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The potential of the CDM to deliver pro-poor benefits

Crowe, Tracey L.
Climate policy 2013 v.13 no.1 pp. 58-79
biodiversity, carbon markets, climate, development projects, guidelines, issues and policy, organizations, poverty, stakeholders, surveys, sustainable development
The potential of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects to deliver pro-poor benefits at the community level is examined. Both regular CDM and premium add-on standard projects are evaluated, including the Gold Standard and Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard, through the use of seven poverty indicators. Some key characteristics associated with providing pro-poor benefits are also identified. Finally, the market potential of a revised or new premium add-on standard explicitly designed to deliver pro-poor benefits is assessed through the use of a survey. The results indicate that regular CDM projects are only moderately successful at delivering pro-poor benefits. Although the few projects registered that utilize the CCB Standard all performed well in delivering pro-poor benefits, those that used the Gold Standard performed only slightly better than regular CDM projects. Characteristics associated with providing pro-poor benefits include the use of add-on standards, a high level of stakeholder participation, and the development of projects by not-for-profit and government/intergovernmental organizations. The survey of carbon market participants indicated both an interest and desire for Certified Emission Reduction (CER) credits with pro-poor benefits attached and shows that the market potential for such a standard to be quite good. Policy relevance This analysis of the CDM goes beyond sustainable development to consider the potential of a project to deliver pro-poor benefits at the local community level. Specific characteristics associated with projects are identified that appear to deliver pro-poor benefits that may benefit future project design. Through this analysis and identifying these characteristics, actions may be taken to incorporate those into CDM project requirements or guidelines to advance the mechanism as a means to contribute to poverty alleviation.