Assessing a new methodology

Once a proposed methodology has been created and submitted, it must be considered by the Executive Board as quickly as possible, but at least within 4 months:

The Executive Board shall expeditiously, if possible at its next meeting but not later than four months, review the proposed new methodology in accordance with the modalities and procedures of the present annex. Once approved by the Executive Board it shall make the approved methodology publicly available along with any relevant guidance and the designated operational entity may proceed with the validation of the project activity and submit the project design document for registration. In the event that the COP/MOP requests the revision of an approved methodology, no CDM project activity may use this methodology. The project participants shall revise the methodology, as appropriate, taking into consideration any guidance received (3/CMP.1, paragraph 38).

In practice, the Executive Board has delegated much of this function to the Methodologies Panel, which in turn seeks assistance from experts to conduct a desk review, as described in this section. At the end of this assessment process, the Methodologies Panel will provide a recommendation to the Executive Board on whether the methodology should be accepted.

The process for consideration and assessment of new methodologies is set out in EB 52, Annex 9.  The current guidance is version 11 and replaces earlier guidance in EB 37 Annex 3, EB 32 Annex 13, EB 25 Annex 17, EB 23 Annex 2, EB 22 Annex 1, EB 21 Annex 2, EB 20 Annex 2, EB 15 Annex 10, EB 13, EB 11 Annex 3, EB 10 Annex 5, EB 9 Annex 4 and EB 8 Annex 2.

Overview of the assessment process

In summary, the assessment process is as follows (adapted from EB 52, Annex 9):

  1. The secretariat prepares a draft pre-assessment in accordance with the criteria found within the CDM: Proposed new methodology assessment form (F-CDM-AR-NMas), and prepares an assessment report using the same form within 30 days of the submission deadline.
  2. The outcome of the assessment is either:
    1. unqualified - which are then to be re-assessed by two members of the Meth Panel and either deemed to be qualified or confirmed as unqualified (after which the PNM will receive no further consideration, but may be re-submitted); or
    2. qualified.
  3. Qualified assessments are made available for public comment for a period of 15 days.
  4. A draft recommendation is prepared by the secretariat (with or without consideration of any independent expert(s)' assessment) and forwarded to two selected Meth Panel members.
  5. The two Meth Panel members prepare an initial recommendation for consideration by the Meth Panel.
  6. The Meth Panel considers the project participants' submission and the members' initial recommendation and finalises its recommendation on the PNM over the course of no more than 4 consecutive meetings (unless additional guidance from the Executive Board is required).
  7. The secretariat prepares the draft reformatted methodology based on the PNM for consideration of the A/R Working Group.
  8. The Meth Panel may make:
    1. a final recommendation to the Executive Board to approve the PNM; or
    2. a final recommendation to the Executive Board not to approve the PNM; or
    3. a preliminary recommendation to the project participants who may provide clarification to concerns raised by the Meth Panel.
  9. If the Meth Panel cannot make a recommendation to the Executive Board within the time frame stated in step 6, the secretariat presents unresolved issues to the Executive Board at its next meeting for permission to continue considering the A/R PNM.
  10. If the Meth Panel make a recommendation not to approve the PNM, the secretariat publishes on the UNFCCC CDM website the following:
    1. the final recommendation using the form CDM: Proposed new methodology (form CDM-NM); and
    2. the summary recommendation using the form CDM: Proposed New Methodology - Meth Panel summary recommendation to the Executive Board (form F-CDM-AR-NMSUMmp).
  11. If the A/R Working Group make a recommendation to approve the PNM, the secretariat publishes on the UNFCCC CDM website the following:
    1. the final recommendation using the form CDM: Proposed new methodology (form CDM-AR-NM)
    2. the summary recommendation using the form CDM: Proposed New Methodology - Meth Panel summary recommendation to the Executive Board (form F-CDM-AR-NMSUMmp); and
    3. the draft reformatted methodology based on the A/R PNM.
  12. The secretariat places the consideration of the recommendation on the PNM on the annotated agenda of the subsequent Executive Board meeting for its approval or rejection.

