Development of the monitoring plan

Monitoring of a CDM project activity takes place pursuant to a monitoring plan which requires approval at registration. The monitoring plan provides for the collection and analysis of all data relevant to the calculation of emission reductions from the project activity.

Project participants are required to develop and describe the monitoring plan for the proposed CDM project activity in accordance with the selected methodology and all other applicable CDM rules and requirements. The monitoring plan is a key component of the project design document (PDD) which sets out the structure, operation and scope of the CDM project activity.

The modalities and procedures for afforestation and reforestation project activities sets out specific requirements for developing monitoring plans for afforestation and reforestation project activities:

Project participants shall include, as part of the project design document, a monitoring plan that provides for:

  1. The collection and archiving of all relevant data necessary for estimating or measuring the actual net greenhouse gas removals by sinks during the crediting period. The monitoring plan must specify techniques and methods for sampling and measuring individual carbon pools and greenhouse gas emissions by sources included in the actual net greenhouse gas removals by sinks, that reflect commonly accepted principles and criteria concerning forest inventory;
  2. The collection and archiving of all relevant data necessary for determining the baseline net greenhouse gas removals by sinks during the crediting period. If the project uses control plots for determining the baseline, the monitoring plan must specify techniques and methods for sampling and measuring individual carbon pools and greenhouse gas emissions by sources;
  3. The identification of all potential sources of, and the collection and archiving of data on, leakage during the crediting period;
  4. The collection and archiving of information relating to the planned monitoring and remedial measures relating to any significant negative socio-economic and environmental impacts, including impacts on biodiversity and natural ecosystems, and impacts outside the project boundary of the proposed afforestation or reforestation project activity under the CDM;
  5. Collection of transparent and verifiable information to demonstrate that any choice not to account for one or more carbon pools, and/or emissions of the greenhouse gases measured in CO2 equivalents, for the purpose of calculating the baseline net greenhouse gas removals by sinks and/or actual net greenhouse gas removals by sinks does not increase the net anthropogenic greenhouse gas removals by sinks;
  6. Changes in circumstances within the project boundary that affect legal title to the land or rights of access to the carbon pools;
  7. Quality assurance and control procedures for the monitoring process; and
  8. Procedures for the periodic calculation of the net anthropogenic greenhouse gas removals by sinks due to the afforestation or reforestation project activity and documentation of all steps involved in those calculations, and for the periodic review of the implementation of activities and measures to minimize leakage (5/CMP.1 Annex, paragraph 25).

The CDM Project Standard sets out further elements that must be included in the monitoring plan for all types of project activities:

  1. The operational and management structure to be put in place to implement the monitoring plan;
  2. Provisions to ensure that data monitored and required for verification and issuance be kept and archived electronically for two years after the end of the crediting period or the last issuance of CERs, whichever occurs later;
  3. Definition of responsibilities and institutional arrangements for data collection and archiving; 
  4. Quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) procedures;
  5. Uncertainty levels, methods and the associated accuracy level of measuring instruments to be used for various parameters and variables;
  6. Specifications of the calibration frequency for the measuring equipment. In cases where neither the selected methodology, nor the Board's guidance specify any requirements for calibration frequency for measuring equipment, project participants shall ensure that the equipment are calibrated either in accordance with the local/national standards, or as per the manufacture's specifications. If local/national standards or the manufacture's specifications are not available, international standards may be used. (CDM Project Standard paragraph 56)

In addition, the CDM Project Standard provides further requirements specifically relevant for the development of afforestation and reforestation monitoring plans:

  1. Project participants shall plan management activities, including harvesting cycles, and verifications such that a systematic coincidence of verification and peaks in carbon stocks would be avoided;
  2. Project participants shall monitor forest establishment and management, if required for the compliance with the applicability conditions of the selected methodology;
  3. Project participants shall describe how the geographic coordinates of the project boundary, including boundaries of strata if any, are determined and recorded;
  4. Project participants shall identify measures to minimize potential leakage and describe how these will be implemented (CDM Project Standard, paragraph 121-126)

Related Topics

What is the CDM-AR-PDD?

Emission reductions

Project boundary (A/R)

Leakage (A/R)

Crediting period (A/R)

What is a monitoring methodology? (A/R)

Development of the monitoring plan (P)

Development of the monitoring plan (SSC)

Development of the monitoring plan (SSC A/R)

Development of the monitoring plan (PoA)