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Caution needed regarding international emission reduction projects not monitored by the UN

(Photo: Stéphane Bidouze/

December 2015 – A few weeks ago, a study by the Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI) revealed serious failings in the Joint Implementation (JI) process. There are currently some 600 JI projects under way, of which only 52 are being monitored by the UN. The others make use of the opportunity to issue certificates at national level. Almost 400 projects in Russia and Ukraine are thus questionable as regards their emission reduction effects.
As early as 2012, the EU stopped approving this type of project but for legal reasons was unable to exclude those already approved from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The projects monitored by the UN and also those conducted at national level by Germany and, for example, France have been successful in climate policy terms.
This highlights the need not just for reliable verification processes, but also for transparency, the submission of project documentation, participation processes for local communities and participation opportunities for internationally strong stakeholders. These requirements are all fully met by the CDM.

A few days ago, a forestation project in Uganda, the Kikonda Tree Plantation Project, hit the headlines. See the associated German-language article in Spiegel Online.

The Kikonda project was not approved when submitted for registration under the CDM and does not, therefore, fall under the Kyoto Protocol rules on emission reduction projects. As a result, the CDM monitoring and verification processes cannot be applied.

The Kikonda project has nonetheless received Gold Standard certification. The Federal Environment Ministry thus asked the Gold Standard Foundation to explain the situation. Gold Standard was equally alarmed at the news and issued a statement in reply (see download below).
The Federal Environment Ministry has no independent information regarding the claims being made in relation to the Kikonda project.