Step 1: Pre-assessment

Once the project participant(s)' submissions have been received by a DOE, the DOE must then:

  1. check the completeness of the documents received from the project participants;
  2. complete the CDM: Proposed new methodology form (form F-CDM-PNM); and
  3. submit the documents using the A/R PNM submission interface of the UNFCCC website.

The secretariat checks whether the project participants' documents (the completed CDM-NM and CDM-PDD) are complete within 5 working days after the deadline for submissions.

Where the forms are deemed to be completed satisfactorily, the secretariat confirms this with the DOE.

Where the DOE has not included information on payment of the submission fee or the forms are deemed incomplete, the secretariat informs the DOE of the reasons for its decision. The DOE may then provide the missing information (if this is the case) within 2 working days after being informed by the secretariat. Otherwise, the submission is assessed as incomplete and rejected.

Once a submission is deemed to be complete, the secretariat then commences the assessment process, discussed below.

Step 2: Assessment by the secretariat

The secretariat assesses each submission in accordance with the criteria in the current version of the CDM: Proposed new methodology assessment form (form F-CDM-NMas) and prepares an assessment report using the same form within 30 days of the submission deadline.

The outcome of the secretariat's assessment is either:

  1. "unqualified"; or
  2. "qualified".

Version 5 of F-CDM-NMas is contained in EB 52 Annex 10. This version replaces Version 4 contained in EB 32 Annex 16.

The criteria within the F-CDM-NMas requires a consideration of each of the following questions, accompanied by an explanation or "rationale" where a PNM is deemed non-compliant:

  1. Does the proposal (PNM) cover all the CDM-NM sections as outlined in the applicable guidelines?
  2. Is the language sufficiently transparent, precise and unambiguous to undertake a full assessment?
  3. Is the compliance with the applicability conditions of the PNM possible to demonstrate and validate?
  4. Are any threats to the environmental integrity of the methodology identified in the applicability conditions, for which safeguards are not taken?
  5. Does the PNM cover all the GHG emission sources and types that are related to the project activities covered by the methodologies?
  6. Is the project boundary clearly defined in the PNM?
  7. Are the components of the project activities covered by the PNM and the way they achieve emission reduction clearly described?
  8. Is it clear whether the project activities covered by the PNM deliver services? What the services are? Are the users of the services identified?
  9. Is the baseline methodology internally consistent? (i.e. the baseline approach, the applicability conditions, project boundary, baseline emissions estimation approach, project emission estimation approach, leakage, and monitoring section are consistent with each other)
  10. Does the procedure for identification of baseline scenario provide a clear and concise presentation of methodological steps?
  11. Does the PNM clearly identify the baseline scenario(s) to which the methodology is applicable?
  12. Does the approach for the baseline scenario identification include sufficient requirements to ensure that the most plausible baseline scenario is selected?
  13. Is this approach clearly applied in the underlying CDM-PDD?
  14. Does the approach for assessment and demonstration of additionality provide a clear and concise presentation of methodological steps?
  15. Is the approach in line with EB guidelines for applying barriers and investment analysis?
  16. Is this approach clearly applied in the underlying CDM-PDD?
  17. Do the sections on baseline emissions, project emissions, leakage emissions and emission reductions contain relevant equations?
  18. Do the equations adequately represent the underlying project activity or technology?
  19. Are all variables used in the equations adequately described?
  20. For each variable in the equations, is it clear whether it shall be i) calculated, ii) determined once and not monitored, or iii) monitored?
  21. Do the equations allow for accurate and conservative estimation of emission reductions?
  22. Do the monitoring tables provide clear approaches to determine the parameters and apply QA/QC procedures?
  23. Is the vintage of data clearly defined?
  24. Are uncertainties and accuracy of instrumentation taken into account where relevant?
  25. If it is a resubmitted PNM, are all the issues raised in the previous recommendations addressed or are sufficiently and properly explained?
  26. Is a similar methodology already under review or approved?

Step 2(a): PNM assessed as "unqualified"

Where the PNM is assessed as unqualified, the secretariat selects two members of the Meth Panel and forwards its assessment report to those members to perform an independent assessment of the PNM.

