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UN-backed carbon forum helps Africa profit from greenhouse gas offset scheme

UN-backed carbon forum helps Africa profit from greenhouse gas offset scheme

Three days of deal-making and networking wrapped up today at the United Nations-backed Africa Carbon Forum in Senegal, aimed at improving the continent’s standing in the global carbon marketplace.

Under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), industrialized countries can offset some of their own greenhouse gas emissions to earn certified emission reduction credits.

Some 600 participants from 60 countries attended the Carbon Forum in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, including 36 government representatives responsible for initial approval of emissions offset projects.

In one deal completed at the Forum, the World Bank entered into an agreement with a local agency to spread the use of energy–efficient light bulbs through rural Senegal.

At the same time, several African countries pledged $20 million to go towards the Africa Bio-fuels and Renewable Energy Fund, a public/private sector partnership tasked with assessing carbon offset projects.

“Much remains to be done in the form of awareness-raising and capacity-building before African countries can take full advantage of the CDM, but progress is being made, and we saw it here,” said Daniele Violetti of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The continent still accounts for only 27 of the more than 1,150 CDM projects currently registered in nearly 50 developing nations, but that number is expected to grow.