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DAKAR, Senegal, September 4, 2008 (ENS) – To help Africa obtain its fair share of climate emissions reduction projects under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism and satisfy a growing interest in a carbon market on the continent, the International Emissions Trading Association on Wednesday launched the first all Africa Carbon Forum at Le Meridien Preisdent Hotel in Dakar.

Henry Derwent, president of the International Emissions Trading Association, said his association of 186 international companies “is excited to be the private sector partner, helping to bring on board essential business participation in a landmark, Africa-wide event.”

The association is developing an active, global greenhouse gas market, consistent across national boundaries and involving all flexibility mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol – the Clean Development Mechanism, Joint Implementation and emissions trading.

Madiko Niang, Interim Minister of State
and Environment, Senegal, and Bakary
Kante, UN Environment Programme at
the Africa Carbon Forum (All photos
courtesy Earth Negotiations Bulletin)

Under the Clean Development Mechanism, projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to sustainable development, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency or tree planting, can earn saleable certified emission reduction credits, CERs. Countries with commitments under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce their emissions can use the CERs to meet part of those obligations.

Senegal, the host country, with just one Clean Development Mechanism project in the validation-registration pipeline, sees potential in the CDM and is eager to scale up participation.

“Africa represents a small fraction of the CDM projects worldwide, but this can change. Senegal sees this kind of forum as an effective means to spark that change,” said Madické Niang, Senegal’s interim minister of state and environment.

Today, forum participants attended sessions addressing financing barriers in Africa, the significance of voluntary carbon markets for Africa, energy efficiency, and project financing and pricing of CERs. In the evening, participants explored matchmaking opportunities.

The forum is taking place under the umbrella of the Nairobi Framework, launched in November 2006 by UN agencies with the goal of helping developing countries, especially those in sub-Sahara Africa, to improve their level of participation in the CDM.

The continent accounts for just 27 of the more than 1,150 Clean Development Mechanism projects now registered in 49 developing countries.

Still, the number of projects in Africa is growing, and the projects already in place are expected to stimulate nearly $4 billion worth of capital investment.

There are about another 2,000 projects in the CDM project validation-registration pipeline.

The UN’s top climate change official Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, was in Dakar Wednesday to open the forum and expressed his satisfaction with the work to date.

Yvo de Boer heads the UNFCCC.

“Combating climate change will take political will, and it will take a great deal of investment. Mechanisms like the CDM are an important means to stimulate that investment, so it’s good to see that Africa is now getting the attention it deserves from the private sector and public sector through events like the Africa Carbon Forum,” said de Boer.

“What the world needs is a global, low-emissions economic development plan that makes climate-friendly economic growth globally viable,” he said.

“Africa is the continent hardest hit by climate change yet benefits least from the current international climate change regime, a situation which cries out for concerted engagement by African leaders in the current round of climate change negotiations,” de Boer told the carbon market stakeholders and government representatives.

The energy sector is responsible for by far the largest share of global emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, de Boer said.

According to the International Energy Agency, global energy demand will grow by 55 percent by 2030. Until then, the energy supply infrastructure worldwide will require a total investment of $22 trillion, with about half of that in developing countries, he said.

“Meeting Africa’s energy needs would require about $1.5 trillion. This means that we face the challenge of greening this massive investment sum by creating win-win opportunities for the money to be invested in low-emissions technologies, such as renewable energies. If we fail to achieve this, emissions will go up by 50 percent, instead of down by 50 percent, as science says they should,” said de Boer.

The UN Development Programme, UN Environment Programme, the World Bank and the UNFCCC secretariat have joined to implement the Nairobi Framework.

They would welcome more partners, as well as additional financial support as work to date has been funded from existing resources.
Konrad von Ritter is with the World Bank Institute.

Konrad von Ritter, sector manager for sustainable development at the World Bank Institute, said that due, in part, to improved coordination under the Nairobi Framework, Africa is increasing its capacity to handle CDM projects and growing its pipeline of projects.

“We’ve seen an encouraging number of emission reduction purchase agreements signed, including here in Senegal for an innovative CDM program of activities in rural electrification, and an encouraging level of participation in more and more countries in Africa,” von Ritter said.

“Almost daily in the news we see evidence that climate change is a serious threat to international development efforts. We need more investment in CDM projects to help ensure climate change doesn’t undermine our efforts to eliminate poverty and reach the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in the least developed countries,” said Yannick Glemarec, executive coordinator of the UN Development Programme and Global Environmental Facility, an international funding agency for environmental programs.

Bakary Kante, director of the UN Environment Programme’s Division of Environmental Law and Conventions, said, “A lot of work is being done to capture the benefits of the CDM in Africa. First and foremost we have to make people aware that this mechanism exists, then remove the barriers to participation through capacity building and private-public sector networking, at events like the Africa Carbon Forum.”

For more on the flexibility mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol – the Clean Development Mechanism, Joint Implementation and emissions trading – click here [unfccc.int].

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