  1. Where both Meth Panel members confirm the secretariat's assessment, the secretariat forwards its assessment report to the project participants, copying the DOE. The unqualified PNM is not subjected to further consideration, but may be resubmitted again at any time in accordance with EB 52, Annex 9.
  2. Where at least one of the Meth Panel members does not confirm the secretariat's assessment, the member/members update the assessment report and the PNM is deemed qualified, in which case the process continues as discussed in Step 2(b) below.

Step 2(b): PNM assessed as "qualified" - public comment

Where the A/R PNM is assessed as qualified, whether by the secretariat's original assessment or via the process in Step 2(a),

  1. the secretariat assigns a reference number to the PNM and makes the A/R PNM (form CDM-AR-NM) publicly available on the UNFCCC CDM website, inviting public comments for a period of 15 calendar days using the current version of the Proposed CDM A/R new A/R methodology - public comment form (form F-CDM-AR-NMpu);
  2. the secretariat informs the public of the call for public comments through the UNFCCC CDM newsletter; and
  3. at the end of the period, the secretariat makes all public comments publicly available on the UNFCCC CDM website. (EB 52, Annex 9, paragraph 17)

Step 2(c): PNM assessed as "qualified" - further processes

Different processes follow depending on whether the PNM is assessed as qualified by the secretariat's original assessment or via the process in Step 2(a).

Where the PNM is assessed as qualified on the basis of:

  1. the secretariat's original assessment, then the secretariat must:
    • prepare a draft recommendation on the PNM taking into account any public comments and independent expert(s)' reports (where independent experts are consulted in relation to technically complex PNM - see Step 2(d));
    • select two members of the Meth Panel to assess the PNM who, taking into account the secretariat's draft recommendation, assess the PNM; and
    • prepare an initial recommendation for the consideration of the Meth Panel, taking into account the members' assessment.
  2. the process in Step 2(a), then the secretariat must:
    • prepare a draft recommendation on the PNM based on the updated assessment report, taking into account any public comments and independent expert(s)' reports (where independent experts are consulted in relation to technically complex PNM); and
    • forward the draft recommendation to the two Meth Panel members (being the two members who initially provided independent assessments of the PNM originally deemed by the secretariat as "unqualified"), who are to prepare an initial recommendation for the consideration of the Meth Panel.

Step 2(d): Desk reviews by independent experts

Depending on the technical complexity of the PNM submitted, the secretariat may (with the approval of the Chair of the Meth Panel) select 1 or 2 independent experts, at least one of whom is from the roster of experts.

The independent expert(s) shall undertake desk reviews to assess the PNM and report the outcome of such assessment using the latest version of the following forms (where appropriate):

  1. CDM: Proposed New Methodology Expert Form - Lead Review (form F-CDM-NMex_Lead); or
  2. CDM: Proposed New Methodology Expert Form - Second Review (form F-CDM-NMex_Second); or
  3. CDM: Proposed New Methodology Expert Form - Second Review (Sectoral/Industry expert) (form F-CDM-NMex_Sect).

The current versions of the first two desk review forms are found in EB 52, Annexes 10 and 11, replacing the earlier versions in EB 25 Annexes 11 and 12. The current version of the third desk review form is found in EB 52, Annex 12 and is a new form. The review forms are used by methodology lead experts providing desk review for a proposed new methodology.

Forms are called 3d and 2d because this decision says that the lead reviewer should spend 3 days preparing his or her report, and other reviewer 2 days:

In order to make more efficient use of expertise, to select one lead reviewer from among the two desk reviewers selected to consider each case; the lead reviewer is to be paid 3 days fee and the second reviewer a 2 days fee. The two reviewers should provide inputs independently. The modalities of work between the lead reviewer and the second reviewer shall be further developed at the twentieth meeting of the Board (EB 19, Agenda sub-item 3(b)(f)).

F-CDM-NMex_Lead and F-CDM-NMex_Second

The lead review form (F-CDM-NMex_Lead) and second review form (F-CDM-NMex_Second) require a general evaluation of the proposed new methodology, setting out any changes (major and minor) needed to improve the methodology (EB 52, Annexes 11 and 12).

