SEA cities learn the importance and benefits of climate data reporting

ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability Southeast Asia Secretariat and CDP jointly organized a webinar entitled “Climate Data in Cities: How and Why to Report?” last 7 April 2021. The webinar discussed the benefits of reporting high-quality climate data on the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System and how it can support cities in their policy-making and development of comprehensive action plans. The webinar gathered 57 attendees from Southeast Asian cities, with Ormoc City, Seberang Perai, and Balikpapan also sharing their insights on how reporting has supported them on their climate action journey.

BENEFITS OF REPORTING

Ms. Sandy Morris, Senior Project Officer of CDP, underscored the benefits of climate and environmental data disclosure for local governments in informing effective climate strategies, showing climate leadership, and accessing climate finance. According to Ms. Morris, data allows cities to measure and monitor their progress as well as identify gaps in their actions, thereby resulting in effective climate strategies. Reporting also develops a robust data pool that facilitates better learning of city-level best practices. The CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System offers an online and free-of-charge reporting platform for cities globally. It provides comprehensive guidance on data points to be reported by cities in a simplified questionnaire form. CDP and ICLEI teams globally also offer direct assistance to cities throughout their reporting journey.

WHAT MAKES QUALITY DATA?

To maximize these reporting benefits, cities should always strive to disclose quality data. Ms. Laura Noriega, Climate Data Officer of ICLEI World Secretariat, explained that data can be considered high quality if it serves its purpose for decision-making and planning. Data is the base for good quality information that drives actionable knowledge and desirable outcomes. In order to avoid having poor quality and unreliable information, it is important to know the purpose of the data, how and where it will be used, who is the data owner, and who has access to the data.

INSIGHTS FROM SOUTHEAST ASIAN CITIES

Mr. Raoul Cam, City Planning and Development Coordinator of Ormoc City, and Ms. Nursyamsiarni D. Larose, Head of Pollution Control and Environmental Damage of Balikpapan Environmental Agency, both shared the importance of building partnerships in terms of data generation. Ormoc City and Balikpapan City partnered with UN-Habitat and ICLEI, respectively, in generating city-level data on climate risks and vulnerabilities as well as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to inform their respective climate action plans.

In the case of Ormoc City, Mr. Cam also shared how their climate data has become instrumental in setting their reforestation targets to increase their current carbon sink of 53,277 tCO2eLikewise, climate data contributed for the city to access funding from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), enabling them to finance the redesign of city plazas to better capture rainwater run-offs and thus prevent flooding, as well as mangrove rehabilitation to prevent storm surges. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Ahmad Zabri bin Mohamed Sarajudin, Acting Director of the Municipal Services Department of Seberang Perai City Council, highlighted that quality and robust data is built over time. For example, Seberang Perai has collected 10-years’ worth of data on carbon emissions. As cities increase their data bank, Mr. Ahmad Sabri pointed out that data organization, processing, and analysis become challenging. As a user of the platform since 2018, he said that the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System has been a helpful tool in their climate data management and in providing the city with analysis and insight of their data inputs, enabling them to set targets and strategies such as Seberang Perai’s goal to reduce 50% of its emissions by 2022 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

On the other hand, Ms. Larose also added that the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System complements the Indonesian local governments’ reporting processes as it captures data similar to the country’s present standards. Currently, the climate data reporting requirements of the Indonesian national government are coursed through the National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS) and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF), both of which are using two distinct platforms.

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