National Forest Monitoring Systems for REDD+ and Forest Reference Emission Levels/Forest Reference Levels (FREL/FRL)
Monitoring and measurement, reporting and verification
In order to avoid, reduce and capture forest carbon emissions, any country planning to carry out REDD+ activities effectively must have monitoring systems that provide accurate data on emissions. Monitoring, and measurement, reporting and verification (M&MRV) for REDD+ is a way of addressing a country’s commitments to collecting and sharing this information.
Countries planning to carry out REDD+ are also requested to develop national forest monitoring systems (NFMS), as agreed in Cancun in 2010 at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC-COP16). It was recognized that NFMS can both monitor REDD+ activities as well as play an MRV role in their implementation. Indeed, NFMSs play an essential role in how information for national REDD+ programmes is managed.
Pillars of national forest monitoring systems
The “monitoring” function of NFMS allows countries to assess a broad range of forest information, including in the context of REDD+. The ‘MRV’ function for REDD+ refers to the estimation and international reporting of forest emissions and removals.
The monitoring function can be defined depending on national circumstances. Meanwhile, the MRV function will imply three main components/pillars:
Countries carry out REDD+ through three phases, in accordance to Decision 1/CP.16, in which the NFMS must be developed through three pillars:
M&MRV is one of the largest areas of work of the UN-REDD Programme. Technical and institutional capacity building are keys to developing strong nationally owned forest monitoring systems. The UN-REDD Programme, through its collaborating UN agency FAO, provides technical support to countries, particularly in the development of credible and cost-effective NFMSs. Countries are also assisted to develop their forest reference emissions levels/forest reference levels (FREL/FRL).According to the UNFCCC, these benchmarks must be established in order to assess a country’s performance in carrying out REDD+ activities.
Forest reference emission levels and/or forest reference levels
One of the elements countries need to develop to participate in REDD+ is a FREL/FRL. The UNFCCC has defined FREL/FRLsas benchmarks for assessing each country’s performance in implementing REDD+ activities and mitigating climate change through actions related to their forests.
To date, the UNFCCC-COP has agreed on four decisions related to FREL/FRLs for REDD+, providing guidance for developing countries on 1) modalities for FREL/FRLs, including guidelines for submission of information; and 2) on the technical assessment of FREL/FRL submissions.
Key points in these decisions made on the scale, scope and other requirements for the construction of FREL/FRLs suggest they should:
Land Monitoring Systems (LMS)
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Outcomes and Outputs
Key Recommended Resources
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FAQs about National Forest Monitoring Systems for REDD+ and Forest Reference Emission Levels/Forest Reference Levels (FREL/FRL)
Find NFMS/REL capacity building resources and learning tools here.
- Système National de Surveillance des Forêts de la République Démocratique du Congo
- Republic of Congo National Forest Monitoring Portal
- Zambia National Forest Monitoring Portal
- Sistema Nacional de Monitoreo Forestal de Paraguay
- Geoportal del Sistema Único de Información Ambiental de Ecuador
- Sistema Nacional de Monitoreo de Bosques de la República de Argentina
- Cambodia National Forest Monitoring Portal
- Papua New Guinea National Forest Monitoring Portal
- Solomon Island National Forest Monitoring Portal
- Pacific Islands National Forest Monitoring Portal
- Myanmar National Forest Monitoring Portal