Verification of results under the UNFCCC

Verification of information in both National Communications and Biennial Update Reports (BURs) may be conducted domestically at the national level before submission to the UNFCCC (see the box below). National Communications are not subject to international verification, but information from the National Communications submitted by developing countries is compiled and synthesized by the UNFCCC Secretariat. The Consultative Group of Experts (CGE) provides technical support and advice to developing country parties on the preparation of their National Communications. This work involves an analysis of National Communications and recommendations for improvement. However, these tasks are not part of the formal verification framework under the UNFCCC.

With regard to BURs, a verification framework has been agreed upon, which is referred to as the International Consultation and Analysis (ICA). The aim of the ICA process is to increase the transparency of information reported in BURs, including information on mitigation actions and their effects. ICA is conducted through technical analysis of BURs by teams of technical experts, followed by facilitated sharing of views in a workshop convened by the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI).

The main approaches for conducting a technical verification of GHG emissions and mitigation actions
There are basically three different approaches for conducting a technical verification of GHG emissions and mitigation actions: first-, second- or third-party. These approaches vary on the level of independence between the party and the technical reviewer, and their adoption is usually a function of the objective of the verification:

First-party: this type can be seen as a self-review. This type of verification is carried out by the same party (i.e. government agency, bank, investor) that is responsible for the development of the GHG emission and mitigation action monitoring and reporting. This type of review is similar to internal auditing, quality control procedures or other systems used as a means of internal improvement.
Second-party: performed by a person or organization that has an interest in, or affiliation with, the monitoring and reporting developers (i.e. an internal auditor or independent regulatory body of the government). Second-party review provides a greater level of independence in the verification process, but a lower level of independence than a third-party review. This type of collaboration encourages learning and improvement through the technical review process.
Third-party: performed by a person or organization that is independent from the user of commercial, financial or legal interests, this type provides a greater level of independence than first- or second-party. This can allow reviewers to conduct the review with a higher degree of objectivity, leading to increased credibility of the assessment report to external stakeholders. Independent verification conducted by an independent entity that is a commercial or non-profit firm is the most common type of third-party review. Often these entities hold accreditation to different certification programmes and verification standards, such as: (1) the Clean Development Mechanism, for which entities are accredited as designated operational entities (DOEs) by the CDM Executive Board to validate project design and verify whether implemented projects have achieved planned GHG emission reductions. (2) Voluntary and mandatory reporting programmes, for which firms receive accreditation to ISO 140657 by an accreditation body, and are referred to as validation/verification bodies (VVBs). This type of verification is more directed to carbon markets.

Source: ICAT Technical Review Assessment Guide