The CDM Watch Network – The Voice of Civil Society in the CDM (Newsletter #20)

The CDM Watch Network has helped empower civil society throughout the world to hold the CDM to account. This is important due to the increasing impact that CDM projects have in host countries. Effective public participation in the CDM is essential to strengthen its environmental integrity and to make sure that harmful projects do not ender the CDM, right from an early stage. Below is a brief overview on how the network nurtures and helps broadcast civil society opinions that have been previously unheard in the CDM and carbon markets.

In the earlier stages of CDM Watch’s work, we quickly identified a clear need for an international network amongst civil society focusing on the CDM. In early 2011, CDM Watch launched the CDM Watch Network. The primary purpose of the Network is to connect and strengthen the voice of civil society and academia around the world on issues relating to the CDM and wider carbon market developments. The overall objective is to help establish a meaningful public participation structure. It achieves this by fostering greater communication between civil society organisations and coordinating public inputs. Information shared in the Network includes policy news as well as media coverage of relevant topics, alerts for public input opportunities and discussions about technical and political questions. Members also use the English and Spanish mailing lists as a resource to seek critical information from partners on the network and share advocacy victories.

The CDM Watch Network provides:

  • A platform to share information about the CDM and carbon markets
  • Peer-support for project campaigns and advocacy efforts
  • Opportunities to participate in campaign and advocacy actions such as open letters and submissions.

This information sharing platform continues to expand in scope and size and the network currently supports approximately 400 organisations and networks in 70 countries, spread across over five continents. We have members stretching from Afghanistan to Vietnam, Panamá to Senegal. Members work on a wide spectrum of issues ranging from lay understanding of the CDM and carbon markets to direct engagement. The success of the Network’s broad geographic reach is partly a result of CDM Watch’s national and regional capacity building workshops over the past three years. Constructive discussion and debates fostered at these events have led many to join the Network and continue sharing within a much larger virtual workshop!

As a source of information, the role of the CDM Watch Network is evolving and adapting to the ongoing political debate and situation on the ground. However with continued developments in the UNFCCC process and in particular a demand for new market instruments, local stakeholders are often left feeling unclear as to the direction the international negotiations are taking. The task of accurately disseminating and often translating complex language to members is vital for those in rural areas where many CDM projects are situated. However these same organisations play an extremely important role in the Network, discussing their concerns about particular projects or project types in their country while sharing opportunities for engagement that many civil society organisations would not otherwise be aware of.  Over the past year we have found this communication tool to be an essential part of publicising and coordinating responses to the limited opportunities availed to civil society in the CDM project cycle and policy discussions, such as the ongoing CDM policy dialogue panel consultations.  

CDM Watch India launched

The Spanish mailing list ‘Red de Vigilancia’ has successfully established a solid connection to our Spanish speaking colleagues throughout the world, in particular Latin America, connecting the voice of civil society issues related to carbon markets. Reacting to the high volumes of regionally-specific information circulating on the global network, we launched the CDM Watch India Network in May 2012. This initiative is a response to seeking to further support the many Indian organisations and voices that have cast a careful eye on CDM projects and developments in India over the past few years.

CDM Watch focal points

CDM Watch is proud to announce the formation of new national and regional focal points that aim to greatly improve the geographical scope of our network. These organisations, identified by their active role in the network, will help us more effectively channel CDM news and information as well as coordinate our work more locally to those whose voices have previously been unheard. CDM Watch Network focal points scrutinise CDM projects and policies and act as civil society contact points in their own home countries. To foster meaningful public participation amongst civil society, coordinated communication and capacity building is required, especially in countries with large landmasses. We are encouraged by those organisations that are enthusiastic about reaching out to a large variety of local actors that they believe would benefit from being a member of this information-sharing community.

As the UN’s offsetting mechanisms change, the flow of reliable knowledge going to and coming from civil societies and academia in CDM host countries remains essential in a veritable ocean of critical perspectives. As new market mechanisms are being developed, it is of paramount importance that challenges faced and lessons learnt by our network members are taken into account. We warmly anticipate carrying forward our network’s integral role in the CDM and carbon market debate.

For a list of network members on respective continents see: Asia, Africa, Americas and Europe.

CDM Watch Network membership is free and open to all NGOs and academics that are formally independent from  government and commercial organisations. We especially invite activists and local movements from CDM host countries to join the Network. Interested in registering to become a member of any of the CDM Watch networks? Please go to the network section on our homepage.

If you or your organisation would like to learn more on becoming a national focal point please contact our Network Coordinator Antonia on antonia@cdm-watch.org.