The Africa Carbon Forum initiated to raise awareness as well as bring the opportunities and benefit of the Kyoto protocol Clean Development Mechanism to Africa has attained an unprecedented heights, the UN has said.
“With more than 1,100 registered participants, the Africa Carbon Forum, the leading regional trade fair and knowledge sharing platform for carbon investments, has demonstrated that Africa is an increasingly attractive destination for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects, as investors seek new opportunities for growth in the voluntary market as well as the CDM,” a statement issued by the UN noted.
Highlighting the prospects for the continent, Christiana Figueres, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary, noted that there is an increasing number of CDM projects in several countries in Africa.
“The opportunities in Africa are increasing. I am convinced that the growing interest in CDM projects will help turn the tide and contribute to firmly positioning Africa’s opportunities for the carbon market landscape beyond 2012.
This shows that the efforts of the Nairobi Framework partners in capacity building and the steps taken by the CDM Executive Board to streamline the process are bearing fruit,” she said.
Africa accounts for only two percent of the 3,220-plus registered CDM projects in 71 countries worldwide. However, research suggests that there is a great deal of untapped potential for CDM on the continent, which has seen a strong growth trend in the past few years, as well as increasing private sector interest.
There are now 190 CDM projects at different stages of the pipeline in Africa. This is up from 170 projects at the end of 2010, 130 in 2009, 90 in 2008 and just 53 in 2007.
Recent data from the UNEP Risoe Centre show that in the last three years there has been a relatively higher number of projects initiated in Africa than globally.
The ACF is an important effort under the banner of the Nairobi Framework to help extend the reach of the CDM, according to Henry Derwent, president and CEO of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA). “For commercial as well as political reasons, the carbon offset market is now focused on Africa, whether for CDM projects or voluntary offsets,
renewable energy, forestry or land-use. The ACF is helping Africa understand and seize the opportunities,” said Henry Derwent.
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) was also a principal focus of attention at the ACF, along with the development of the concept of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), under discussion at the UNFCCC negotiations.
The African Carbon Forum is held under the Nairobi Framework, an initiative launched to help developing countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, to increase their participation in the CDM.
Launched in November 2006 by then Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Nairobi Framework’s partners now include the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and its Risoe Centre, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and its World Bank Institute, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the African Development Bank, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat and the International Emissions Trading Association.