Clean Development Mechanism: Opportunities for public participation in project approval

How do interested people participate in decisions about whether a proposed project will be certified as a CDM project?



The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is a “flexibility mechanism” under the Kyoto Protocol (“Kyoto Protocol” or “Protocol”) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Established under Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol, the CDM allows countries to meet part of their target under the Protocol by implementing sustainable projects in developing countries.  These projects can generate certified emission reduction (CER) credits (ex: 1 ton of carbon dioxide = 1 CER), which can be traded or sold based on the country’s needs in meeting its Kyoto target. According to the CDM Secretariat, the CDM is the first global environmental credit procedure providing a systematic emissions offset instrument benefiting industrialized and developing countries alike.


The procedural framework for the CDM validation process provides a limited window of opportunity for stakeholder participation. Once a project design is approved by the host country, a private, independent certifier known as a Designated Operational Entity (DOE) verifies that the project proposal satisfies CDM requirements before the project can be registered by the CDM Executive Board.  The CDM Executive Board has established procedures for stakeholder participation during this DOE validation process:


1) The DOE must provide the project design to the stakeholders

to receive comments from stakeholders. 

2) The DOE must receive and publish comments from stakeholders

within a 30 day period for small scale projects, and a 45 day

period for large scale forest projects.

3) Once the comment period elapses, the DOE evaluates whether

the project should be approved, and then informs stakeholders

of the decision.

4) For validated projects, the DOE publicizes and submits a

registration request to the CDM Executive Board.


In evaluating whether a project should be approved, the DOE must take into account the stakeholders’ input received during the comment period.  The comments should address whether the substance of a project proposal is aligned with the objectives of the CDM.  These objectives are described within the CDM Verification and Validation Manual, and include technical, methodological, procedural and regulatory aspects of a project proposal.  The DOE must include in a validation report details of actions taken in due account of the stakeholders’ comments. If the DOE determines any comments to not be “sufficiently substantiated,” they must request clarification if the comments suggest the project may not comply with CDM objectives.


The UNFCCC CDM website serves as the primary mode of communication between the stakeholders, and the CDM authorities. The website provides a database of “Validation Projects” where shareholders can obtain information about a proposed project design to provide comments to the DOE for proposed projects.  Stakeholders can track projects in their country by selecting their “Host Country” under the search criteria category on the “Validation Projects” webpage.  In addition to participating in decisions regarding which projects will be certified as CDM projects, stakeholders may view Executive Board meetings via webcasts, archived reports, and provide comments on procedural reforms to the CDM process on the UNFCCC website.





   Kyoto Protocol available at


   UFCCC Clean Development Mechanism website available at


   Modalities and Procedures for a Clean Development Mechanism available at

Rules available at


   Rule of Procedure of the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism

available at


   Clean Development Mechanisms “Validation Projects” Database available at


   Clean Development Mechanisms Validation and Verification Manual available at

File Attachments: 
Date of the Resource: