Thursday, 19 March 2015

Capabilities and the clash on contexts: An exploration into the skills development component of the Kuyasa clean development mechanism project in South Africa

  • Year: 2015
  • Organisation: TIPS
  • Author(s): Anna James

Policy interventions at national and international scales are driving efforts to simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide sustainable socio-economic improvements. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is one such policy instrument implemented through the Kyoto Protocol under the international climate change regime. Questions remain particularly around how socio-economic development can be achieved and, more importantly, how these policy approaches play out on the ground in the lives of those they affect.

This paper presents a case study, focusing on the impact of a skills development component of the Kuyasa CDM project, in Cape Town, South Africa. It investigates two specific aspects of the project, highlighting challenges for CDM projects to achieve their desired socio-economic outcomes. Findings indicate that formal accreditation is not, in all cases, found to be beneficial to the lives of those living in Kuyasa. At the same time, many benefits are drawn from the experience of productive work but these are not acknowledged. Implications for expectation management and more appropriate interventions are outlined, including understanding the multi-dimensional impact of the experience of training and employment. Finally, reflections are provided on how CDM projects could contribute to effective skills development.

This paper falls under the TIPS Small Grant Research Papers annual Peet du Plooy Small Grant for Sustainability, launched in 2013, given for economic research on issues pertaining to the green economy and climate change.