November 18, 2021 – Following the discussion and guidance of the 5th Session of the AFoCO Assembly held on 26-27 October 2021, the Secretariat conducted the technical meeting relative to the AFoCO Project Impact and Best Practices, Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) Guidelines and the proposed AFoCO Carbon Project on 18 November 2021 through on-line platform.
The meeting was attended by National Focal Points from eight member countries and representatives from the Implementing Agencies from nine implementing countries. The meeting provided a venue for the discussion on the follow-up actions in packaging and dissemination of knowledge products emanating from the submitted third party evaluation of AFoCO projects’ impacts and best practices, implementation of ESMS, including the introduction of the conceptual framework for the AFoCO Carbon Project.
The coverage and background information on the conduct of the 3rd party evaluation of the seven projects of AFoCO was shared by the Secretariat, including follow up actions as approved by the 5th Session of the AFoCO Assembly. The meeting took note and supported the publication and dissemination of the outcome of the said evaluation in the form packaged materials in electronic and hard copies of the Report Summary and usable knowledge products i.e. note pads and sticky notes depicting AFoCO best practices. (Read more about the evaluation HERE.)
The AFoCO Secretariat provided a briefing on the guidelines that included: basic features/objectives, scope and coverage, stepwise (following the project management cycle in the project manual) process flow focusing on Low Risk projects and accompanying templates/matrices, including follow-up actions. The meeting supported the planned pre-testing of the ESMS guidelines agreed on the coverage and timelines as presented by the Secretariat. More detailed discussions/clarifications will be pursued during the pre-testing period as the same is designed to underscore the policy framework/ environment at the Member Countries. The guidelines will put premium on the application of the domestic ESS-related policies/guidelines as the ESS accountabilities and compliance lie at the country level while maintaining international standards. Should there be any requirement to revise the existing ESS Policy, the matter will be brought at the level of the AFoCO Assembly for appropriate deliberation and guidance/approval.
The meeting acknowledged the fundamental norms related to Article 6 of Paris Agreement on carbon markets during the COP 26 UNFCCC and the importance in understanding carbon markets and consider taking advantage of international carbon markets, as a source of carbon finance to support mitigation action. The meeting welcomed the initiative of the Secretariat to develop a model of AFoCO carbon project and explore funding opportunities including private sectors. As part of the way forward, the meeting agreed for the Secretariat to arrange bilateral meetings to allow further discussion, potentially with interested investors from the private sector and/or technical partners of AFoCO. To facilitate the development of project design/model that suits specific domestic situation and need, the Secretariat proposed for the nomination of respective focal points for carbon project to lead the coordination at the country level. Relative thereto, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, and the Philippines, indicated their intention to nominate relevant focal person(s) to work closely with the Secretariat.
Submitted by Maralgoo Ganbat, 2021 AFoCO Fellowship Official from Mongolia