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The Verified Carbon Standard: Scaling up MRV. REDD-plus after Cancun: Moving from Negotiation to Implementation Hanoi, Vietnam. Naomi Swickard, AFOLU Manager. Overview. 1) The Verified Carbon Standard 2) VCS Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU ) Methodologies MRV

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the verified carbon standard scaling up mrv

The Verified Carbon Standard: Scaling up MRV

REDD-plus after Cancun: Moving from Negotiation to Implementation

Hanoi, Vietnam

Naomi Swickard, AFOLU Manager



  • 1) The Verified Carbon Standard
  • 2) VCS Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU)
  • Methodologies
  • MRV
  • 3) Jurisdictional and Nested REDD
  • MRV

The Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)

  • Established by leading NGOs (IETA, WBCSD, The Climate Group, WEF) to provide a rigorous, trustworthy and innovative global standard and validation and verification program for GHG offsets
  • Managed by the VCS Association
    • Non-profit headquartered in Washington, DC
    • Single focus:to develop and manage the platform (i.e., no consulting, no meth development, no validation/verification, no project development)
    • Funded through VCU levy and foundation grants
  • AFOLU Steering Committee largely credited with bringing in land-based activities into the carbon market
vcs projects
VCS Projects

Registered projects

Over 600 Registered Projects (12 AFOLU projects)

Registered AFOLU projects in Kenya, Tanzania, Colombia, Guatemala and Australia


Over 56 million VCUs issued (over 2.1 million from AFOLU)

450 projects have issued VCUs

AFOLU pooled buffer account holds ~512,000 buffer credits

Projects under development

Dozens of AFOLU projects under development in Indonesia, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Brazil, Peru, Panama, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, DRC, South Africa, Kenya, and many more...

afolu requirements
AFOLU Requirements


Afforestation, Reforestation and Revegetation


Agricultural Land Management


Improved Forest Management


Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation


Peatland Rewetting and Conservation

Rewetting of drained peatland; conservation of undrained or partially drained peatland


VCS AFOLU Key Components

  • Key components
    • AFOLU Requirements include robust approaches to:
      • Permanence: Risk Assessment and AFOLU Pooled Buffer Account
      • Leakage: Activity shifting and market leakage must be minimized and accounted for
        • Updated leakage requirements to be released for public comment May 2011 and adopted mid 2011
    • Most int’l developers are adding CCBS to VCS validations to demonstrate social and environmental co-benefits (VCU tag)
vcs methodologies
VCS Methodologies

15 approved VCS methodologies (9 AFOLU)

Improved Forest Management (IFM) (5)

Reduced Emissions from Forest Degradation and Deforestation (REDD) (4)


Planned and Unplanned Deforestation


On peatland

17 methodologies under development (9 AFOLU)

Soil carbon

Reduction of N2O fertilizer application

Improved grassland grazing and fire management

Rice cultivation management systems

Reduction of CH4


MRV: Project Level

  • Monitoring requirements
    • Methodologies set out:
      • Data and parameters to be monitored
      • Criteria and procedures for project monitoring plan, including:
        • Procedures for estimation, modelling or calculation of C stocks and stock change
        • Procedures for managing data
        • Monitoring frequency
  • Validation and Verification
    • Conducted by accredited independent 3rd party auditors
  • Registration (reporting)
    • Projects required to register with one of 3 VCS registries (NYSE Blue, CDC, Markit)
    • Public documents: project description, monitoring report, validation and verification reports, representations, GPS coordinates
3 jurisdictional and nested redd initiative
3) Jurisdictional and Nested REDD Initiative
  • REDD Readiness
  • Top Down
  • VCS Initiative
  • CLUA funding
  • Good practice and VCS Criteria for:
    • Jurisdictional programs
    • Jurisdictional baselines
    • Crediting at different scales
  • Jurisdiction-Level Programs
  • ?
  • Individual REDD Projects






  • Bottom Up

Jurisdictional and Nested REDD

  • Objectives
    • Establish Good Practice Guidance for nesting of project activities within REDD programs at the jurisdiction (region, state, province, country) level
    • Establish VCS criteria to enable crediting to VCS REDD projects and jurisdictional programs
    • Establish VCS criteria for the creation/use of jurisdictional baselines
  • Process
    • Establishment of Advisory Committee and Technical Experts groups, include representatives from Indonesia, Ethiopia, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, UK, USA, Colombia, France, DRC, Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador and several others
    • Peer review and public consultations
  • Timing: Expected late 2011 orearly 2012

MRV: Jurisdictional and Nested REDD

  • Scope
    • RED, REDD, REDD+?
    • Jurisdiction vs. project
  • Monitoring requirements
    • What is required, who should do it, how often?
    • MRV at different scales (national, subnational, project)
  • Verification
    • What is required, who should do it, how often?
  • Registration (reporting)
    • Registration of jurisdictional programs, jurisdictional baselines
    • National/Jurisdictional registries
thank you

Thank you

Naomi Swickard

AFOLU Manager

Bangkok, Thailand

Mobile +66 (0) 87 980 9220

Office +1 202 657 4767

VCS Association

1730 Rhode Island Avenue, NW

Suite 803

Washington, DC 20036