By Megan Rowling
LONDON (AlertNet) - The U.N. climate change secretariat and the East African Development Bank are setting up a centre in Uganda to boost participation of African countries in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which directs funding to projects that reduce climate changing emissions.
The office in Kampala will open on May 1, and is the second of its kind in Africa. The first centre - established a few months ago in Lomé, Togo, by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement (West African Development Bank) - is providing assistance for the development of CDM projects in Francophone Africa.
"The two regional collaboration centres in Lomé and Kampala are designed to help Africa increase its attractiveness and potential for CDM," Christiana Figueres, the UNFCCC's executive secretary, said in a statement this week. "Our goal is to build capacity, reduce the risk for investors in such projects and help make the continent an increasingly attractive destination for CDM projects.”
The U.N.-backed CDM allows clean energy and other greenhouse gas-curbing projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reductions (CERs), each equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide. The CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialised countries to help meet their emissions reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
As of the end of January, the CDM had 6,060 registered projects in 83 developing countries, but only a tiny 1.9 percent of these are based in Africa. The vast majority - 85.3 percent - are in Asia, primarily China, with just over 12 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“There is a great deal of untapped potential for CDM in Africa," said Peer Stiansen, chair of the CDM Executive Board. "The regional collaboration centres aim to tap the potential of carbon offset projects on the continent.”
The Ugandan centre, hosted by the East African Development Bank, will provide hands-on support to governments, non-governmental organisations and businesses interested in developing CDM projects in more than 20 countries in East, South and North Africa.
Countries that can seek help from the new office include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The regional collaboration centres will assist in the identification and design of CDM projects, tackle issues raised by organisations that verify them, and offer opportunities to lower transaction costs, the UNFCCC said.