Environmental administrators and researchers from CÃ´te d'Ivoire, Mozambique and Uganda trekked to UCT in September to master some of the technical, institutional and economic details of the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
The CDM was one of a number of flexible mechanisms of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a multilateral agreement under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It was designed to make it cost effective for industrialised nations to meet their assigned greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets, while at the same time bolstering sustainable development in developing countries.
The CDM helps industrialised countries with GHG targets to meet their quantified emission limits by investing in developing countries. They can then claim credit for the reduced emissions that results from the projects. Emission credits could be earned for programmes in renewable energy, energy efficiency, cleaner fuels, aforestation, reforestation and improved transport systems, among others.
The Cape Town CDM workshop was part of the activities of a project funded by the Netherlands government and implemented by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) through the UNEP Collaborating Centre on Energy and Environment (UCCEE). The project, christened Capacity Development for the Clean Development Mechanism, aims to train people in developing countries to analyse the technical, financial and social merits of CDM enterprises, among other things.
Twelve developing countries - five from Africa - are beneficiaries of the project. This includes three sub-Saharan African nations - Cote d'Ivoire, Mozambique and Uganda.
These countries are each expected to establish national authorities to oversee their respective CDM activities. Two regional institutions provide technical support to the countries in the project - UCT through the Energy and Development Research Centre (EDRC), and the Environmental Development Action in the Third World (ENDA) of Senegal.
The EDRC is responsible for providing support to Mozambique and Uganda, while ENDA lends assistance to Cote d'Ivoire.
At the recent training workshop, three representatives from each of the three sub-Saharan countries were taken through the technical, scientific and economic intricacies of climate change and the CDM.
Over the workshop's three-day run, delegates covered a range of topics, including the science of climate change, the financial and economic analysis of CDM projects, and carbon trading.
The group also went on training excursions to the Cape Point Global Atmospheric Watch Station and the Eskom Pump Storage power station in Grabouw on the outskirts of Cape Town.
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