UNDP-RCB and IGES Suggest Enhancing the Utilisation of the CDM for Poverty Reduction in the Asia-Pacific Region

18 April 2006
On 30 - 31 March, the United Nations Development Programme’s Regional Centre in Bangkok (UNDP-RCB) and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Hayama, Japan, conducted a joint workshop in Bangkok entitled “Developing a Regional Strategy for the Clean Development Mechanism in the Asia-Pacific region.” About forty participants including senior government officials from twenty-one countries in the Asia-Pacific region gathered to examine ways of ensuring CDM and other greenhouse gas reduction efforts benefit the poor in the region.

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was designed under the Kyoto Protocol to enable industrialised countries, called Annex 1 countries, to achieve some of their greenhouse gases (GHGs) emission reduction targets by undertaking, in partnership, GHG emissions reduction projects in developing countries, called the Non-Annex 1 countries. Through this partnership approach, industrialized countries can pay for the projects that reduce or avoid emissions in developing countries and, in turn, get to earn emissions reduction credits, popularly called carbon credits. However, whilst developing countries focus on poverty reduction as their priority development agenda, investors from Annex 1 countries tend to focus on projects that can earn optimal carbon credits but not necessarily bring development dividends that benefit the poor. In addition, the bulk of CDM investments tend to go to countries with low risks, such as India and China. Hence, the least developed countries that are in the greatest need of foreign investments and development support, in order to reduce poverty, are usually passed over for many CDM projects.

The Workshop concluded that developing countries should set clear poverty reduction criteria for CDM projects and industrialised countries should look beyond maximising carbon credits, and consider adding a premium to CDM projects that hold high development dividends.

The Workshop discussed the need for developing countries to explore defining clear human poverty reduction criteria for the approval of CDM projects and to focus CDM in sectors that are pertinent to poverty reduction, such as rural electrification and transportation. In doing so, it is critical to properly evaluate CDM impacts on the local communities.

As an outcome of the Workshop, the UNDP-RCB and IGES agreed to continue their partnership and assistance to developing countries in the region. For this purpose, the UNDP-RCB would provide policy advice, capacity development and knowledge sharing on the CDM to developing countries through its consolidated network established through the twenty-five UNDP county offices in the region. IGES will enhance the formulation of CDM projects for poverty reduction by conducting activities that include the capacity building of government officials in charge of development and poverty reduction.

The workshop was the first joint initiative of UNDP and IGES, based on the Letter of Understanding on Strategic Partnership signed between UNDP-RCB and IGES in Janaury 2006 to foster collaboration with the aim of realising sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region.

For enquiries about this press release please contact:
Ms. Kido, PR Officer
The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies(IGES)
2108-11 Kamiyamaguchi, Hayama, Kanagawa, 240-0115 Japan
Tel: +81-46-855-3734 Fax: +81-46-855-3709

Ms. Chisa Mikami, Public Affairs and Civil Society Liaison Officer
UNDP Tokyo Office
UNU Bldg. 8F, 5-53-70 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001 Japan
Tel: +81-3-5467-4751 Fax: +81-5467-4753

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