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Assessing Usefulness

Do Stakeholders Regard the CDM’s SD Tool as Practical?

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was created with the double aim to achieve cost-effective mitigation of greenhouse gases and to assist developing countries in achieving sustainable development, based on their national development priorities. Yet the CDM has been criticized that its contribution to sustainable development is underdeveloped. In a response to that critique, the CDM Executive Board (EB) upon request of the CMP launched a process to develop a voluntary tool to highlight the co-benefits of CDM project activities. In November 2012, at its 70th session, the EB finally approved the Sustainable Development tool (SD tool).

Still, the SD tool in its current form faces a number of weaknesses that limit its usefulness for meaningful assessment of the impacts on Sustainable Development a CDM project may have. In order to identify such possible shortcomings, and to develop structured recommendations on how to improve the tool, the German Environment Agency (UBA) tasked the Wuppertal Institute and UNEP DTU Partnership (formerly UNEP Risoe Center) with conducting the research project „Evaluation and development of recommendations on the CDM EB’s sustainable development tool including the sustainability requirements of other flexible mechanisms“.

This paper reports on the project’s second work package, which consists of a literature review and interviews with selected host country governments, project developers and a buyer perspective on the usability of the EB’s SD tool. The first work package covered the assessment and comparison of the SD provisions of selected flexible mechanisms and multilateral standards. In the final step, the project team will discuss pro’s and con’s of the EB’s SD Tool and make recommendations for improvement.


Olsen, K., Fenhann, J., Hinostroza, M., Arens, C., Mersmann, F., Beuermann, C., Rudolph, F.: Assessing Usefulness - Do Stakeholders Regard the CDM’s SD Tool as Practical?. UNEP DTU Partnership & Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy. Copenhagen/Wuppertal - 34 p., 2 tables.

Date: July 2015
Type: Study