Technical Assistance for Sustainable National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Management Systems in West Africa
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Seven countries in West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal and Togo) recently voiced their needs for assistance to meet their national greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory reporting requirements under the Convention, in accordance with the Cancun and Durban agreements.

Seven countries in West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal and Togo) recently voiced their needs for assistance to meet their national greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory reporting requirements under the Convention, in accordance with the Cancun and Durban agreements.

Their call was promptly addressed. A three-year capacity building project on Technical Assistance for Sustainable National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Management Systems in West Africa (in short: the West Africa GHG project) was implemented since May 2014 by the UNFCCC Secretariat, in collaboration with several partners, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the US Department of the Interior (US-DOI), the US Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

The West Africa GHG Project supports national communications (NC) and biennial update reports (BUR) of the seven countries and provides technical assistance on three major components: institutional arrangements; technical capacity of national experts; and GHG inventories in three key sectors (energy, agriculture and forestry) in the region.

In line with the project annual work plan, the US-DOI and FAO have jointly organized three regional training workshops to develop capacity for GHG inventories in the Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector. The workshops were held: in Kumasi (20-24 April 2015 for Ghana); in Dakar (11-15 May for Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde and Senegal); and in Abidjan (20-24 July 2015 for Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo).

The workshops successfully provided hands-on training (conducted by trainers from FAO, US-DOI and United States Geological Survey) on Collect Earth, an open source software developed under the FAO-led Open Foris initiative, to improve land representation and classification using remote sensing imagery in view of producing and improving land use change maps and statistics. Further training in support of countries’ national GHG reporting capacity was offered through the range of products and services developed by FAO Monitoring and Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Mitigation Potential in Agriculture (MAGHG) project.

The workshops were also excellent opportunity to facilitate a dialogue, among various national institutions involved in the GHG reporting processes, aiming at improving the internal cooperation between institutions on data sharing and quality control procedures. Countries have improved knowledge and awareness on the importance to report official data under international processes in a consistent and coordinated way (e.g. FAOSTAT questionnaires, BUR and NC).

Additional in-country technical working sessions and remote exchanges are being planned to strengthen the institutional arrangements within the countries and make the GHG inventory process sustainable.

This article was co-authored by: G.H. Sabin Guendehou, Regional Project Coordinator, UNFCCC Consultant; Rocio D. Cóndor-Golec, Paolo Prosperi, Mirella Salvatore and Esther Mertens, FAO; and Jean Parcher, US Department of the Interior.

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