Legitimacy of civil society participation in the CDM – The Plantar Project (Newsletter #10)

This week, the Board is likely to take another landmark decision towards meaningful civil society participation in the CDM process by rejecting the controversial Plantar project. The Board had decided to review the registration application of the project because it had failed to comply with CDM requirement to give global stakeholders the opportunity to provide comments[10]. In their review decision the Board asked TÜV SÜD, which validated the project, to re-open the public consultation period in order to determine whether the project complies with the following two CDM requirements:

1. DOEs shall make PDDs for large scale A/R project activities and large scale A/R programmes of activities publicly available on the UNFCCC CDM web site for a period of 45 days after comments have been invited from local stake holders and appropriately taken account of[11].

2. DOEs shall make available the required competence needed for validation and verification activity(ies). Such competences include having the necessary knowledge, skills, experience, supporting infrastructure and capacity to effectively complete validation or verification activities[12].

At this week’s meeting, the Board will consider whether the corrections undertaken as part of the review were satisfactory, in which case it will register the project or otherwise, reject it.
Many civil society representatives were keen to submit input to the project but were not able to do so for the following reasons:

1) The period for public comments was re-opened at an unexpected time:

a. The decision to re-open the public consultation was taken while TÜV SÜD was suspended and was therefore not allowed to upload PDDs for public comments as part of the validation process. Nonetheless, TÜV SÜD uploaded the PDD for the Plantar project for public comments from 15 April to 28 May (the suspension was only lifted in July 2010).

b. No civil society representative expected the PDD to be uploaded before the suspension was lifted and hence did not check the complicated UNFCCC website during that period. However, CDM Watch had done a routine check on the validation page and was able to notify civil society several days before the closing of the public commenting period.

c. Despite this, civil society representatives were unable to respond at such short notice, not least owing to the fact that they were unable to translate the documentation from the original English in time for the deadline.

2) The period for public comments was closed before the expected deadline (28 May 2010 00.00 GMT):

The public commenting period was arbitrarily closed without notice and left civil society representatives who took the time to prepare comments with no opportunity to submit them via the UNFCCC website after 28 May 2010 18.00 CET.

While the last CDM Watch Newsletter of 4th July 2010[13] held TÜV SÜD responsible for these deficiencies, it was subsequently reported to CDM Watch that it was indeed the UNFCCC secretariat that “had explicitly authorized TÜV SÜD for the upload of the PDD because otherwise the deadline for the completion of the project would have been missed”. It was also clarified that “the UNFFCC – not TÜV SÜD – closed the homepage. It is up to the UNFCCC to decide over the deadlines”.

With this in mind, CDM Watch has regularly checked the UNFCCC page for comments submitted to the project and how they have been taken into account in line with the CDM validation requirement EB 43 (Annex 12, paragraph 4). CDM Watch knows of at least of 5-10 comments that were officially submitted before the period for public comments was closed and of at least 2 comments that were sent to the UNFCCC secretariat after the period had closed at 18.00 GMT. However, until the time of writing, no comments have been uploaded to the website[14]. CDM Watch is also missing an updated validation report at the UNFCCC website that would take into account the comments received.

Action to be taken by the Board: Neither the documentation of the corrections nor comments received are publicly available. In particular the absence of an updated validation report puts the legitimacy of the global stakeholder consultation process at risk. With the review of the project being based on the fact that this very requirement wasn’t fulfilled, the project cannot be registered without making public the comments received and providing an updated validation report that takes these comments into account. If civil society participation in the CDM is to be taken seriously, CDM Watch believes that the only viable decision to take is to reject PA 2569.

10 http://cdm.unfccc.int/Projects/DB/TUEV-SUED1242052712.92/UnderReviewScope/DBJKU72W10XA8T46RV9GZ3FSINHQLE
11 EB 43 (Annex 12, paragraph 4)
12 VVM (paragraph 40)
13 http://www.cdm-watch.org/?cat=3
14 http://cdm.unfccc.int/Projects/Validation/DB/FGZRODLCVW8L8SADKS4WIRHPGKS2PO/view.html