As one of the regions experiencing the impacts of climate change more severely and frequently, the Caribbean is not standing idle. Countries are moving forward with climate change agendas that reflect their needs in adaptation action and resilience enhancement, as well as opportunities in mitigation.
Countries in the Caribbean have taken significant leaps to better understand their climate-related risks, update their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and develop adequate governance frameworks to guide climate action.
Another key set of actions taking place quietly and steadily are those related to reporting and transparency under the Paris Agreement.
According to Article 13 of the Agreement, countries should regularly report transparent information on their climate targets, considering their different capacities and building upon the collective experience. An enhanced and universal transparency framework (ETF) was established to support countries with this task and serve as an accountability mechanism. During COP24 in Katowitze, the first rules to operationalize the ETF were established as part of the Katowice Climate Package (or Rulebook) and finalized during COP26 in Glasgow.
Why are reporting and transparency relevant in the Caribbean?
Ensuring adequate reporting and transparency in the Caribbean is relevant because it provides a snapshot of individual and collective progress in achieving climate targets. Having suitable systems in place is essential in allowing parties to identify and address the main gaps in the access to climate finance, technology development and transfer, and local capacities creation. It is also crucial in building trust and confidence among parties, including governments, financial institutions, civil society, and the private sector. It also offers the opportunity to access additional sources of finance. For example, carbon markets require strong data on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions to build and create the rules and standards for its functioning.
Recently we have witnessed an increasing interest in coupling these efforts with the appropriate capacities and instruments to measure and communicate progress consistently. Decision-makers have acknowledged that this is the way to identify the most critical needs and the potential sources of support to come up with effective policy solutions to articulate feasible climate action. These exercises are expected to trigger similar efforts in the region.
The first-of-its-kind Database in Suriname
In June 2022, Suriname launched Dondru, the country’s climate change knowledge database. Supported by the IDB and developed by the National Institute for Environment and Development, the platform is one of the first of its kind in the Caribbean. Dondru is the best example of transparent reporting on climate change-related data.
The platform provides information on Suriname’s GHG inventory, the progress on achieving the NDC, and the National Adaptation Plan targets. It also includes information on the international agreements ratified by Suriname and publications related to climate change. Dondru is already helping decision-makers in Suriname disseminate information to stakeholders and is expected to impact decision-making shortly.
Climate leadership on transparency in Barbados and Jamaica
Following the NDC update on July 2021, Barbados has made sure the set-up for adequate implementation is in place. With support from the IDB, the Government gained access to the GEF-funded Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT). This platform supports countries in strengthening institutions for transparency-related activities in line with national priorities and commitments and provides them with the necessary tools, training, and assistance to meet Article 13 stipulations.
The project in Barbados seeks to enhance the quality of their mitigation data and improve the institutional arrangements needed to build an MRV platform. This platform will allow them to collect, verify and assess their advance as part of their NDC commitments.Most importantly, they will centralize key information on a digital platform, fostering ownership and transparency.
This is similar to another CBIT project in Jamaica currently in implementation and will also result in an MRV platform that will incorporate Digital Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) – i.e., blockchain) to support its climate action agenda. Other digital elements of the project will include using a Geographic Information System (GIS) to map and analyze mitigation and adaptation projects. Article 13 is driving the expansion of digital tools in these countries.
Climate transparency is a shared endeavor
Stakeholders should ensure transparency continues guiding climate action in the Caribbean. Hopefully, the examples presented here inspire other countries in the Caribbean to follow the same path. Demonstrating climate action with data and evidence will put nations in a better position to achieve national climate goals and attract the required technical support and investments to boost a low-carbon, resilient future.
The role of development partners such as the IDB in this journey is crucial. Special emphasis should be given to the exchange of experiences and knowledge. Caribbean countries face similar climate change-related challenges making solutions easily replicable. The endeavor toward climate transparency is common, as it is one toward a low-carbon and climate-resilient future.
Finally, the Bank’s support to countries in advancing climate action and its commitment to align operations with the Paris Agreement by 2023 will undoubtedly represent an opportunity to expand the reporting and transparency agenda in the Caribbean and beyond.
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