Assessing Usefulness. Do Stakeholders Regard the CDM's SD Tool as Practicial?

Karen Holm Olsen, Jørgen Villy Fenhann, Miriam L. Hinostroza, Christof Arens, Florian Mersmann, Christiane Beuermann, Frederic Rudolph

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    One of the objectives of the CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) which is strongly embedded in the Kyoto Protocol, is to contribute to the sustainable development of the host countries in addition to climate protection. However, some non-governmental organisations have signalled the poor implementation of this requirement. The independent High-Level Panel on the CDM Policy Dialogue has also considered the need for improvement. Subsequently the Conference of the Parties serving as the meetings of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) 7 at Durban called on the CDM Executive Board to develop a tool for voluntary use in order to highlight the contribution of CDM to sustainability. As a result, in late 2012 The Sustainable Development Tool was developed and adopted. The fact that CDM projects should support sustainable development in the host countries is a key element of the CDM, which is why past experience suggests that a strong approach to the assessment of projects is important. Meanwhile, many innovative approaches taken by Designated National Authorities (DNAs) have superseded the restraint that was prevalent in earlier sustainability assessment with rather general sustainability criteria, superficial examinations and difficult stakeholder consultations. Such new approaches include scoring of indicators, priority sectors, checklists as well as improved documentation requirements for verification, municipal approval or on-site visits by DNA staff. When developing the Sustainable Development Tool, it is important not to neglect or bypass the needs of the users. Accordingly, the paper at hand looks into user-friendliness and the suitability of the sustainability tool from three perspectives - DNAs, governments with a programme of buying credits from projects with high sustainability contributions, and project developers. Host countries of different size and various levels of experience with CDM and sustainability assessment and project developers with expertise for various types of projects were interviewed in a survey about their experiences. Subjects were the sustainability assessment of CDM projects by the host country, the applicability of the Sustainable Development Tool and the national sustainability assessment. The results were evaluated to see how closely the Sustainable Development Tool matched the needs of project developers and buyers. As one main conclusion the study sees the need to further include safeguards against negative impacts of CDM projects on local communities or the environment into the Sustainable Development Tool and to elaborate methods to quantify and monetize benefits. In addition the experiences with the Tool for the CDM may be further explored to enlighten potentials of simplification and unification for new mitigation mechanisms.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationBerlin
    PublisherGerman Emissions Trading Authority
    Number of pages34
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


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