History of WGIA
Japan is the only Annex I Party in Asia with experience in completing the periodical GHG inventory in Asia. Since Asian cultures and climates vary greatly from those of Europe and the USA, so do the methods of estimating emissions and removals and institutional arrangements. As Japan has constructed an appropriate methodology and institutional arrangement based on Asian culture and climate, it can share its GHG inventory information through WGIA with other countries in Asia, due to their cultural and climatic similarities.
The WGIA and capacity building for measurability, reportability and verifiability were both initiated in 2003 with the aim of building capacity within Asia to develop a GHG inventory. Since its sixth meeting in 2008 (WGIA6), WGIA has been convened as a part of the “Kobe Initiative” of the G8 Environment Ministers' Meeting (Reference: Greenhouse Gas Inventory Office of Japan (GIO), CGER, NIES (2009a)).
WGIA has grown since its first meeting in 2003, from 27 participants to over 100 at WGIA7 in 2009 (Reference: Greenhouse Gas Inventory Office of Japan (GIO), CGER, NIES (2009b)) then to 130 at WGIA10 in 2012. The 2014 WGIA (WGIA12) was attended by 123 persons from 14 WGIA member countries and international organisations and is now one of the biggest climate change events in Asia. It has also received requests from countries such as Pakistan and East Timor, which are not currently members of WGIA, to attend future WGIA meetings. There is the possibility of expanding the scale of the workshop.
Table 11.3 List of host countries
The participating countries that acted as host countries for WGIA from 2003 to 2014 are shown in Table 11.3.
Contents of WGIA
1. Topics Discussed in Plenary Sessions
The topics of discussion covered various categories on WGIA as shown below. WGIAs consist of the following sessions:
– Plenary sessions
– Sectoral working group sessions
– Mutual learning sessions
– Hands-on training sessions
Basically, as mentioned above, each WGIA consists of three of the above sessions. All participants join the plenary sessions and then choose sectoral working-group sessions as well as hands-on training sessions. Mutual learning sessions are closed sessions and are limited in participant number.
Plenary sessions deal with overall and cross-cutting issues on national GHG inventory preparation, such as data provision, institutional arrangements and introduction to countermeasures for climate change of Japan and host countries, as well as mitigation action such as NAMAs. Through discussions in the plenary sessions, participants in WGIAs share information from various data sources, which is useful for improving their inventory preparation systems.
The topics in plenary sessions were:
– Progress report on Non-Annex I Parties' national communications (NCs) shared by the UNFCCC Secretariat
– Progress of NCs and BURs in each participating country
– National systems for periodical national GHG inventory preparation
– Relationships between inventory and mitigation measures/NAMAs
– Enhancement of network for supporting measurability, reportability and verifiability (MRV)
– Quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC)
– Uncertainty assessment
– Time-series consistent estimates, etc.
In plenary sessions, UNFCCC provides information on the international framework and COP decisions. Participants welcome this presentation as cross-cutting issue such as QA/QC; UA and time-series consistency important for quality improvement of the GHG inventory are discussed.
2. Sectoral Working Group Sessions
Regarding the GHG inventory, there are many sectors and categories, such as energy, industrial process, agriculture, LULUCF (land use, land-use change and forestry) and waste. WGIAs provide the sectoral working group sessions in order to discuss particular sector-specific issues and find solutions to them. There are various issues for inventory preparation in each sector, and the sectoral working group sessions deal with sectoror category-specific issues.
Table 11.4 shows main topics containing sectoral working group sessions. The WGIA participants are government officials and inventory compilers or researchers directly involved with inventory preparation. Inventory compilers and researchers attended the breakout sessions for each expert sector or category; and government officials attended the breakout group of cross-cutting issues such as regional and/or city-level GHG inventories. Discussion of such sector-specific issues among sectoral experts is recommended in order to cover the issues thoroughly.
Table 11.4 Topics of sectoral working group sessions
3. Mutual Learning Sessions
The mutual learning (ML) session is an activity to improve the inventories of individual countries through the following processes: (1) exchanging inventories between two countries, (2) learning from a partner's inventory and (3) exchanging comments on each other's inventories. The primary purpose of ML is to improve GHG inventories by providing details of methods and data for GHG emission/ removal estimation between two countries and exchanging comments on the methods and data. Studying a partner country's inventory and discussing it with its compilers provide useful information for inventory preparation and compilation. ML is also expected to foster and strengthen cooperation among GHG inventory experts in Asia. Since the aim of ML is not criticism or auditing, participants can freely communicate on a one-to-one basis as equals, rather than in one-way communication as is found with the examiner–examinee relationship (Reference: Greenhouse Gas Inventory Office of Japan (GIO), CGER, NIES (2015)).
ML was introduced to other participating countries in WGIA8 in 2010 and participants requesting mutual learning sessions between WGIA countries in the sessions of WGIA. Therefore, ML has been conducted since WGIA9 (Reference: Greenhouse Gas Inventory Office of Japan (GIO), CGER, NIES (2010)).
The ML sessions are closed sessions in order to ensure confidentiality of discussions in the sessions; only participants, chairpersons, facilitators and rapporteurs for each ML session and the WGIA Secretariat are allowed to enter conference rooms for the sessions in principle (Reference: Greenhouse Gas Inventory Office of Japan (GIO), CGER, NIES (2015)).
Through the discussions, participants studied their partner country's methodologies for GHG emission estimations, which usually differ from their own, to receive hints on improving their own inventory. They also shared any technical issues (e.g. data collection, adoption of emission factors, national system) in order to better overcome them.
Several participants in past MLs stated that they had improved their inventory through the ML experience and in particular were able to refine their inventories before official submission to the UNFCCC such as NCs and BURs. The participants in WGIA11 acknowledged the efficacy of ML in improving their inventories and agreed that implementation of MLs should continue in future WGIAs.
In the case of WGIA12, the WGIA Secretariat notified the participants of WGIA of the ML and received applications from 29 teams from eight parties on December 2013. Considering the requirements of the applicants and an appropriate balance among sectors and feasibility of implementation, the WGIA Secretariat (GIO) organised them into pairs (Indonesia and Myanmar on energy sector, China and Mongolia on agriculture sector and Vietnam on LULUCF sector) on April 2014 (Reference: Proceedings of WGIA12 2014).
Thus, the ML sessions were conducted for the energy sector, agriculture sector
and LULUCF sector, as shown in Table 11.5. Participating countries studied worksheets for emission estimates and methodology reports to estimate the emissions of partners and exchanged comments and answer sheets before the WGIA discussion. Many findings and hints to improve the GHG inventories were exchanged across the table in the session of WGIA12 in Bangkok (Reference: Greenhouse Gas Inventory Office of Japan (GIO), CGER, NIES (2015)).
Prior to WGIA12, only ten countries had attended the ML sessions. As mentioned above, ML is useful for improving one's own inventory and is considered a form of external quality assurance activity by some participants. It is hoped that more participants will join the ML sessions in future WGIA.
Table 11.5 List of countries participating in mutual learning
Reference: Greenhouse Gas Inventory Office of Japan (GIO), CGER, NIES (2015)
Table 11.6 List of hands-on training sessions
4. Hands-On Training Sessions
Most WGIA participating countries have insufficient experience in GHG inventory preparation, especially in terms of technical issues such as key category analysis and IPCC Inventory Software. Technical issues on how to implement inventory preparation obviously need addressing with training, which is why WGIA is useful as it provides hands-on training sessions. In the sessions participants can attempt to actually implement some of the technical processes of inventory preparation.
Table 11.6 shows the topics of hands-on training sessions.