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)
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
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
“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 community.”
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 city.
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.