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The Gold Standard Programme for Underrepresented Regions

Background and Objective

When it comes to the CDM, Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and especially African LDCs, were only marginally involved. This is largely due to the lack of capital in those countries and the disproportionately high transaction costs that small-scale projects incurred. The situation is quite different where the so-called voluntary carbon market is concerned. While projects must, of course, be certified, the market’s voluntary nature allows a more flexible approach that can result in lower transaction costs.

Against this backdrop, and as part of a three-year work programme, the Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) commissioned the Gold Standard Foundation with the development of a range of new micro-methodologies for use in the voluntary carbon market. The aim was for the methodologies to lower the barriers to market entry and allow activities in the clean energy/energy efficiency sectors to be expanded to underrepresented regions. It was also hoped that the new methodologies would be transferred to the various compliance systems, thus promoting participation in the regions concerned.


To break down the barriers preventing entry to carbon markets in the target region, Gold Standard developed an integrated approach comprising a number of activities and measures.

For example, the existing rules and procedures for small-scale projects and programmes of activities (PoAs) were revised. Forming one of the cornerstones of the work programme, a new Micro-PoA Programme enabled project developers to cut their transaction costs, reduce the time involved in project registration and benefit from the simplified procedure. The Gold Standard Micro-PoA Programme also made it possible to expand these micro-activities into a programmatic approach, combining the advantages of both. 

Yet another component of the Gold Standard Programme took the form of a special procedure for projects in crisis regions and refugee camps, where project developers face huge challenges in contracting the services of an accredited Designated Operation Entity (DOE) for project validation and verification. The new rules allow deviation from the usual procedure, thus providing support for project activities in the respective regions and camps.

The Gold Standard DNA Programme was also part of the work programme. Building on experience gained in securing social, environmental and economic contributions, Gold Standard supported DNAs that had introduced stricter procedures for the evaluation of contributions towards sustainable development. Agreements entered into with those DNAs underpinned that support.

Milestones and Outlook

Through the combination of these and other measures, the conditions for implementing climate change mitigation projects in LDCs were fundamentally improved. Project developers of micro-projects and PoAs as well as projects in crisis regions and refugee camps benefited from the simplified procedure, and local project activities received support. Improvements in the evaluation of contributions to sustainable development were also achieved, while the provision of training enabled targeted promotion of capacity-building support for DNAs.

The Gold Standard Programme for Underrepresented Regions

Role of BMU: Research funding

Lifecycle: 2011 - 2014 (completed)

Implementation: The Gold Standard Foundation

Other Organisations Involved: Perspectives Climate Change GmbH, NIRAS, South South North

Further Information: Gold Standard Webseite

Contact: Lloyd Fleming,

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