COP26 marks successful end of transparency campaign

Sound data on climate mitigation and adaptation is crucial for improving and increasing climate action

December 3, 2021

You can’t manage or improve what you do not measure and track.

This was the main message, when the #Data4BetterClimateAction campaign wrapped up with a COP26 event ending almost a year of campaign for transparency in climate action

Transparency is the backbone of the Paris Agreement. By having sound data and information systems in place, countries across the world will be able to better design, implement and track their NDCs and long-term strategies.

“During this COP26, there is an urgent need to raise global ambitions and achieve strong outcome. Now this is what Transparency is about… you can indeed not manage what you do not measure and track. Therefore the Paris Agreement establishes an “enhanced transparency framework” to build mutual trust and confidence, and to promote effective implementation, which ultimately should lead to raising global ambition.” UNEP DTU Partnership director, Susanne Pedersen said during the event.

Strong transparency frameworks also enable national ownership and the integration of relevant stakeholders, while ensuring accountability at the national and international level.

“We strongly believe that without transparency the Paris agreement cannot become a success. We believe it has to be understood that transparency is not just an obligation under the Paris agreement, it is an opportunity,” Henning Wuester, director for the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT) said at the event.

Raising awareness

The #Data4BetterClimateAction campaign has been working to raise awareness among policymakers of the broader value of climate transparency beyond reporting.

Following that mission, the COP26 event Driving effective NDC implementation and tracking progress through enhanced climate action transparency, sought to inspire countries to further enhance their transparency frameworks in a targeted manner advancing key policy priorities.

During the event, several countries shared their positive experiences from working to enhance transparency.

“We have to integrate climate data in the decision making on other areas, we have been very good at using climate data to climate policy, but I think we have a great opportunity to use climate data to enhance other policies and sectors,” said Florencia Mitchell, National Director of Climate Change in Argentina.

This point was echoed by Carolina Urmeneta, head of the Office of Climate Change, Chile’s Ministry of Environment:

“We have committed already our carbon neutrality by 2050, and we have presented our NDC on April 2020 and our long term strategy to the UNFCCC. Our NDC put goals for 2030, in order to go for carbon neutrality and resiliency by 2050. We are happy to be with this initiative because we need data in order to prove what we are doing.”

Fulfilling climate commitments while improving policies

In May 2021, UNEP DTU Partnership joined 13 other global climate initiatives launching a renewed effort to increase data-driven climate action around the world. The #Data4BetterClimateAction campaign aimed to raise awareness about the inherent value of transparency in pursuing meaningful climate action and support.

The campaign calls attention to the value of climate transparency to not only fulfil reporting requirements but to also drive good policy at the national level by advancing sustainable development priorities.

Urging governments to reframe the way they think of “transparency”, the campaign highlighted how enhanced transparency can support countries to address domestic development priorities while fulfilling their international climate commitments at the same time.

The Initiative for Climate Action Transparency

Since 2016, UNEP DTU Partnership has been a partner in the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT), as part of our work to increase transparency and improve the quality of climate data.

The initiative aims to strengthen capacities in developing countries to assess the impacts of their climate policies and actions and to support greater transparency, effectiveness, ambition and trust in climate policies worldwide, and was also a part of the #Data4BetterClimateAction campaign.

ICAT works with countries to build capacities on understanding and applying tools and approaches to measure, report and verify emissions reductions and adaptation action, as well as to strengthen existing institutional arrangements and processes.