Projects that develop Plan Vivo certificates must include an estimate of climate benefits achieved in their annual reports, which are then verified by an independent auditor every five years, or more frequently. 

Projects that  generate  Plan  Vivo  certificates  must  include  an  estimate  of  climate  benefits achieved  in  their  annual  reports,  and  have  these  verified  by an  independent  auditor  every  five  years,  or  more  frequently.

For project interventions that aim to increase carbon stocks in vegetation and/or soil (i.e. ecosystem restoration and rehabilitation, and improved land management), climate benefits may accrue slowly, especially in the early years of the project intervention. For example, for tree planting activities significant climate benefits are only realized once trees are established and of a reasonable size. The highest costs of these management activities are typically experienced in the early years of the intervention, however.

Plan Vivo therefore allows some projects to receive certificates in advance of the climate benefits being achieved, if the annual reports provide evidence that the project is on track to achieving the expected climate benefits. Certificates issued in advance of climate benefits being achieved, are known as ‘ex-ante’ certificates. Ex-ante certificates are expected to be verified every five years, even if ERs have not materialised yet.

For project interventions where the management costs, and/or climate benefits, are more evenly distributed throughout the project period (e.g. reducing deforestation and forest degradation); certificates are usually issued after the climate benefit has been achieved. Certificates issued after climate benefits have been achieved are known as ’ex-post’ certificates.

Projects can be issued certificates on the basis of annual monitoring reports that include indicators to assess whether project activities have been carried out as planned. Certificates are verified once estimates of emission reductions and removals achieved by the project are independently reviewed, and some projects may choose only to issue certificates after verification.

Details of indictors that will be monitored for annual reporting of climate benefits must be described in PDD Section K1, and approaches that will be used for verification must be described in the PDD Section G6.

Indicators for annual reporting of climate benefits can be directly or indirectly linked to climate benefit estimation:

  • Direct Indicators – examples include planted trees, forest inventories etc. Typically require specialist skills and can be expensive.
  • Indirect Indicators – more activity based, and linked to the project logic used to identify the climate benefits, and assessed during the PDD technical review. Projects are advised to choose a targeted, realistic set of activity based indicators, and not to over commit.

Whether direct or indirect indicators are used for annual monitoring, all must be fully described in the PDD, including:

  • How often monitoring will be carried out.
  • Who will carry out the monitoring.
  • Thresholds that must be met to demonstrate climate benefits are being achieved,
  • Corrective actions if those thresholds are not met.

During verification by an independent auditor, key parameters and assumptions used to estimate climate benefits should be reviewed and revised. Projects are encouraged to make use of direct indicators to support this.


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