16th virtual exchange session of the Community of Practice for Climate Policy Monitoring and Evaluation.

On Thursday, June 25, the 16th virtual exchange session of the Community of Practice for Climate Policy Monitoring and Evaluation (CoP M&E), an initiative of the EUROCLIMA+ Programme, implemented through the FIIAPP Foundation, with support of the LEDSLAC Platform took place. The session focused on El Salvador's perspectives of institutional arrangements and the design of the monitoring and reporting system of its nationally determined contribution (NDC).

As input, there was an initial presentation by Beatriz García-Pozuelo from FIIAPP/EUROCLIMA+ who provided the background of the support that EUROCLIMA+ provides to El Salvador in this matter. Adriana Erazo from the Climate Change Unit of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) of El Salvador provided the country context and a synthesis of the process that is being carried out to implement the NDC monitoring system. Finally, the consultants in charge of developing the system's proposal - Ibon Galarraga from Metroeconómica and Susana González from Factor CO2 - described the details of the process as well as the best practices and lessons learned that they drew from it. The main messages of the session are summarised below.

CONCLUSIONS

  • El Salvador's climate institutional development, from its ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1995 to the current situation has been driven by the severe impacts of more than two decades of extreme weather events, including the very recent tropical storms Amanda and Cristobal that have affected the country in the midst of the pandemic.
  • The process of designing El Salvador's NDC progress monitoring and reporting system began at the end of 2018 and is scheduled to be completed by mid-2020. It has been led by MARN with the support of EUROCLIMA+/FIIAPP channelled through the strategic advising of Metroeconómica, Factor Ideas for Change and Eco Ingenieros.
  • They highlight the pragmatic usefulness approach that has allowed conceiving the development of the institutional arrangements in the context of a country need and commitment, as well as the involvement of all Salvadoran institutions from the beginning of the design process and the combination of relevant indicators, robust spreadsheets, with friendly interfaces and user and super user levels that ensure the due appropriation and robustness of the system. Ahead lie the challenges of verification.

  • About the process 
    • The process followed for the development of the system consisted of three stages: (1) Definition of indicators; (2) definition of institutional arrangements; and, (3) Design of the MRV system.
    • To carry out the process, the different sectors were involved from the start. Focal points of the institutions were convened and appointed by the institutional officers with specific mandates. Four workshops, bilateral meetings, consultations, and discussions were held with them to address the different stages.
  • About the methodologies 
    • In the indicator definition stage, 140 options were initially identified in a co-creation and co-design process with the most relevant focal points and actors (those who should collect the data or use the information). They were divided into short term (those that should be included undoubtedly), medium term (those that are important but the information does not yet exist) and long term.
    • There are already indicators that are being used for the report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These were reviewed to determine which ones would be useful for NDC. An effort was made to make both monitoring systems (SDG and NDC) compatible, highlighting their synergies in the sectors and their potential co-benefits.

  • About the actors and their roles and attributes 
    • A mapping of actors was carried out, complemented by an analysis of the limitations of the current institutions. Through bilateral interviews, we sought to understand the degree of knowledge on climate change issues of those departments that do not have a direct link to the environment.
    • The governance proposal was brought to the workshops for validation with the actors involved.
    • The plan is to develop a series of protocols for each institution to take responsibility in collecting the information.
    • Frequent contact was made with the communications and systems area to understand the technical details that would allow the proposed computer system to be mounted on the MARN server.

 

  • Appropriation 
    • From the beginning and from the first workshop, we tried to involve all the sectors. The call was made at the level of ministers and presidents or directors of government institutions and focal points were assigned to each institution and it is with them that the whole process has been worked.
    • In addition to promoting their participation in all workshops, bilateral meetings were held with each of them to ensure that the team would take ownership of the system.
    • The emphasis on the co-creation and co-design of the indicators sought to have them understood and assumed as their own instead of being imposed by MARN.

 

  • Tools 
    • A computer platform has been designed for the online presentation and consultation of NDC information, which will be available through the MARN portal.
    • The platform has three user profiles: (1) the general users who can see the official NDC and its updates as well as the results of each of the indicators with their percentages of progress with respect to the established goal; (2) the managers of the indicators who are responsible for uploading the information for each unit; and, (3) the superuser, who corresponds to the MARN, and who has permission to create indicators, modify them or change the content of the NDC.

portal El SalvadorIllustration 1. View of the computer platform

  • Challenges and pending issues
    • The change in government that occurred last year led to a change in people's directions and responsibilities. Added to this is the inevitable impact of the current situation imposed by COVID-19 and the pandemic.
    • The initial effort has focused on setting up the system and involving the relevant national government bodies. The challenge remains to work with other levels of government (e.g. municipalities) and other non-governmental bodies or institutions (e.g. private companies).
    • The verification component is pending, associated with issues of process transparency and reporting.

  • Lessons learned/Best practices 
    • Identify existing indicators that present historical data (e.g. ODS) and prioritise them if the list of indicators is too long using a pragmatic view and usefulness in application.
    • Involve the key actors who will be responsible for the system and clearly define their roles, identifying a system coordinator who is aware of the entire operation. In the case of El Salvador, this person is part of MARN.
    • Maintain close coordination with the systems area to ensure the functionality of the platform and its internal maintenance

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • It is necessary to focus on technical levels and middle management, who generally continue beyond changes of government. It is also ideal to involve more than one person per topic.
  • It is important to familiarise technicians and decision makers who are not necessarily engaged with climate change, since in future changes in government, they may become part of climate change teams.
  • It is key to integrate the sectors or private associations that will, in many cases, provide data on activities in many sectors, particularly for mitigation.
  • It is useful to share a pragmatic vision of national commitment, using existing indicators as much as possible and taking advantage of synergies and co-benefits between the different sectors and actors involved.

 Materials and links of Interest

This product has been developed in the framework of the Community of Practice on Climate Policy Monitoring and Evaluation, supported by FIIAPP in the Climate Governance component of EUROCLIMA+ with the support of the LEDS LAC Platform.