U.N. CDM agency spurs more carbon credit assistance to Africa

The agency that administers the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) program to stem carbon emissions has announced a new effort to divert more emissions reduction credit money to Africa.

Officials of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) announced the initiative December 6 at an international climate change conference in Bali.

�There are 850 Clean Development Mechanism projects in 49 developing countries, but only 23 of those projects are in Africa,� UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said. �It’s time that the benefits of this important Kyoto Protocol mechanism were expanded in Africa.�

In 2006, outgoing U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan unveiled the “Nairobi Framework”: a plan by six U.N. agencies to help the poorest continent get a bigger slice of investment in clean technologies like wind and hydropower. (HNN 2/13/07)

While several more projects were launched since that time, projects in Africa account for only 2.6 percent of all CDM projects.

Under the CDM program, projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to sustainable development, such as hydropower, can earn certified emission reduction credits that can be purchased by developed countries to meet a portion of their Kyoto Protocol emissions reduction obligations. The revenues help stimulate development of such projects in poor countries.

UNFCCC said it joined forces with the U.N. Development Program (UNDP), U.N. Environment Program (UNEP), the World Bank, and the African Development Bank to implement the Nairobi Framework to scale up CDM support in Africa. The partners have written a comprehensive project proposal for which they are seeking donor support.

A joint UNDP-UNEP, six-country CDM capacity development project was initiated in sub-Saharan Africa. The project, launched in October, covers Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia. The governments of Spain, Sweden, and Finland have contributed US$1.5 million to the project.

In Africa, efforts to capture CDM benefits are accelerating, supported by a number of individual and joint U.N. efforts, officials said. Some accomplishments of the past year were acknowledged.

�There has been a notable increase in capacity development resulting in a pipeline of 30 CDM projects,� the World Bank’s Konrad von Ritter said. �Of these, 14 have already signed emissions reduction purchasing agreements with World Bank carbon funds. While this is positive, we all know that more needs to be done, and therefore the critical importance of the Nairobi Framework to scale up capacity development.�

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