Over the past few days, many Parties have acknowledged the need for greater public participation in the UNFCCC process – now it is time to translate words into actions. Parties are currently negotiating who should have the right to appeal against decisions of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Executive Board.
ECO was quite content with the CMP5 mandate to establish procedures for considering appeals from “stakeholders directly involved” in the design, approval or implementation of CDM activities or proposed CDM activities. Why? Because obviously, such an appeals procedure would be available to indigenous peoples and local communities that are adversely affected (displacement, loss of livelihood) and civil society groups that monitor CDM projects. Duh! Of course, the thought of adversely affected communities having the right to appeal a project scared the heck out of project developers. They put their lobbying machine into high gear to push for the exclusion of civil society by limiting the appeals procedure to project developers with rejected projects!
Since its inception the CDM has come under intense criticism for violating the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities affected by CDM projects. Now the CDM has an opportunity to be more accountable, by developing an appeals procedure that gives civil society (and most importantly, directly affected peoples and communities) a voice. ECO is dismayed by the fact that this is even being questioned.
At a moment when Parties are considering denying project-affected peoples and communities the right to appeal flawed CDM projects, ECO believes that it is time for a quick reality check. For example, indigenous peoples and local communities (clearly the stakeholders with the most to lose) often complain that they are not properly consulted as part of the local stakeholder consultation, a legal requirement in the CDM validation process. And they have absolutely no recourse. Excluding these directly affected stakeholders from the appeals procedure would deny them their human rights to public participation and access to justice. But what ́s worse, it would create further opportunities for gaming, fraud, and corruption by project participants, and disincentives to promote compliance with the CDM procedures.
To help ensure that social and environmental impacts of CDM projects are effectively addressed, ECO insists that it is essential to include indigenous peoples, local communities, and civil society groups in the definition of “stakeholders directly involved” in CDM activities. This is not an invitation to a flood of appeals against every single CDM project. This is a call for a legitimate process that provides a means of recourse in cases where rules related to environmental integrity and public participation were breached, or DOEs or project participants have violated the CDM rules. My dear delegates, this is a call for justice.