The National System itself is a key tool in improving the quality and process management of the inventory process.
To ensure high quality and continuous improvement, the annual inventory process is implemented as a cyclical project. This annual cycle is a key quality management tool (based on the Deming cycle: plan-do-check-act).
- inventory planning
- inventory preparation
- inventory evaluation
- inventory improvement.
As part of the National System and the inventory process, a QA/QC programme has been expanded to include
- quality objectives
- a QA/QC-plan, and,
- an annual improvement plan. This programme is annually updated, based on the experiences of the previous year(s)
The QA/QC programme describes the quality objectives of the inventory, the national system and the QA/QC plan. This includes a time schedule, tasks and responsibilities.
An improvement programme forms an integral part of this QA/QC programme. The QA/QC programme is basically an internal document that will be held available for UN review. NL Agency is responsible for co-ordination and implementation of the programme. It will be updated once a year, as part of the annual evaluation and improvement cycle.
The overall objectives of the QA/QC programme include:
- annually finalizing, by 15 April, inventories that are of sufficient1 quality to meet the requirements under UN and EU
- sufficiently measuring and controlling the quality of annual inventories by appropriate quality control procedures
- ensuring that quality objectives are met and regularly evaluated by implementing appropriate quality assurance and evaluation procedures by staff that is not directly involved.
These objectives are further expanded in the programme into more specific quality objectives, related to improving transparency, consistency, comparability, completeness and accuracy (the ‘inventory principles’).
1) 'Sufficient' implies that no significant problems are identified by UNFCCC review teams.
The QA/QC plan consists of four groups of activities:
Providing a transparent system through protocols, procedures and QA/QC programme.
Regularly updating the information on QA/QC of external agencies.
Applying General QC (Tier 1) procedures, as part of the regular working processes, in accordance with IPCC good practice guidance and, where applicable, source-specific QC procedures for selected sources.
The main responsibility for implementation of quality checks lies with the ER. NL Agency (NIE) regularly checks whether activities and outputs (still) conform to the guidelines.
Annual basic peer reviews and a 5-year cycle of extensive reviews of relevant sectors, including possible intra-EU collaborative reviews.
Assessing practical options for further verification and source-specific QA.
Assessing options and needs for audits.
This is primarily done by staff not directly involved in the inventory process, coordinated by NL Agency (NIE).
Documentation and archiving
- Providing documentation and archiving as part of the normal inventory process.
- Facilitating UNFCCC reviews and responses for clarification.
This is a joint responsibility of ER and NIE, the latter being charged with co-ordination.
Improvement programme and reviews
To prepare for the Kyoto Protocol and bring the national system into line with requirements, the Netherlands has implemented a monitoring improvement programme.
The National System
The actions taken were based on the following major input:
- Expert workshops made a preliminary assessment (around 1999/2000) of the inventory process, any weak spots and of potential areas for improvement. A long list of actions was identified. An interdepartmental committee (WEB) prepared a shortlist of prioritised actions, to be included in an improvement programme. In 2001, NL Agency was asked to assume the practical co-ordination of this programme.
- Extensive sectoral reviews and studies, implemented to support the elaboration of monitoring protocols.
- Review of cross-cutting issues such as QA/QC and uncertainty analyses, identifying any weak spots and potential improvements for these issues.
- UNFCCC reviews. These provided a crucial input for improvement actions, being the main indicator of 'customer' satisfaction.
The National System, in line with the international requirements, was established at the end of 2005. NL Agency coordinates the 'maintenance' and regular update of the system if neccesary.
Evaluation and improvement
- Implementation of the annual evaluation and improvement cycle.
- Implementing the improvement programme.
Reviews and audits
As part of the QA/QC in the national systems various peer review and audit activities are implemented in order to comply with the UNFCCC. These include:
- Annual basic peer reviews before submission of NIR/CRF to the UNFCCC
- Extensive review process: 5-year cycle of extensive reviews of relevant sectors. This process intends to (peer) review all key sources and sources with significant changes
- To the extent practically possible, further verification and source-specific QA.
This is primarily done by staff not directly involved in the inventory process, coordinated or implemented by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. The UNFCCC reviews the official National Reports to see if Parties meet their requirements.
- Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy