Theoretically, it is unnecessary to monitor and evaluate national policies and programmes to see whether Annex I Parties fulfil their Kyoto commitments, provided national communications give a clear and reliable picture of the net impact of those actions on the net national GHG emissions and net uptake via sinks. Indeed, national inventories, usually updated on an annual basis, are the backbone of the monitoring system. Of course, governments might want to monitor the impact of their own policies for domestic assessment purposes. To meet the international commitments, such monitoring, however, would not be necessary if monitoring at the aggregate level were completely reliable. However, this may not be true. Evidence suggests that there can be a considerable margin of error in the national data provided to the UNFCCC Secretariat within the framework of the national communications.
Over the past 25 years an extensive literature, including programme evaluation, value-for-money audits, and comprehensive audits, has developed on the evaluation of government programmes. Much of this literature is specific to the type of programmelow-income housing, training, employment creation, policing, transit, energy efficiency, etc.and has little relevance to the monitoring and evaluation of policies for climate change mitigation. However, the literature also includes numerous evaluations of energy-efficiency, DSM, emissions trading, environmental taxes, and other programmes that could provide useful insights into the design, monitoring, and evaluation of climate change policies.
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