Stronger Rules for Local Consultations on the Horizon (Watch this! #1)

The obstacles to meaningful public participation in the CDM have been highlighted many times. In particular, local stakeholder consultation guidelines need urgent improvement and many options have been presented. There is no need to wait any longer. It’s time to act now.

CDM rules require that the project developers of a CDM project have to carry out a local stakeholder consultation before a CDM project can start the official UN validation process. However, while the rules require that a consultation has to be carried out, the rules don’t specify how the local stakeholder consultations should be undertaken. Moreover, the rules don’t give clear guidance on how the consultations should be validated by the auditors. This often causes that projects get registered although people directly affected have not even been informed. For instance, in the case of the Sasan coal power project in India which was registered in 2010, villagers were only informed about the project when they were told to move. See documentary the ‘carbon con’.

Many cases have been reported to CDM Watch on how local stakeholder consultation is carried out in practice. According to complaints from affected communities and peoples there are many shortcomings. Often only local stakeholders likely to be favorable to the project are invited, other more critical ones are not. Sometimes only local authorities are being invited and notice of the consultation does not reach the local stakeholders, or reaches them too late. We have also received complaints that the information provided at the local consultation often does not reflect the realities of the project. To win people’s approval project developers also tend to make promises of benefits during the stakeholder consultation meetings that are then not implemented. In some cases stakeholders who voice criticism have been threatened and forced to sign blank approval documents. These examples clearly show that the lack of specificity and clarity in guidelines enables CDM project developers to undertake superficial and insufficient local stakeholder consultations.

On the 23rd and 24th March 2012, the UNFCCC organised the first Sustainable Development Mechanisms Joint Coordination Workshop. CDM Watch took the opportunity to highlight the main shortcomings of the local stakeholder consultation – most of the participants fully agreed with these. The following next steps are envisaged to be undertaken at UN level:

  • Develop a concept note on local stakeholder consultation and global stakeholder consultation, based on the call for inputs and interim discussions for discussion
  • Further consult on this issue at the CDM Roundtable, May 2012, Bonn
  • Develop clear recommendations to the CDM Executive Board, July 2012, Bonn
  • CDM Executive Board to revise regulatory documents, including Project Standard, Validation and Verification Standard, September 2012.

CDM Watch will keep fighting for a meaningful public participation process and more rights for affected peoples and communities. If you have experienced a faulty consultation process please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

For more information see:

Submissions to the public call for inputs to the validation process

Presentations from the first Sustainable Development Mechanisms Joint Coordination Workshop.


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