National Dialogue Discusses Challenges of MRV of Climate Actions in Chhattisgarh

ICLEI South Asia, with support from the Chhattisgarh State Centre for Climate Change, organised the “Second Multi-Level Governance National Dialogue in India – Aligning Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) for GHG emissions and mitigation actions in Chhattisgarh,” on the 17th of December 2020.

The state-level dialogue, held under the aegis of the Climate Footprint Project, is part of the multi-level governance dialogues being organised to create a space for mutual exchange and understanding among national, state and municipal governments and other stakeholders. The objective is to identify viewpoints and explore potential best approaches to enable vertical integration for improving the current MRV arrangements in India, and to enhance sub-national government engagement to implement climate actions in sync with the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The outcomes emerging from this dialogue seek to inform and strengthen the MRV capabilities of the states, and facilitate sub-national climate action.

This event focused on understanding state-level climate action, identifying the barriers and enablers for current MRV systems for emissions in Chhattisgarh, and exploring how cities could contribute towards achieving the state’s climate actions.

In his keynote speech, Dr N H Ravindranath, Professor, Indian Institute of Science, said, “State governments are faced with a challenge of data limitations, integration and access to real-time data for projections of national and regional impacts and targets. Therefore, a guidance framework and format for MRV of climate action data is required at the state level.” He emphasised that “a network of non-state actors is needed to guide the state and local government officials on MRV”.

Mr Sudhir Kumar Agrawal, Nodal Officer, Chhattisgarh State Centre for Climate Change, presented a comprehensive overview of the ongoing climate actions in the state, including mitigation as well as adaptation actions. He also explained the approaches being taken to revise Chhattisgarh’s State Action Plan on Climate Change in view of India’s NDC submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Setting the context, Ms Laura Maria Noriega Gamarra, Officer, Climate Data, ICLEI World Secretariat, spelled out the components of an effective Integrated MRV. Experts and participants then engaged in a panel discussion on the challenges and policy recommendations for developing an integrated MRV system in Chhattisgarh.

In his special address, Mr Ajay Raghava, Deputy Director, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, touched upon key aspects of MRV systems; the global MRV and transparency framework and upcoming changes under the Paris regime; the state of national MRV systems (GHG emissions and mitigation actions); gaps and challenges in developing an integrated MRV system; and the role of non-state actors. He said, “India is soon going to come up with a ranking of states on the basis of their climate actions through the introduction of a data dashboard. The NITI Aayog is in the process of identifying the indicators that could be suggested to the states.”

Ms Soumya Chaturvedula, Deputy Director, ICLEI South Asia, and Mr Bhaskar Padigala, Deputy Manager, ICLEI South Asia gave brief overviews on the need for climate action planning at the city level, and for linking it to state and national programmes.

In the second panel discussion, Mr Bhagirath Verma, Chief Engineer, Urban Administration Department, Chhattisgarh, spoke about the ways and means through which state governments could account for city-level climate actions, and listed out the plans and actions taken to achieve Chhattisgarh’s climate targets so far. Mr S R Shrivastava, OSD, Department of Housing and Environment, Chhattisgarh, mentioned some of the important climate-resilient development measures being taken in Naya Raipur, such as recycling of every drop of water, making it a zero-discharge city, installation of a sustainable urban drainage system and a 3 MW solar plant and the establishment of a network-controlled LED street lighting system.

Ms Chaturvedula emphasised in her closing remarks that there was a need to improve coordination between national and state government departments, and to involve key actors such as line departments, local government officials and non-state actors in the climate action planning and reporting process. She added that the Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework provided a good spring board to develop a dedicated and robust MRV system for cities.