MOVING TOWARDS A CLIMATE NEUTRAL UN Challenges and limitations
This report presents the UN’s GHG inventory for the cal- endar year 2008 and information on emissions reduc- tions and offsets that has been gathered for the first time. In order to obtain this information, it was neces- sary to set up data collection systems where they did not previously exist, to train staff in GHG foot-printing techniques and the use of new tools specially devel- oped for the purpose.
The data collection systems and tools are in their first iteration, and will be refined and improved over the coming months and years. The results presented in this report should be viewed as a first effort which will become more comprehensive and precise over time. Efforts will be made to raise the level of accuracy in inventory data, for example by improving transparen- cy and traceability, filling data gaps, obtaining better coverage of field offices and replacing proxies and es- timates with actual data. In many cases, organizations’ GHG inventories will require improvement before they can be used as a base year.
In some cases, there have been constraints in the fund- ing related to the allocation of staff resources that are re- quired for the introduction of GHG foot-printing across the UN. Making the internal institutional arrangements,
such as committees, senior level champions and assign- ing of responsibilities has also taken time.
The overall coordination exercise across organizations with diverse mandates, management structures and geographical locations has also presented challenges, with case-by-case solutions needed, for example when defining a common boundary. Situations where sever- al organizations are sharing common office space also require special coordination to allocate emissions to each organization.
In developing common tools, a further challenge has been the fact that different enterprise resource plan- ning (ERP) systems are in use across UN system orga- nizations. This has complicated the extraction of input data for the GHG calculator tools.
It was not always possible to meet all the data-collec- tion challenges in the current inventory and achieve a high level of accuracy, coverage and comprehensive- ness across organizations. The performance indica- tors and relative emissions are therefore expected to change in the future, due to improved and more sys- tematic inventory-data collection systems and emis- sions-reduction efforts.