There is a need for independent monitoring approaches (i.e. unbiased data, tools and methods) that stakeholders involved in land-use sector mitigation activities can rely on for their own goals, but which would also be perceived as transparent and legitimate by others and support accountability of all stakeholders in the framework of the Paris Agreement
Independent monitoring is not a specific tool, a single system or a one-serves-all approach. It is rather a diversity of approaches and initiatives with the purpose of increasing transparency and broadening stakeholder participation and confidence by providing free and open methods, data, and tools that are complementary to mandated reporting by national governments.
We identify key elements of independent monitoring:
transparency in data sources, definitions, methodologies and assumptions;
free and open methods, data, and tools, which are truly "barrier free" to all stakeholders;
increased participation and accountability of stakeholders;
complementarity to mandated reporting by countries;
promotion of accuracy, consistency, completeness and comparability of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission estimates.
Independent monitoring should be considered an important mechanism for enhancing transparency in the land-use sector. Interested stakeholders can engage and benefit from independent monitoring approaches when starting to implement the Paris Agreement; we provide examples and recommendations as starting points.