A Short Note on the Social Side of
the Modalities and Procedures for Afforestation and
Reforestation Projects under the CDM
by Claudio Forner

Social issues and the CDM
The development of the M&P has aimed at elaborating political guidance relevant for the objectives of the CDM. This process has faced the dichotomy between those aspects of CDM projects that are international (mainly the aspects of the CDM dealing with the reduction of emissions and enhancement of sinks as well as the related institutions and rules) and those that are national (mainly those relating to sustainable development). Although the policymaking process has tackled both, most of the guidance provided in the M&P focuses on international issues, leaving to each Party the decisions and implementation of the national ones. The present section summarizes the guidance explicitly stated in the M&P that are related to social issues. As stated in the introduction, one of the two objectives of the CDM is that projects contribute to sustainable development.

Social issues and the CDM

In practice, this implies the need to establish a mechanism by which the contribution to sustainable development can be judged for any project to be a “CDM project”. However, because “sustainable development” was seen from the very beginning as an issue of national sovereignty, the M&P themselves do not specify criteria or any other mechanism to assist in this determination. The M&P do recognize that it is the responsibility of the host Party, through its designated national authority, to assess whether a project is in line with the national treatment of “sustainable development”. The M&P do require projects to present a letter from the DOA in which it is stated that the project has been considered by the national government and that is in accordance with the national procedures that deal with sustainable development. In relation to social and environmental impacts, the M&P state, at the general level, that project participants should submit documentation relating to these impacts, and, if these are considered to be signifi cant, an environmental impact assessment in line with national requirements should be undertaken. The regulation also specifi es that “significant” is a value judgement performed by both project participants and the designated national authority. It should be highlighted that the role of the designated operational entity both with regards to sustainable development and to social and environmental impacts is limited to verify whether related information has been submitted but should not perform an assessment of this information. Additional elements that caught the interest of policymakers were the legal aspects in relation to land title and access to carbon pools (e.g. wood harvesting), which may have an impact on the permanence of the carbon stored during the project lifetime. For this reason, the M&P, although not requesting any specific status nor limitations to these legal aspects, do require that transparent information is included on any possible changes that may occur while the project is operational. The monitoring plan should also consider the circumstances that may change either the legal title of the land or the rights of access to the carbon pools.
The M&P also specify where these elements should be incorporated in the documentation of the project. In particular, appendix B outlines the contents of the project design document (or PDD), which includes information on the baseline and monitoring methodologies and on the physical, geographical, social, economic and environmental conditions of the area. Specific information that should accompany the documentation of a project includes:
++ Description of the legal title of the land and the rights of access to carbon pools.
++ Documentation on the analysis of the environmental impacts. This analysis should include, where applicable, information on aspects such as hydrology, soils, risk of fi res, pests and diseases.

Social issues and the CDM

++ Documentation on the analysis of the socio-economic impacts. This analysis should include, where applicable, information on aspects such as local communities, indigenous peoples, land tenure, local employment, food production, cultural and religious sites, and access to fuelwood and other forest products.
++ A description of planned monitoring and remedial measures to address signifi cant social and/or environmental impacts. Finally, it is worth mentioning that the CDM has established a process by which public comments can be made for every single piece of policy, including the consideration of methodologies and projects themselves. For example, the general public, NGOs or other stakeholders are allowed to send their views, which are normally considered either by the respective panel or the executive board itself when considering a decision on the approval of a project. In practice, a call for comments is announced via email to people who have subscribed to the distribution list. All public comments and documentation are made available in the CDM website.

Social issues and the CDM Social issues and the CDM
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