"The clean development mechanism (CDM) is a project-based mechanism that allows industrialized countries to meet part of their emission reduction targets by investing in developing countries. The Marrakech Accords launched the CDM in principle, with the Kyoto Protocol entering into force on 16 February 2005. CDM rules require developing countries to set up a designated national authority (DNA). CDM offices (as the DNAs are also known) must approve projects in the host country, including ascertaining that they meet national sustainable development objectives. Various institutional models for CDM offices are explored in this article. Given the resource constraints of most host countries, it is critical that DNAs are created in a cost-effective manner. This article outlines the broad objectives of instituting a CDM programme, including necessary elements for CDM institutions and key outputs. It proposes that institutional models must be appropriate to the context of developing countries, and examines several institutional models. For African countries, a central issue is the amount of investment that CDM can attract."