A micro hydro power project in Peru that delivers electricity and education to the
local population; a solar energy retrofit in South Africa that brings not just clean energy,
but jobs to a poor township; these are some of the development benefits revealed in analyses
being conducted by the UNFCCC secretariat on Clean Development
Mechanism (CDM) projects.
CDM was developed to help countries achieve their emission reduction obligations under the
Kyoto Protocol and to help countries travel a green path to development by creating
incentives for private sector investment in emission reduction projects. It was also designed
to assist countries in achieving their sustainable development objectives.
There are many co-benefits from projects that invest in climate change mitigation through the CDM. A
survey now being conducted by the secretariat will take a broad look at these benefits, with a focus
on how project participants view the effectiveness of their projects.
Previous work by the secretariat showed the benefits of the mechanism at the household and community
level, from income generation, to health benefits, to education, to female empowerment. More than
3,275 projects in 71 countries have so far been registered under CDM. Each of these projects has a
potential story to tell, not solely about carbon emission reductions, but about improved lives in
targeted communities as well.
For example, the Efficient Fuel Wood Stoves for Nigeria project has freed up time for women and
children, who traditionally gather fire wood for cooking, so that they can pursue education and
other opportunities. The project, which involves distribution of more than 12,000
fuel-efficient wood burning stoves, has also helped improve intra-religious relations.
“A remarkable aspect of this project has been its capacity to bring together different
communities by holding joint presentations on stove operations for all faiths in both
churches and Muslim religious halls,” remarked one project participant.
Another story is that of the Santa Rose Project, a micro hydro power project in the Sayan District of
Lima, Peru. Part of the revenues from the certified emission reductions (CERs) generated by the
project have been turned into a fund for local infrastructure investments. Those investments have
included the construction of a computer laboratory (which gave computer access to many families for
the first time) and free power for the local orphanage.
The Kuyasa project in Khayelitsha township in Cape Town, South Africa, retrofitted 2,300 homes with
solar water heaters, ceiling insulation and energy efficient lighting. But clean and efficient energy
was only part of the project’s benefits for low-income households. A key benefit was the
generation of jobs and skills. Eighty-five full-time jobs were created from the project, with related
training and skills transfer.
“The project brought skills and jobs for young men,” said one project participant.
“They don’t hang around the street corners anymore. It has brought dignity to the
But it isn’t just small communities that reap the co-benefits of the CDM. The pilot
survey conducted by the secretariat looked at the TransMilenio Bus Rapid Transit project
(phase II to IV) in Bogotá, Colombia, which is replacing 9,000 old buses with 1,200
larger, more fuel-efficient buses, along with more than 130 km of dedicated bus lanes. The
bus project is widely regarded as having delivered wholesale lifestyle improvements for the
The current CDM development benefits survey expects to gather further information offered by
the participants themselves from a larger number of projects. Anyone who has participated in,
or is a stakeholder in a CDM project can fill in the survey. Preliminary results will be
available at the end of the year and analysis will continue into 2012. The information
gathered is purely for analytical purposes and has no effect on registered project issuances.
Only aggregated information will be released to the public.
To participate in the survey, which is available in four languages (Portuguese, Chinese, English and
Spanish), please click here.