The CDM offers a couple of opportunities for public participation in the CDM. The most important one is the possibility to submit comments during the 30-day public commenting period which starts as soon as a new CDM project is submitted to the UNFCCC as part of the validation process. However, in the past there was little incentive to submit such comments because there was no recourse when the comments were ignored and the project registered regardless.
The Executive Board has now taken a first step to address this problem and has adopted a complaints procedure at its 56th meeting in September 2010. If a DOE neglects to adequately address a comment, such a complaint can now lead to the suspension of a DOE. Details of this procedure are laid out in Appendix 3 entitled “Handling of Complaints against a AE/DOE”.
Within this context it is important to note that there are a significant number of obstacles within the CDM procedures that make it difficult for civil society to effectively engage in the process in the first place and as a consequence, make use of this complaints procedure. Most importantly there is no notification about the start date of a commenting period for a particular project. This means that even if there were concerns and legitimate complaints, these concerns could not be challenged in this new procedure if not submitted within the 30-day period.
Therefore, it has yet to be seen whether this new procedure will encourage DOEs to take stakeholder consultations more seriously. However, it is a step in the right direction because it will encourage civil society to make use of the possibility to submit comments and will ultimately add to the legitimacy of the CDM Executive Board´s decisions. And this is how it works:
Who can submit a complaint?
- Project participants
- NGOs or other entities that had submitted comments during the global stakeholder consultation process and whose comments were not taken into consideration by the DOE
What can the complaint be about?
- Fraud or unethical behavior by the DOE
- The DOE has not complied with its own accredited system and/or the CDM requirements
(this includes not having taken stakeholders’ comments into consideration)
How to submit a complaint?
- Fill out a complaint form
- Send it to the CDM-AP c/o UNFCCC Secretariat
- Add documentation that can substantiate the complaint and evidence that all possibilities of complaints/disputes/appeals within the DOE’s system have been exhausted (copies of emails conversations and letters, screenshots, etc.)
What can the outcome of such a complaint be?
- Additional assessment
- Additional performance assessment
- Conduction of a spot-check
- Suspension of the DOE