UNDP Provides Guidance on Standardized Baselines

UNDP23 December 2013: The Millennium Development Goal Carbon (MDG Carbon) initiative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) published a Guidance Note for Standardized Baselines (SBs), which aims to make SBs more comprehensible and easy to implement, so they can be used more widely across a range of sectors. 

SBs aim to establish a common understanding regarding how to measure or compare anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. More specifically, they are intended to help countries calculate emission reductions and removals and/or determine additionality for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project activities, while ensuring environmental integrity. The Guidance Note is aimed at designated national authorities (DNAs), coordinating and managing entities (CMEs), and all those involved in the development of SBs.

SBs can help: reduce transaction costs and save time compared to other CDM methodologies; and enhance CDM project transparency and predictability, while enabling access to carbon finance, particularly for under-represented project types and countries, such as least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS).

Making a strong case for SBs, the Guidance Note: outlines a plan for identifying potential sectors for SB use, such as those that are often neglected when it comes to climate action; emphasizes the need for clear Terms of Reference (ToR) to ensure the most qualified consultants are hired to develop the SBs; and addresses rules and regulations under the UNFCCC on submitting and considering SBs, establishing sector-specific SBs, and quality assurance and control of data used in establishing SBs.

The Guidance Note also looks at limitations of the current SB process under the UNFCCC, including a limited list of project types and constricting data collection procedures. It suggests how some of these challenges might be overcome, such as by making SBs mandatory, linking SB development to country-specific conditions, and establishing quality management systems to ensure data integrity and the collection of quality data.

The MDG Carbon initiative links carbon finance to the MDGs by working to reduce emissions, while helping to achieve the MDGs. For example, energy-related projects in developing countries may reduce the need for collecting firewood, which is usually done by women or girls, thus contributing to MDG 3 on promoting gender equality. [UNDP Press Release] [Publication: Guidance Note on Standardized Baselines] [MDG Carbon Webpage]