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Expanding CDM mechanism projects called to Africa
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Yvo de Boer, U.N.'s top climate change official, Thursday called for expanding the benefits of clean development mechanism (CDM) to Africa at a press conference in Bali, a resort island of Indonesia, which is hosting a two-week U.N. climate change conference.

"There are 850 clean development mechanism projects in 49 developing countries, but only 23 of those projects are in Africa. It's time that the benefits of this important Kyoto Protocol mechanism were expanded in Africa," said Yvo de Boer, executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change ( UNFCCC), at the press conference.

Meanwhile, representatives of the five agencies implementing the Nairobi Framework aimed at spreading the benefits of CDM also said that a great deal more remains to be done to extend the benefits of the CDM to Africa.

Under the CDM, projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to sustainable development can earn saleable certified emission reductioncredits (CERs).

Countries with a commitment under the Kyoto Protocol can use the CERs to meet a portion of their obligations under the Protocol.

A year after then Secretary-General Kofi Annan launched the Nairobi Framework, aimed at spreading the benefits of CDM to more countries, several more projects have been launched in Africa. Projects in Africa account for just 2.6 percent of all CDM projects, according to a press release of the conference.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the World Bank, African Development Bank and UNFCCC secretariat have joined forces to implement the Nairobi Framework, and bring to life the expressed aspirations of Parties to scale up CDM in Africa.

They have written a comprehensive project proposal for which they are seeking donor support.

"UNDP considers climate change to hit at the very heart of its development mission. Climate change threatens to seriously undermine efforts to eliminate poverty and reach the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in the least developed countries," said Yannick Glemarec, Executive Coordinator of the UNDP--Global Environment Facility.

The first concrete UNDP project outcome under the Nairobi Framework is a six-country CDM capacity development project in sub- Saharan Africa initiated in September 2007. The project managed by a UNDP Regional Project Coordinator based in Addis Ababa covers Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, and was launched in October.

The Governments of Spain, Sweden and Finland have contributed a total of 1.5 million U.S. dollars to the project.

"In Africa, efforts to capture CDM benefits are accelerating, supported by a number of individual and joint U.N. efforts. Overcoming the complexity of the CDM and general investment barriers, however, cannot be done overnight, but our sustained efforts are producing results," said John Christensen, Head of UNEP RISOE Center, based in Denmark.

Konrad von Ritter, Sector Manager for Sustainable Development at the World Bank Institute, pointed to real accomplishments in the past year.

"There has been a notable increase in capacity-development resulting in a pipeline of 30 CDM projects. 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," Konrad von Ritter said.

There are currently more than 850 registered CDM projects in 49 countries, and about another 2,000 projects in the project registration pipeline. The CDM is expected to generate more than 2. 6 billion U.S. dollars certified emission reductions (tradable CERs) by the time the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012, each equivalent to one tone of carbon dioxide.

With 191 Parties, UNFCCC has near universal membership. It is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which has to date 175 member Parties.

Under the Protocol, 36 industrialized countries and countries undergoing transition to a market economy, have legally binding green house gas (GHG) emission limitation and reduction commitments, while developing countries have non-binding obligations to limit emissions.

The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize GHG concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

(Xinhua News Agency December 7, 2007)

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