Nov 2015 – Dec 2019

More transparent climate action



Multiple countries – Global

To help build trust and transparency of national climate action worldwide, unlocking greater ambition in the international agreement and in domestic policies to ultimately put the world on track for 2C and drive additional greenhouse gas emission reductions.

$3,000,000 Grant Value

$150,000 evaluation budget

Other funders

  • German Federal Ministry of Environment -

  • Nature Conservation -

  • Building and Nuclear Safety

In the lead up to the 21st Conference of the Parties under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 185 countries submitted national climate plans (INDCs) outlining how they will act on climate change after 2020. 

While the INDCs are encouraging, they are not enough to limit global temperature rise below 2C in order to avoid the worst climate impacts. As a consequence, the challenge for governments and the international community going forward lies not only in effective implementation of these national climate plans, but also in raising their ambition.

Effective systems of measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of progress of national climate actions are at the core of addressing this challenge.  

Transparency is the bedrock of the Paris Agreement

‘Measurement’ is key to determining the impact and effectiveness of climate policies and actions as it can inform national decision making processes, enabling countries to more effectively identify, design and improve their most promising climate policies to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Standardised ‘reporting’ of this information and ‘verification’ of results by an independent third party are key to achieving accurate and comparable reporting at the international level. Such transparency is needed to facilitate an international dialogue rooted in trust, which is central to unlocking a spiralling-up of ambition. 

Catalysing improvements in national and international MRV efforts to address this need is precisely the impact this investment seeks to achieve.

With co-funding from the German Environment Ministry, this investment will support the first phase of the MRV Initiative, a multi-stakeholder initiative that will address the gaps in capacity for MRV for climate policy and actions. 

This first phase will be led by Verified Carbon StandardUNEP DTU Partnership and World Resources Institute, who were selected trough a competitive process. Together, they will work towards two main outcomes:

  1. The development of guidance to inform MRV efforts: This will take the form of an enabling and flexible MRV framework that countries and the international community can draw on as they develop MRV systems. Specifically it will include guidance on how countries can assess the greenhouse gas, sustainable development and transformational impacts of climate policies and actions, and on how to link results to large-scale sources of public and private finance. It will build on previous work, particularly the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Policy and Action Standard and will be developed in a participatory manner with the input of international stakeholders and experts. Current and future international reporting requirements will be taken into account to ensure the framework can help countries with reporting of their climate action and that it can be built on, or adopted by, the UNFCCC as it determines how countries will report on progress against their national climate plans.
  2. In-country capacity building for national MRV: This will focus on strengthening the MRV capacity of 20 geographically diverse countries to deliver sustainable improvements to administrative, legislative, and institutional infrastructure and improved understanding of MRV concepts, methods and application. Capacity building activities will be country-specific based on a needs assessment and the full involvement of national stakeholders. The geographical diversity provided by the 20 countries allows the MRV framework to be thoroughly tested through the capacity building efforts to generate lessons that will be fed back into the framework development process. 

The initiative will be administered through a multi-stakeholder trust fund housed at the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). Under this politically neutral set up, donors contribute to a joint work program supporting MRV. Additional donors will be able to join the trust fund at any time and the additional funds will be used to expand the scope of the MRV initiative to new areas such as climate change adaptation.

The strategic direction of the work will be guided by a Donor Oversight Committee, made up of donors and a representative from UNOPS, in close consultation with an Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee will be made up of leading international experts in MRV-related fields with strong global south representation. Representatives from the implementing partners will participate in an Initiative Coordination Team which will coordinate guidance development and capacity building.


In April 2016, the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT) was launched. The mission of ICAT is to help build the capacity of developing countries to measure the impacts of their climate actions while fostering greater transparency, effectiveness, trust and ambition in climate policies worldwide. The project will work to build capacity within at least 20-30 developing countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.