Achievements of WGIA
The Workshop on Greenhouse Gas Inventories in Asia (WGIA) has been run since 2003 to provide an opportunity for countries in the Asian region to cooperate and share information and experiences related to the development of the national GHG inventory. In 2014, the WGIA12 was held in Bangkok, Thailand.
As described above, Japan, the only Annex I Party in Asia, has been sharing its experiences concerning compiling the periodical GHG inventory with WGIA participants, and the participants have been sharing information related to methodology, such as country-specific emission factors for Asian countries. Since the IPCC default emission factor was not appropriate for the climate of SE Asia, particularly for agriculture, LULUCF and waste, sharing specific regional emission factors is beneficial, and in this respect, Japanese researchers provided much data to assist in the development of regionaland country-specific emission factors. Governmental officials also shared information concerning institutional arrangements based on Asian culture, and this sharing of information ensures that the methodology and institutional arrangements of Asian countries are appropriate. Building a tighter network of Japanese researchers and Asian government officers and researchers is important for the GHG inventory, as well as for countermeasures against climate change.
As mentioned above, the first WGIA in 2003 had 27 participants, which rose to 130 in 2012. The latest WGIA (WGIA12) in 2014 had a participation of 123, from 14 WGIA member countries and international organisations in 2014. WGIA has become one of the biggest events on climate change in Asia. Requests have even been received from non-member countries, such as Pakistan and East Timor, to join future workshops. As regards the size of the event, in theory it could be scaled but could suffer due to insufficient budget or capacity of GIO, the WGIA Secretariat.
In the beginning, the main participants were researchers, and topics concerned the national system and technical issues of each expert. Recently though, the proportion of government officials attending has been increasing. At the latest WGIA, not only GHG inventory technical issues but also mitigation issues and regionalor city-level inventories were discussed. Many government officials and policymakers also evaluated measurements concerning climate change.
Further, advanced research and development on emission factors and climate change issues in Japan have also been introduced, the research of which has been helpful in creating the GHG inventory for Asian countries. The introduction of climate change research in SE Asia has enabled collaboration between Japanese researchers and local researchers in other Asian countries. Japanese researchers became aware of the needs of WGIA countries through discussions at WGIA. Furthermore, WGIA also enables government officials to access the latest information on climate change research, which illustrates the importance of the government–research relationship.
Relationships between researchers and government officials are bolstered at the GIO-held WGIA every year. Further, activities unrelated to WGIA have also been held, such as the initiation of mutual learning between Japan and Korea. Mutual learning is an opportunity to understand all the different GHG inventories and how they contribute to improving GHG inventories. Korea also mentioned that mutual learning is implemented as a form of external quality assurance in the WGIA sessions. As already described in Sect. 11.1.7, mutual learning has also been conducted between other countries in WGIA sessions every year. Lao PDR, which attended the mutual learning sessions in WGIA9 and WGIA11, also introduced a mutual learning programme that emphasises peer reviews of the LULUCF with GIO. Lao PDR commented that this enhanced both accuracy and completion of the inventory of the LULUCF sector of the Lao PDR.
WGIA is financed from a budget of the Ministry of the Environment, Japan. GIO, part of the National Institute for Environmental Studies, convened the WGIA and invites researchers to discuss the technical issues of GHG inventories free of international opinion or negotiations, an environment deliberately fostered so that researches can speak freely without being hindered by governmental or international bias. This forum for free discussion was built on a relationship of mutual trust, and as it moves from country to country every year and is not solely based in Japan, this enables host countries to participate more easily. As a result WGIA can be attended by many participants, enabling face-to-face contact crucial to carrying issues forward.