discussions on the development of M&E methods and build a common understanding of what constitutes transparency capacity.

Key Highlights

  • Both the M&E methodologies discussed in this paper developed indicators that could represent theoretical capacity of a country as there is no common understanding on what constitutes capacity in the context of transparency.
  • Despite the fact that the two methodologies have been developed by independent research groups, similar dimensions (institutional, knowledge and applied or procedural capacities) were observed in both methods. Both also exhibit similar methodological steps and rely mainly on publicly available (and often the same) information sources for quantification of the indicators.
  • While the ultimate goal of both M&E methods is to assess the transparency capacity at the national level for UNFCCC reporting requirements, they were intended to serve different M&E objectives. Hence, a country or a donor willing to conduct M&E for capacity-building should be careful about selecting M&E approaches.
  • Capacity building is a country-driven process and is based on domestic priorities. In the context of transparency, it is evolving in nature because of changes in international reporting requirements. Hence, the capacity indicators associated with dimensions need regular updating to reflect national priorities and changes in the reporting requirements.
  • To promote M&E methodology development and practices widely, the international community can work together to build a common understanding of what constitutes transparency capacity.

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Sumit Prasad
Programme Associate
“It is important to understand the capacity of developing countries to report on climate actions and support them to improve it over time. For this, the study discusses the two M&E approaches, which analyse capacity-building efforts quantitatively to establish the status quo, identify the concerns, and track the changes.”

Executive Summary

The need to monitor and evaluate capacity-building efforts for climate transparency is increasingly recognised to ensure the effectiveness of those efforts and to approach future capacity-building needs strategically. Since it is a newer area, it is important to build our knowledge around available monitoring and evaluation (M&E) methodologies. We compare the status quo of the two existing M&E methodologies, Capacity-Building Assessment Matrix (CBAM) and Greenhouse Gas Inventories (GHGI) Capacity Indices, both of which are aimed at quantitative assessments, with an example of capacity building for the preparation of national greenhouse gas inventories. We observed that the ultimate goal of the two M&E approaches was the same, but they were intended to serve different M&E objectives. Also, there exist conceptual and methodological similarities between the two M&E methods and certain aspects (dimensions and indicators) of the M&E approaches were important for transparency capacity.

Dimension, element and indicator comparison across methodologies

Sources: Authors’ analysis, based on CEEW’s CBAM study (2019) and Umemiya and White (2020)

Recommendations
  • A country or a donor willing to conduct M&E for capacity building should carefully select M&E approaches which are suitable for the purposes of conducting M&E, e.g., to understand the status and change of a country’s capacity across time or compared to other countries or to identify the country’s critical capacity gaps, inadequate support or retention issues, and needs that are not addressed or identified.
  • When conducting M&E, it is crucial to be aware of which dimensions of transparency capacity are being assessed. Currently, there is no common understanding of what constitutes transparency capacity, so each approach has established its own definition. Also, since capacity building is a country-driven process, these dimensions and indicators need regular updating depending upon the changes in the reporting guidelines as well as domestic priority.
  • To promote M&E methodology development and practices widely, the international community can work together to build a common understanding of what constitutes transparency capacity. It can start from the dimensions which were commonly recognised by and are related to the two approaches, such as institutional, knowledge and technical, and completeness of disclosures in submitted greenhouse gas inventories (GHGIs).
  • The international community can also start monitoring certain capacity indicators that are obviously important for transparency capacity, such as the existence of a coordinative body, presence of formal legal frameworks, defined roles and responsibilities of relevant entities, choice and application of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines and methodologies, and the quality of GHGIs. Monitoring them globally will help us to understand how capacity building and its outcomes are made under the Paris Agreement.
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Sumit Prasad
Programme Associate

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