Monday, January 6, 2014


What is KCCMP?  No, not an acronym of a former Soviet Republic, but it is the acronym for what has brought us here to Kazakhstan.

I (Robyn) am helping to launch a new Kazakhstan climate change mitigation program (KCCMP). This is a three-year program funded by the U.S. international development agency to do three things:  1) support the government of Kazakhstan in implementing their new trading scheme for greenhouse gas emissions, 2) help the business community in Kazakhstan be able to comply with the new green economy regulations, and 3) develop training programs to dramatically increase the number of energy efficiency experts.

Kazakhstan has two measures intended to help improve their economic & environmental performance.  The first is a Law on Energy Savings that sets energy efficiency standards.  The current energy generation fleet  is mostly Soviet-era coal-fired power plants now coming to the end of their designed life and there are regular power shortages in the south (not often in the north where we are as most of the power is generated here).  The second is a Green Economy Concept intended to promote sustainable economic development through a variety of measures, but including a carbon market. Part of our work is to help companies be able to successfully meet the reporting and performance requirements of these two laws that include some overlapping obligations.

A number of donors are providing support in Kazakhstan including the German government, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Development Bank, as well as the Norwegian Government. My new program is the largest to date, and thus part of our role is to coordinate the support of the various donors.

The program director is called the Chief of Party, and I am the Deputy Chief of Party.  We have a relatively small team - we will be eight people when we are fully staffed.  Currently there are six of us including the Chief of Party, me, a local economist, an energy efficiency expert, the office manager and our driver.  In addition, we will also have a number of experts who will spend several months each year working on the project including energy efficiency experts & trainers, economists & policy analysts, and carbon market specialists.

I'll share more as our work progresses. At this point I'm trying to get a handle on a new company, a new country & culture, a new language, and a new client with very specific requirements.  This involves reading the local laws, talking to local companies and service providers who are trying to comply with the regulations, talking to other donors, learning from my colleagues, my counterparts in the government here, and generally getting a sense of what my top priorities should be.  I've signed a one-year contract, although it seems like there's flexibility should we want to stay longer; we will see how it goes.

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