CDM vs. NAMAs and how Arab Countries can Benefit

Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) was first introduced at the 13th Conference of the Parties in Bali, Indonesia in 2007.  It was agreed to initiate them 2 years later during climate negotiations in Copenhagen under paragraph 5 of the Copenhagen accord.  NAMAs are a set of policies and actions set by a government that will contribute to greenhouse gas reduction.  There are two types of NAMAs, unilateral NAMAs and supported NAMAs.  The former are action plans that are implemented using domestic finances and resources, and the later are action plans that implemented with the help of foreign aid.  The table below summarizes the main differences between CDM and NAMA:

Project Based Any action that reduces GHG emission
CDM has two goals of sustainable development and GHG reduction Main goal to curb GHG emissions however all actions are meant to be in line the development goals of the country
Projects driven by various actors with the sole purpose to abate GHG gasses to produce carbon credits for carbon markets Policies designed by governments that don’t necessarily result in credits
Need to prove additionality Do not need to prove additonality
Strict set monitoring, reporting and verification guidelines Guidelines are not set but vary depending on the action plan


NAMAs have been designed with the pros and cons of CDM in mind.  The 2 goals of the CDM have been modified, all plans should be consistent with the country’s development goals.  As a result, the priorities of NAMAs are clearer than CDMs’.  The flexible rules and departure from only project-based activities to offset the production of greenhouse gas emissions will result in more options for the host country.  This will especially be beneficial for countries with a low mitigation potential such as many Arab countries.

NAMA Stages

There are 4 stages of NAMA development:

  1. Feasibility Study – A feasibility study for a NAMA that is still not implemented by the government
  2. Concept Stage – Country will identify the NAMA sector and specific mitigation objective
  3. Proposal/Planning Stage – The country will draft a proposal which includes: cost estimate, support needed, estimated GHG emission mitigation, types of activities to be conducted, and a time frame
  4. Implementation Stage – Plan implemented

Following the climate negotiations in Copenhagen only 3 Arab countries submitted information on the NAMAs that they intend to implement in accordance with paragraph 5 of the Copenhagen accord.  Those countries were Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia[1].  There are 20 NAMAs and feasibility studies in the Arab world from Tunisia, Libya, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco.  9 of the plans are in the feasibility study stage, 9 at the concept stage, 1 at the proposal stage, and 1 at the implementation stage.  Tunisia has a solar plan in the proposal stage, and Jordan has one waste water plan at the implementation stage.  9 out of the 20 plans are from Jordan, the rest of the countries have 1-3 plans.  Compared to the rest of the world the Arab world is still lagging, from 34 countries there are 106 NAMAs and feasibility studies.  The plans in the Arab world cover various areas; the following graph summarizes which areas the NAMAs are covering[2]:


Over 50% of the plans deal with energy supply and demand.

1% of the CDM projects were from the Arab world; 18% of the NAMAs are from the Arab world.  Comparing these two numbers are quite misleading, first of all NAMAs are still in the beginning, and the Arab percentage could get much lower in the coming years.  45% of the NAMA plans come from Jordan, without Jordan’s plans the Arab world would only have 10% plans, however none of these plans would be at the implementation stage.  So far with the exception of Jordan it seems Arab countries are not very interested in committing to such programs.  The GCC countries (including Qatar the host of the 2012 Climate Change Conference) which account for of the highest GHG emissions per capita in the world do not have one plan.





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