Environment minister: Yemen is ready to apply the Clean Development MechanismDNA secretariat: There are promising CDM projects for Yemen [Archives:2008/1134/Health]

March 3 2008
Abdul-Rahman F. Al-Eryani
Abdul-Rahman F. Al-Eryani
Last year, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a resolution to establish a Designated National Authority (DNA) to approve projects under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism, or CDM. The Yemen Times interviewed Minister of Water and Environment, Abdul-Rahman F. Al-Eryani, chairman of the CDM Approval Board, and Dr. Lia Sieghart, the DNA secretariat, to find out more about the mechanism, the protocol and projects under it.

What is the Clean Development Mechanism?

Al-Eryani: The Clean Development Mechanism, or CDM, is a market-based mechanism created by the Kyoto Protocol offering certified emission credits in return for investment in sustainable development and emission-reducing projects in developing countries.

Under the CDM, projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to sustainable development can earn saleable certified emission reductions, or CERs.

Countries such as Japan, France, Germany, the Netherlands and many more with an emission reduction or limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol can use CERs to meet part of their obligations under the protocol.

How did Yemen become involved in the Carbon market?

Al-Eryani: The carbon market has its foundational decisions made by governments at the national, regional and international levels. Parties to the Kyoto Protocol – one of which is Yemen – have created an international legal framework that fundamentally changes key economic parameters by limiting access to the global atmosphere.

This gives economic value to emission reductions, creates economic incentives for investment in mitigation technology and is a catalyst for innovation to minimize the future costs of emission reductions.

This incentive isn't confined to just industrialized nations; developing countries can and are benefiting through the Clean Development Mechanism. Projects could access millions from carbon funds – an opportunity not to be missed!

What's the actual size of the carbon market, as set by the Clean Development Mechanism?

Sieghart: The CDM has seen exponential growth since the Kyoto Protocol came into effect in 2005, by the end of which only a few dozen projects had been registered. The end of 2007 marked a milestone with the issuance of the 100 millionth certified emission reduction credit.

Currently, more than 900 CDM projects are registered in 49 developing countries, while another 2,000 projects are in the registration pipeline. The CDM is expected to generate more than 2.6 billion CERs by the time the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period ends in 2012, each equivalent to one ton of carbon dioxide.

Where are most of these projects located?

Sieghart: Most projects are registered with China as a host country, followed by India, Mexico, Brazil, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. India and China have been particularly early movers and have grasped investment opportunities provided by the CDM.

Despite high demand to utilize the CDM and witnessing a rapidly increasing number of registered projects, the number of host countries playing a vital role remains very limited.

Only recently has the Middle East begun realizing its potential, with Qatar registering a project and the United Arab Emirates currently evaluating 20 projects. The region has much more to offer and to gain in the various sectoral scopes addressed.

What hampers an even distribution of projects?

Al-Eryani: Well, many countries find it difficult to maneuver within the regulatory framework of the Marrakesh Accords. There are many factors, many of which are country-specific, but many also repeatedly are reported alike, such as lack of understanding of CDM requirements, limited financial resources for training and allocating government personnel for project review and an absence of technical assistance from the donor community.

Is Yemen ready for this challenge?

Al-Eryani: It certainly is! Since mid-2006, the country has been experiencing a steep learning curve resulting in numerous tangible outputs and thereby receiving an enormous amount of international recognition.

In January 2007, the Yemeni Cabinet approved the Prime Minister's Resolution No. 238 regarding establishing a Designated National Authority to approve projects under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism. A ministerial decree outlining country-specific CDM approval procedures was endorsed, recognizing the importance of global cooperation in abating climate change and its implications upon national objectives for sustainable development.

More than 25 CDM workshops aimed at improving the capacity of government representatives, the private sector, NGOs and local experts were implemented. Potential developers were assisted in identifying CDM projects within their operational activities. This process resulted in a sound framework for Yemen to operate as a CDM host country.

Yemen also was the first nation in the region to exhibit its CDM potential at the Global Carbon Expo. The Capital Secretariat recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the MDG Carbon Facility to assess the CDM potential of the Sana'a landfill.

In which areas do you see the potential for CDM projects in Yemen?

Sieghart: We've identified a number of promising CDM projects for Yemen, including renewable energy sources, reduced flaring and venting in the oil and gas sector, energy efficiency, landfill management, harnessing methane from wastewater and switching to less carbon-intensive fuel sources.

Where can one find out more about the CDM and Yemen?

Al-Eryani: I invite people to visit our www.cdm-yemen.org web site and use the tools provided there, as this web site contains a wide variety of information on the Kyoto Protocol, background information on the CDM and the structure of Yemen's Designated National Authority, or DNA, as well as approval criteria and procedures. A CDM project portfolio are available for download. The page also contains a section on news and events, related links and a glossary.

Please also feel free to contact the DNA secretariat, the contacts for which can be found on the web site, if any assistance is required, as our people are there for the public.