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Climate Change and Official

Statistics in Colombia

Luz Dary Yepes Rubiano


Service Provision. DSCN Theme
Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadistica – DANE (National Administrative Department of
Statistics (DANE, Spanish acronym)
Carrera 59 No. 26-70 Interior I – CAN.
Bogotá D.C. – Colombia
E-mail: ldyepesr@dane.gov.co – luzdary96@gmail.com

ABSTRACT
Summary text: Based on international initiatives designed to include the topic of climate change in countries'
official statistics, the DANE has developed a conceptual proposal for a system enabling the design,
production, analysis and dissemination of statistical information on climate change that needs to be
structured within the National Statistics System.
Key words: climate change, national statistics system, statistical information, strategies, design, production,
analysis, dissemination, climate change policy.

1. Introduction

Colombia’s National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE, Spanish acronym) has included
Climate Change research in the project titled “Environmental Research“ for purposes of including climate-
change statistical information in the National Statistics System as well as ensure the reliability of the
information required from such statistics for decision-making processes across the country. In line with the
proposed work plan aimed at building up the climate-change research project, a conceptual proposal for a
system designed to carry out the design, production, analysis and dissemination of climate-change statistical
information so as to facilitate the comprehension of this issue whilst guiding both the generation and use of
statistical information in accordance with the nation's circumstances and the needs that have been identified
by domestic and international climate-change surveys and reports as well as by the various researchers and
policy-makers in the country. The proposal documents climatic-change scientific evidence based on the
causes and impacts thereof, the vulnerability peculiar to natural and anthropic systems, as well as adaptation
measures and mitigation alternatives. The proposal also identifies the institutional framework for climate
change at the domestic and international levels and establishes and identifies the progress made in the field
of environmental statistics, particularly statistics on climate change covered by official statistics systems
managed by the United Nations Statistics Division and global-level statistics bureaus. This context has
dictated the appropriate proposals designed to build a system for designing, producing, analyzing and
disseminating Climate Change statistics in Colombia. This document shows the most significant aspects of
the above-mentioned proposal.

2. Technical and Scientific Issues Relating to Climate Change and Statistical Information
Production

Climate change being understood as a change in climate, whether directly or indirectly ascribed to human
activities that alter the composition of the global atmosphere, together with natural climate variations that
have been observed during comparable periods of time, climate changes and the impact thereof may be
inferred based both on socioeconomic information and GEG emissions. Furthermore, it becomes possible to
assess the kinds of development methods and global emission limitations that would pose risks of

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undesirable effects to society in the future. The foregoing enables us to guide statistical
information production at the socioeconomic level through an inventory of statistical
information needs in order to establish the priority of the variables that need to be measured
in respect of the various socioeconomic sectors that are vulnerable to climate change and that require that the
appropriate adaptation measures be identified. Moreover, the methodologies used for calculating Greenhouse
Effect Gas (GEG) emissions whilst contributing to their review for purposes of improving statistical
classifications vis-à-vis such data and, more importantly, for ensuring the reliability of the activity data used
in calculating GEG emissions, which are the basis for establishing carbon-market supply and demand levels.
These are also a key element for evaluating the effectiveness of countries' mitigation alternatives and plans.

3. Institutional Framework for Climate Change in Colombia

Colombia became a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on June 20,
1995 by means of Law 164 of 1995. Accordingly, the Colombian State is subject to International Law and
has therefore undertaken to comply with and observe the provisions set forth in the Convention. Moreover,
by enacting Law 629 of 2000 the Colombian congress approved the UNFCCC’S Kyoto Protocol. Based on
these laws the country has included a number of climate-change in its legislation, the most relevant of which
are listed below:

i) Policy guidelines: These guidelines were approved by the National Environmental Council and are
comprised of six strategies concerning which a number of action lines have been identified and become
references for submitting, approving and implementing national-level adaptation projects, as well as for
building the country's MDL-project portfolio;
ii) Law 788 of 2002: The Law introduced amendments to the tax statute, one of which is the establishment of
incentives for projects involving the rendering of environmental climate-change mitigation services;
iii) Conpes 3242: This document established an institutional strategy on the rendering of environmental
climate-change mitigation services;
iv) National Development Plan: This Plan acknowledges the fact that “Climate change is yet another
consequence of the inappropriate global development process... ” and further provides that the country shall
formulate a National Policy on Climate Change1 as well as a Comprehensive Action Plan to address this
issue;
v) Vision 2019 Plan: On August 7, 2019 Colombia will commemorate its second century of political
independence. By means of Visión Colombia II Centenario: 2019 (Colombia Vision, Second Centennial
2019) the Government has proposed a wide discussion between all sectors on what the country will be like
on the second centennial of its independence. The climate change component is based on two objectives: a)
Implementing actions that contribute to adapting to the effects of climate change and the mitigation thereof;
and b) Making the most of the opportunities afforded by international agreements on climate change through
the creation of projects that use cleaner production technologies;
vi) ENDE Colombia 2009-2013: An analysis of the state of statistical information in the country, which was
conducted in the document on the National Strategy for Statistical Development (ENDE, Spanish acronym)
establishes the importance of relying on a National Statistical Information Policy with specific guidelines to
enable the National Statistics System to produce quality, relevant, timely statistics in line with the country's
needs by applying both the statistical process and the SEN'S coordination mechanisms in an effective,
rigorous manner. This strategy integrates the climate change component to the statistics production policies
through the DANE'S environmental research and the special surveys designed to gather information aimed at
ensuring the development and consolidation of the Environmental Satellite Account.

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In order to implement this objective Colombia undertook the preparation of the Conpes Document on Climate Change
in 2009, wherein the DANE has proposed four (4) strategies designed to structure and implement climate-change
statistical information within the National Statistics System. The DANE also recommended that its role should be
strengthened so as to enable it to design, production, analysis and dissemination of said information. The Conpes
document is currently in its structuring stage by the National Planning Department (DNP) and is being discussed by the
various public and private levels.

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4. International Considerations on Climate Change and Official Statistics

The “Oslo Conference on Climate Change, Development and Official Statistics” was held in
Oslo, Norway in 2008. This was the venue that was chosen to discuss how official statistics can provide the
information required for monitoring, measuring and analyzing climate-change related topics. The Conference
was therefore planned as a forum for exploring ideas and establishing a working agenda between the
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Statistics Division. The
Conference on Climate Change, Development and Official Statistics in the Asia-Pacific Region was also
held in 2008 in Seoul, Korea. As a result of this meeting the “Report by the Australian Statistics Bureau on
Climate Change and Official Statistics” for the fortieth session of the Statistical Commission was prepared,
which establishes that the international community in charge of official statistics is currently addressing
climate change-related issues in a non-systematic fashion. At country level this situation varies from country
to country. Whilst a small number of countries actively deal with statistics, others do it occasionally or
marginally but most fail to do it altogether. However, national statistics bureaus have a significant role to
play in providing statistical information for purposes of follow-up and analysis activities relating to climate
change and many official statistics have the potential to be used to such end. There is also much left to do at
the international level for purposes of ensuring that the appropriate standards and methodologies provide the
best support possible to climate-change analyses as well as cooperation with the appropriate international
standard bureaus' specific statistics needs. This goes hand-in-hand with the findings of the Oslo Conference,
wherein it was agreed that an action plan was required for increasing the use of statistical information in
order to build a climate change policy whilst ensuring a proper follow-up thereof.

5. System for the Design, Production, Analysis and Dissemination on Statistical


Information on Climate Change 1
The system's objective is to structure and implement statistical information on climate change within the
National Statistics System managed by the DANE DANE by means of the design, production, analysis and
dissemination of relevant, adequate, periodical, reliable statistics designed to ensure the monitoring,
measurement and analysis of topics relating to climate change. The above-mentioned system has been
established in accordance with the DANE'S functions and internal structure, as well as with the guidelines of
the Conpes policy in terms of climate change. This system is comprised of five strategies as set out below:

Chart 1: Strategies designed to establish the “System for the design, production, analysis and dissemination of
statistical information on climate change. ”
Strategy Objectives
Requirement Detection and Analysis 2 Characterization of statistical information on climate change and generation of indicator
within the framework of: i) national circumstances; ii) GEG inventory; iii) adaptation
measures; iv) climate, environmental and socio-economic scenarios; v) mitigation
options; vi) item 6; vii) technology transfer; viii) IPCC.
Design i) Structuring the elements required for measuring and analyzing statistical information
on climate change; ii) activities relating to the production of derived statistics as
international, national and sectoral indicators for monitoring, measuring and analyzing
topics relating to climate change.
Statistics Production i) Collating statistical information on climate change that the country needs to produce
in order to undertake logistics activities designed to perform field work and data
processing tasks.
Analysis i) Result-quality analysis; ii) consistency and coherence analysis.
Statistics Dissemination Preparing and disseminating statistical products on climate change base don the
generation of GEG emission indicators, mitigation options, adaptation measures, and
assessing social, environmental and economic vulnerability to the impact of climate
change, amongst others.
Source: Dane – 2010.

6. Actions designed to implement the “System for the design, production, analysis and
dissemination of statistical information on climate change.”

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The DANE has undertaken a number of concrete actions designed to include the production of
climate-change statistical information in the National Statistics System, as shown below:

i) Identifying information needs in the context of climate change: The first stage involve a preliminary
characterization2 of existing potential information for evaluating climate change in respect of the
following components: GEG inventory (energy module, industrial processes, waste, agriculture and
changes in land use, and forestry); Vulnerability water resources, socioeconomic development, food
security and human health);and emission markets as a integral part of the system for the design,
production, analysis and dissemination of climate-change statistical information.

Chart 2: Number of variables characterized by component


Component Current Variables Variables Likely Variables Variables that “Orphan” Component’s
Generated by the to be Generated Generated by Other Institutions Variables* Total Number of
DANE by the DANE Other Institutions Should be
Generating
Agriculture 14 20 27 141 107 309
LULUFC 0 4 4 12 12 32
Energy 47 107 122 111 100 487
Waste 8 1 33 7 35 84
Industrial Processes 41 0 58 13 0 112
Water Resources 19 8 36 7 3 73
Socio-economic 166 12 8 10 10 206
Food Security 20 6 20 6 52

Human Health 60 55 6 121


Emissions Markets 137 137
Total 375 158 500 313 267 1613
*Number of variables that no agency is using and regarding which it is uncertain who should use them.
Source: DANE- 2010

ii) Environmental Accounts: The DANE is making progress in the conceptualization and building of
integrated economic-environmental accounts, specifically as concerns the following accounts:
energy, forestry, waste, water, and environmental protection expenditure, whilst simultaneously
structuring the emissions account;
iii) Climate Change Indicators: These are the result of identifying and prioritizing topics of interest
involving the various climate-change components; As for the context of statistical information
production and dissemination and satellite environmental account structure, a proposal for indicators
associated with climate change will be developed in the short term;
iv) General Balance Models: A pilot project for the design, production, analysis and dissemination of
v) climate-change statistical information is being developed within the inter-institutional work
framework between the DANE and the National Planning Department (DNP, Spanish acronym),
which is aimed at quantifying and analyzing the economic impact of climate change under analysis
models for decision-making.

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A technical specification designed to characterize the variables for each component was prepared for purposes of
structuring existing, potential information in the context of climate change. A summary chart on the identified variables
called “Matrix for Decision-Maker” was also elaborated. This matrix establishes the component, the name of each
variable, their unit measure, the institution that generates it or that would be likely to generate, all in accordance with
such variables’ institutional functions.