F-CDM-NMex_Lead then requires a summary of the project, setting out:

  • A brief description of the methodology;
  • Short statements on how the proposed methodology: chooses the baseline scenario, demonstrates additionality, calculates baseline emissions, calculates project emissions, calculates leakage, calculates and monitors emission reductions;
  • The relationship between the proposed methodology and any approved or pending methodologies - for example:
    • Does the proposed methodology draw on or extend an existing methodology?
    • Could an existing methodology be used to calculate emission reductions from the proposed project activity, removing the need to approve a new methodology? (adapted from EB 25, Annex 11)

This information is not required from the second reviewer.

Both F-CDM-NMex_Lead and F-CDM-NMex_Second then require the reviewer to evaluate the appropriateness and adequacy of the following elements of the proposed methodology, and if required, suggest changes. These elements were also indicated on CDM-NM itself (EB 32 Annex 17), though underwent substantial revision at EB52.

  • The applicability conditions of the methodology;
  • The definition of the project boundary, in terms of gases and sources, as well as the physical delineation;
  • The methodological basis for determining the baseline scenario and assessing additionality;
  • The methodological basis for calculating baseline emissions and emission reductions;
  • How the methodology addresses any potential leakage from the project activity;
  • For all data and parameters (whether monitored throughout the crediting period or not), how data sources or default values are used and how the data or measurements are obtained (e.g. official statistics, expert judgment);
  • Measurement procedures for all key data and parameters;
  • The proposed changes required for the implementation of the methodology in the second and third crediting periods to be consistent with the "Tool to assess the validity of the original/current baseline and to update the baseline at the renewable of a crediting period", available here;
  • The baseline approach selected; and
  • The fit between the proposed methodology and the referred proposed project activity (adapted from EB 52, Annexes 11 and 12).

F-CDM-NMex_Sect

The second review (sectoral/industry expert) form (F-CDM-NMex_Sect) is an entirely new form introduced at EB52 and is to be used where a methodology expert is consulted to provide a sectoral/industry desk review for a proposed new methodology. The form also requires a general evaluation of the proposed new methodology, setting out any changes (major and minor) needed to improve the methodology (EB 52, Annexes 13).

Elements to be considered include:

  • The applicability conditions of the methodology;
  • The definition of the project boundary, in terms of gases and sources, as well as the physical delineation;
  • The methodological basis for determining the baseline scenario and assessing additionality;
  • The methodological basis for calculating baseline emissions and emission reductions;
  • How the methodology addresses any potential leakage from the project activity;
  • The monitoring methodology provided in the PNM;
  • Project/technology specific questions; and
  • Other relevant comments.

Step 3: Assessment and recommendation by the Meth Panel

The Meth Panel considers the submissions of the project participants and the initial recommendation provided to it and finalises its recommendation on the PNM:

The Meth Panel considers the project participants' submission and the members' initial recommendation and finalizes its recommendation on the PNM over the course of no more than four consecutive meetings unless an additional guidance from the Board is required. (EB 52, Annex 9, paragraph 22).

Depending on the progress of the Meth Panel's consideration of the PNM, the secretariat may commence preparation of a draft reformatted methodology based on the PNM for the consideration of the Meth Panel.

Following each meeting at which the PNM is considered, the Meth Panel must do one of the following:

  1. make a final recommendation to the Executive Board to approve the PNM (referred to as "A"); or
  2. make a final recommendation to the Executive Board not to approve the PNM (referred to as "C"); or
  3. make a preliminary recommendation to the project participants who may provide clarification regarding issues raised within that recommendation; or
  4. where no recommendation is agreed upon, continue consideration of the PNM (referred to as a work-in-progress) within the 4-meeting timeframe allowed (giving reasons for this in its meeting report).

No recommendation

Where the Meth Panel does not agree whether to recommend the PNM to the Executive Board during 3 meetings, the secretariat presents the unresolved issues to the Executive Board at its next meeting in order to obtain the Board's request to either:

  1. continue the consideration of the A/R PNM by the Meth Panel; or
  2. conclude the consideration of the A/R PNM during the next meeting of the Meth Panel.

Final recommendation to approve

Where the Meth Panel agrees to recommend that the Executive Board approve the PNM, the secretariat publishes on the UNFCCC CDM website the following as agreed by the Meth Panel:

  1. the final recommendation using the form CDM: Proposed New Methodology (form CDM-NM);
  2. the summary recommendation using the form CDM: Proposed New Methodology - Meth Panel summary recommendation to the Executive Board (form F-CDM-NMSUMmp); and
  3. the draft reformatted methodology based on the PNM.

Final recommendation not to approve

Where the Meth Panel agrees to recommend that the Executive Board not approve the PNM, the secretariat publishes on the UNFCCC CDM website the following as agreed by the Meth Panel:

  1. the final recommendation using the form CDM: Proposed New Methodology (form CDM-NM); and
  2. the summary recommendation using the form CDM: Proposed New Methodology - Meth Panel summary recommendation to the Executive Board (form F-CDM-NMSUMmp).

Preliminary recommendation

Where the Meth Panel agree to the preliminary recommendation, the secretariat publishes it on the UNFCCC CDM website in accordance with the CDM: Proposed New Methodology form (form CDM-NM). The secretariat also forwards the recommendation to the project participants, copying the DOE.

Project participants may provide clarifications, through the secretariat, to the Meth Panel:

After receiving a preliminary recommendation, the project participants may submit (copying the DOE) through the secretariat, clarifications to the Meth Panel concerning the PNM raised in the recommendation. If project participants provide clarifications related to a preliminary recommendation within four weeks of receiving the preliminary recommendation, then the Meth Panel considers the PNM at its next meeting. If these clarifications include changes to the A/R PNM as submitted in the form "CDM: Proposed new methodology" (form CDM-NM) and/or the project design document as submitted in the form "Project design document" (form CDM-PDD) then all changes shall be highlighted. The secretariat makes such clarifications available to the Board and publishes them on the UNFCCC CDM website. (EB 52, Annex 9, paragraph 29)

If project participants do not provide a response to the preliminary recommendation within 3 months of the publishing date of the report of the Meth Panel meeting at which the PNM received its preliminary recommendation, then the submission is considered withdrawn.

CDM-NMmp (EB 25, Annex 13)

The full recommendation form requires:

  • An overall recommendation of either ‘A', ‘B' or ‘C'; and
  • A detailed evaluation of the proposed new methodology, using the same criteria as are set out in F-CDM-NMex_3d (EB 25, Annex 11).

If clarifications are requested from project proponents and received, the Meth Panel considers these clarifications and prepares a final recommendation to the Executive Board. Both the summary recommendation and the full recommendation are then forwarded to Board members via the secretariat:

If project participants provide clarifications related to the preliminary recommendation by the Meth Panel, the Meth Panel shall consider these clarifications at its next meeting and prepare its final recommendation to the Executive Board. The final recommendation shall be forwarded to the Executive Board and made publicly available (EB 37, Annex 3, paragraph 17(d)).

If clarifications are not received within three (3) months, the proposal for a new methodology will be considered to have been withdrawn:

If project participants do not provide clarification related to preliminary recommendation by the Meth Panel within the timeframe of three (3) months, the case will be considered as withdrawn (EB 37, Annex 3, paragraph 17(e)).

Where possible the Meth Panel shall make a recommendation to the Executive Board on the approval of the proposed methodology at its next meeting:

Whenever a proposed new methodology is submitted to the Meth Panel in accordance with paragraph 10 and 11 above, it shall analyze it and, if possible at its next meeting, make a recommendation regarding the approval of the proposed new methodology to the Executive Board (EB 37, Annex 3, Part III, paragraph 13).

However, some submissions may be postponed by the Chair of the Meth Panel if there are more than ten proposed new methodologies:

In case more than ten (10) proposed new methodologies are submitted by the deadline for submissions of proposed new methodologies, the Chair of the Meth Panel shall ascertain how many proposals shall be analyzed at the next meeting of the Meth Panel and decide to postpone the analysis of some submissions to the subsequent meeting of the Meth Panel. Submissions received and confirmed to be completed by the secretariat shall be treated on a "first come first served" basis (EB 37, Annex 3, Part III, paragraph 11).

The Board may decide to change a deadline for submissions of proposed new methodologies taking into account the workload of the Meth Panel (EB 32, Annex 13, Part III, paragraph 12).

CDM-NMSUMmp (EB 20, Annex 5)

The summary recommendation form requires the Meth Panel to reach an overall recommendation of either ‘A', ‘B' or ‘C', where:

  • ‘A' means approve this proposed methodology with minor changes;
  • ‘B' means reconsider this proposed methodology, subject to required changes; and
  • ‘C' means not approve the proposed methodology.

The recommendation forms are only forwarded to the Executive Board once the methodology has received an ‘A' or ‘C' classification. If a ‘B' classification is awarded, the preliminary recommendation is sent to the proponents and further information is requested:

  1. The Meth Panel shall, through the secretariat, copying the DOE, forward its preliminary recommendation to project participants.
  2. Within a timeframe stipulated by the Chair of the Meth Panel (but not exceeding 4 weeks), after the receipt of the preliminary recommendation of the Meth Panel by the project participants the project participants may submit (copying the DOE), clarifications to the Meth Panel, through the secretariat, on technical issues concerning the proposed new methodology raised in the preliminary recommendation by the Meth Panel. Technical clarifications provided by the project participants shall include the revisions, in the form for baseline and monitoring methodologies (CDM-NM) in a highlighted form (EB 37, Annex 3, paragraph 17).

Project participants shall make required changes to the proposed new methodology and send it back to the Meth Panel. The proposed new methodology will be reconsidered by the Meth Panel if changes required are made by the project participants. The Executive Board will only consider this proposed new methodology after the revised proposed methodology has been reconsidered by the Meth Panel (EB 25, Annex 13).

In addition to these recommendations, the following elements must be evaluated and reported on:

  • The purpose of the methodology.
  • Suggested applicability of methodology
  • How the proposed methodology chooses the baseline scenario, demonstrates additionality, calculates baseline emissions, calculates project emissions, calculates leakage, calculates emission reductions
  • Suggested "recommendation level" for the baseline and monitoring methodologies (A, B or C)
    • Major reasons for B/C choice from the proposed baseline methodology
  • Any major issues arising from the assessment of the proposed monitoring methodology (if different to those already raised above)
  • Any other issues arising (e.g. cross-cutting, general or precedent setting issues raised by the proposed new baseline or monitoring methodology)

Step 4: Consideration by the Executive Board

Following a recommendation by the Meth Panel, the secretariat places the consideration of the recommendation on the PNM on the annotated agenda of a subsequent Executive Board meeting. The Executive Board will then consider the proposed methodology at that meeting.

Relationship between the submission and consideration of new methodologies and DOE accreditation

At EB 7, the Executive Board clarified the relationship between the process of accreditation and designation of DOEs and the approval of new methodologies. The graph describes this relationship (EB 7, Annex 1). It describes steps in the process, including timelines, for submitting and approving a new methodology (baseline and/or monitoring). The graph highlights in particular that

  • the witnessing of an applicant entity for validation shall take place simultaneously with the validation of an approved methodology and subsequent registration of the proposed CDM project activity.
  • shows that the role of the DOE/AE at validation of a proposed methodology is limited to checking whether the documentation is complete.
  • two scenarios may arise after approval of a new methodology:
    1. The proposed methodology was accepted without modification. Validation can proceed immediately if all information required for validation is available;
    2. The proposed methodology was modified. Validation only proceeds once project participants have adjusted their documentation (dotted line).

Related Topics

Methodologies Panel

Executive Board

UNFCCC secretariat

Project participants

Designated operational entity

Accreditation and designation of DOEs

Assessing a new methodology (SSC)

Assessing a new methodology (A/R)

Assessing a new methodology (SSC A/R)