Global Methane Initiative

Official title: Global Methane Initiative (GMI)

Subject category:
Climate Change
Type of agreement / instrument:
Voluntary international initiative
Canada joined in: July 2005.
Canada became co-chair of the GMI Steering committee in 2016 for an initial two year term. In 2018, Canada agreed to co-chair for a second two year term.
Lead & partner departments:
Environment and Climate Change Canada
Natural Resources Canada, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Climate and Clean Air Coalition, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
For further information:
Web links:
ECCC Inquiry Centre
Compendium edition:
January 2020
Reference #:

Plain language summary

The Global Methane Initiative (GMI) is an international partnership of 45 partner governments and more than 700 non-governmental members dedicated to reducing methane emissions, as well as to the recovery and use of methane as a clean energy source. Canada assumed its current role as co-chair in 2016, and has committed to extending the co-chairmanship to 2020. In this role, Canada spurs actions domestically and internationally to reduce emissions of methane, a short-lived climate pollutant that has a powerful warming effect on the climate, and is a precursor to ground-level ozone. The GMI steering committee, co-chaired by Canada, oversees three subcommittees on areas where emission reductions are prioritized; oil and gas sector, biogas sector (including the agriculture, municipal solid waste, and wastewater technical groups), and coal mines sector.


The GMI aims to reduce global methane emissions and to advance the abatement, recovery and use of methane as a valuable clean energy source. GMI achieves this by creating an international network of partner governments, private sector members, development banks, universities, and non-governmental organizations to conduct assessments, build capacity, create partnerships, and share information to facilitate project development for methane reduction in Partner Countries.

The GMI recently launched the “Global Methane Challenge” with the goal to catalyze ambitious action to reduce methane emissions and showcase policies and technologies being used to reduce methane emissions around the world.

Working in collaboration with other international organizations, the Initiative has formed key alliances with partners such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) to reduce global methane emissions. Focusing collective efforts on methane emission sources is a cost-effective approach to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) and short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP) emissions and increase energy security, enhance economic growth, improve air quality and improve worker safety.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, as well as a precursor to ground-level ozone--a key component of smog. As a short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP), it has a shorter life-span in the atmosphere than CO2 and other long-lived GHGs, meaning that taking action to reduce methane emissions can have a beneficial climate impact in only a few years. Reducing methane can also help improve air quality.

Key elements

As a partner country, Canada is expected to participate actively in GMI-sponsored events, collaborate with partners to find cost-effective mitigation solutions, support development of emission reducing projects, and communicate progress and activities to other members.

As co-chair, Canada is committed to providing strategic guidance for the GMI as a whole by making connections between relevant partners (governments, academia, private sector, etc.) to advance methane abatement and use on a global scale. Canada organizes regular meetings to bring GMI partners together to strengthen partnerships, share information and showcase innovative technologies aimed at reducing and/or utilizing methane.

The partnership focuses on five major methane sources:

  • agriculture;
  • coal mines;
  • solid waste;
  • wastewater; and
  • oil and gas systems.

Expected results

Expected results of the Partnership include:

  • An international network of partners (member states, civil society, financiers, academia, and private sector) in order to share experience and expertise in methane reduction technologies, build capacity, and address challenges to project development;
  • The establishment of a clearinghouse of shovel-ready projects all over the world through the development of feasibility studies for methane reduction projects in the five key methane-emitting sectors ;
  • The implementation of projects that significantly reduce emissions of methane;
  • Market opportunities for clean energy technology developers and exporters;
  • Increased global momentum and action on methane and other short-lived climate pollutants through collaboration with other international organizations including the CCAC and the UNECE;
  • Voluntary, concrete actions, including through the new Global Methane Challenge, which will be measured by tangible indicators to track progress. It will also help complement mitigation efforts already undertaken.

Canada’s involvement

Canada has been co-chair of the GMI since 2016, and an active member since 2005. At the last GMI Steering Committee meeting in spring 2018, Canada agreed to serve an additional two year term as GMI co-chair, extending to 2020. ECCC delegates also co-chair and participate on behalf of Canada in the GMI sub-committees for oil and gas and biogas.

In April 2018, Canada hosted the Global Methane Forum (GMF) jointly with the GMI and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) in Toronto. The GMF is a premier global event for discussing and advancing methane mitigation, science, policy, technology innovation, funding and other relevant issues. Close to 400 participants from 51 countries attended the 2018 GMF.

Building on this success, Canada is supporting the GMI secretariat and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in planning for the next Global Methane Forum, which will take place in Geneva on March 23rd-27th 2020.

Through its leadership and participation in the GMI, Canada supports increased global action on methane mitigation through capacity building initiatives, knowledge and information exchange, and the development and implementation of public-private clean energy technologies projects. As Co-Chair of the Steering Committee, Canada also plays a key role in providing strategic direction to the organization jointly with its Mexican co-chair. This work includes supporting the commitment by the GMI and the CCAC to increase their collaboration, build on synergies and prevent duplication.

Canada hosted a Steering Committee meeting in Montreal in October 2014 and supported the work that led to the adoption of new Terms of Reference in March 2016.

Through its participation on the Oil and Gas sub-committee, Canada participated in supporting the CCAC in the development of the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership launched in 2014. Canada continues to be involved in this initiative as a Lead Partner.

Between 2007 and 2012, Canada invested more than $2.5M in methane emission reduction projects through the GMI. This investment was matched by more than $12M in contributions from other public and private sector partners. These projects included a wide range of activities to help reduce fugitive methane emissions especially in the oil and gas sector in China and Mexico and in the waste sector in Mexico.

Results / progress


  • Extension of Canada’s co-chair role to 2020
  • Hosting of the 2018 Global Methane Forum in April 2018
  • Launch of the “Global Methane Challenge” in 2018
  • GMI Steering Committee meetings held in 2017, 2018, and 2019


The Global Methane Initiative Administrative Support Group housed within US Environmental Protection Agency maintains an electronic database of reports, tools and resources from GMI meetings, conferences, and events.


Since its inception in 2004, the GMI has achieved the following results:

  • nearly $60 million leveraged from private companies and financial institutions by members of the GMI Project Network
  • contributed to reductions in methane emissions exceeding 370 Mt of CO2 equivalent since 2004.
  • developed more than 50 tools and publications
  • conducted more than 600 resource assessments, feasibility studies, site visits, and study tours
  • a growing membership of 42 country members (including major emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil and Mexico), which account for nearly 70% of methane emissions;
  • a Project Network of more than 700 private sector partners actively participating in the activities of the GMI.
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