Malawi is taking active steps towards implementing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) policy process on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (Redd+), director of forestry Clement Chilima has said.
“A key component to the implementation of the Redd+ Policy is a national measurement, reporting and verification [MRV] system. The MRV should provide information on forest area and forest area change, as well as the related biomass changes over time in order for emissions to be estimated at both sub-national and national level,” said Chilima.
He was addressing delegates to a recent workshop jointly organised by the Department of Forestry, Forest Research Institute of Malawi (Frim) in co-ordination with the Malawi Redd+ Readiness Programme and technical partners at the European Space Agency and the remote sensing company, GAF AG in Munich, Germany.
The application of Earth Observation or satellite data for the assessment of forest area and forest area change is an important technology for the MRV, and Malawi is already cognisant of the benefits of using remote sensing for forest and land use mapping via different projects in the country, he said.
“In order to get the financial compensation for implementing Redd+, countries are expected to provide verified emission levels via methods that are based on the UNFCCC principles of reporting which are “Transparency, Completeness, Consistency, Comparability and Accuracy [or the TCCCA basic principles] and the methods have to be reviewed by an independent assessment/review process [as noted in the recent COP Decisions],” Chilima said.
The need for high accuracy Earth Observation-based forest monitoring products and results that can be scrutinised in an independent review process and simultaneously be cost-effective presents a major activity and challenge to be pursued by Malawi in the Redd+ process.
“These aspects were addressed to a certain extent in a Sadc REDD MRV project (supported by GIZ) which was implemented from 2012-2015 and in which Malawi participated as a pilot country. During this project the challenges in using satellite data for mapping the dry forest ecosystems such as the miombo and mopane prevalent in the Sadc region were noted,” he said.
In order to address these technical challenges the company GAF AG in Munich who implemented the remote sensing component in the Sadc Redd MRV project proceeded to try and improve the methods for the dry forest mapping with support from the European Space Agency.
The workshop was intended to provide an opportunity to have a focused review of the methods development that have been tested and are required to roll out.
“Sadc [Southern African Development Community] and its member states required developing an IPCC compliant Regional MRV System Pilot Implementation of the Regional Redd+ MRV System in four pilot countries,” forestry officer in the Department of Forestry headquarters Henry Kadzuwa said.
On his part GAF AG’s head of forest and climate change, Thomas Hausler, said reduction of green house gases is central to the climate change initiatives in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Deforestation and forest degradation are estimated to contribute about 20 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions.