This policy brief aims at serving as a primer both on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as a UN mechanism and its implementation in Kenya.
First, it briefly discusses the CDM’s role in the UNFCCC climate governance architecture, and highlights the evolution of the mechanism.
Second, turning to Kenya, it assesses institutions, actors, and the CDM’s implementation in the currently most important energy and forestry sectors, and the broader domestic project pipeline, considering public policy and governance dimensions.
Third, the paper reflects on the above findings with some concluding thoughts on the challenges and opportunities in maximizing the impact of the CDM on sustainable development in Kenya, and making sense of the mechanism’s possible future.
Key conclusions include that CDM rules that adequately reflect local circumstances are a necessary precondition for the CDM to contribute to Kenya’s sustainable development, although successful implementation will depend on sufficiently conducive, domestic sectoral conditions. CDM rules are evolving continuously, but still insufficiently to better account for regional circumstances, with particular deficits in the agriculture and forestry sectors. More positively, the CDM has an under-appreciated impact on the impressive shift towards renewable energy in Kenya by deliberately harnessing the potential of both public and non-state organizations.