February 22, 2021   •   News

Improving GHG inventories in Africa: a stocktake of activity data in 37 countries

Ackim Mwape, PhD

The key role that livestock activity data plays in the development and application of national GHG inventories has been widely recognised and discussed. In order to design and implement Tier 2 MRV methods, appropriate data on the characteristics and performance of different sub-categories of livestock is needed.

Unfortunately, such data are not always available, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where it remains a challenge to collect data, and move countries towards having detailed (at least Tier 2) baselines for livestock emissions estimates to support their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Recognising that the level of availability of livestock sector activity data is currently unknown in most sub-Saharan African countries, New Zealand, through the GRA and in collaboration with regional and international partners, supported the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and University of Pretoria to survey and analyse the availability of activity data (cattle populations) and data required for emission factors (animal performance data).

Livestock sector activity data were collated and collected from 37 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. The data collection exercise, undertaken in 2020, aimed to increase understanding of the currently available and collected in-country livestock activity data for Tier 2 estimates of livestock emissions. 

“The data collection exercise is an important first step in helping African countries improve estimates of national livestock emissions and mitigation at Tier 2 levels and decision-support for achieving NDCs and tracking NDC performance in the livestock sector”, says Hayden Montgomery, GRA Special Representative.

The results of the data collection and analysis suggest high potential to pilot a regional inventory development approach, particularly in southern Africa. For the majority countries, data availability will still be a challenge, and collecting all the missing data may not be feasible in the short run.

A temporary solution could be to systematically group countries with similar production systems, and informed by data where available, develop a regional template for livestock GHG inventories, which can be adapted to national conditions, validated, and adopted by stakeholders in each country. This could support countries to move from Tier 1 MRV methods to Tier 2 methods which are better able to reflect actual production conditions and their impact on GHG emissions.