In light of the various barriers encountered by small island countries in participating in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) programme, the UNEP Risoe Centre from Denmark with the assistance of the Fiji Government, IUCN - the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and SPREP have begun a series of workshops to build understanding and capacity for Pacific Island Countries in the effort to assist them to efficiently implement CDM procedures.
The first of these series of workshops was held last week in Suva at the Novotel Hotel in Lami on January 24 – 28, bringing together participants from the governments of Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, PNG, and Fiji specifically from the energy, climate change, forestry and water sectors.
The complexity of the CDM processes, together with the lack of capacity and human resources for most small island countries within the region, places significant barriers for these countries to participate in CDM programmes.
“A lot of the Pacific Island Countries are small and do not have the critical mass nor the relevant government authorities to allow them to fully participate in CDM programmes,” says Mr. Anare Matakiviti, Coordinator of IUCN’s Oceania Regional Energy Programme.
This first workshop has started the process of minimizing the difficulty faced by the small island countries in understanding the modalities and procedures of the CDM which are quite complex and can be expensive to comply with. Countries therefore looked at ways to share costs and benefits.
At present, the only country from the Oceania region which has received carbon credits for its single CDM project is the, now dysfunctional, geothermal project in PNG. Fiji and Samoa are the other two countries who have in place the necessary government authority which enables them to participate in CDM.
Despite the challenges that CDM portrays, the financing umbrella that CDM covers includes forests and clean energy projects with the possibility of including mangroves and other similar initiatives in the future.
“IUCN sees CDM as a bridging opportunity for the environment and energy sectors and both deserve more attention and are potential funding opportunities,” says Anare Matakiviti.
“The CDM cycle and its procedures is still a learning process for us here in Fiji and this workshop has clarified certain issues for us that will help us to push forth with our project proposals” highlights Ms. Kirti Chaya of the Department of Environment in Fiji.
The next regional capacity building workshop for CDM is planned for June 2011.