Clean Development Mechanism: Exploring the Gender Dimensions of Climate Finance Mechanisms

Established by the Kyoto Protocol, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has two concurrent objectives: to reduce emissions and promote sustainable development. A market-based mechanism, the CDM generates funds through investments in emissions-reduction projects in developing countries. Upon successful implementation, these projects are issued credits known as Certified Emission Reductions (CERs). These CERs are tradable on the carbon market and can be bought and sold to help Annex I countries meet their emission-reduction commitments under the Protocol.

Though both men and women benefit from increased energy access, women’s traditional roles as energy providers, water gatherers and household caretakers mean that the benefits of improved access to energy accrue particularly to women — so long as their needs and perspectives are considered in a project’s planning and implementation. Access to modern and Clean Development
Mechanism exploring the gender dimensions of climate finance mechanismsclean forms of energy has the power to lessen the amount of time women spend on unpaid care work, making time
for more productive activities, such as education, cottage industries or jobs outside the home. Furthermore, the switch to cleaner energy often has important health benefits, such as alleviating the strenuous work of fuel wood collection and reducing exposure to indoor air pollution, which kills 1.6 million people — mostly women and children — each year.

Little research has been done on the gendered impacts of the CDM, making it impossible to discern the precise degree to which current projects have impacted women and men differently. Nonetheless, a review of project design documents suggests that the large-scale, industrial projects that have garnered the majority of CERs issued to date have provided few direct benefits to women. This has resulted from a number of contributing factors, many of which are relevant not only to women but also to poor and marginalized communities as a whole. 

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