An Afforestation and Reforestation Clean Development Mechanism (A/R CDM) project is a forest conservation project that involves global, national and local actors. The interests and expectations of these actors are different. They have different levels of knowledge and financial as well as technological capacities influencing the project outcomes. There is a clear power asymmetry among these partners and this will have an impact on planning and implementation.
The purpose of this study is to explore the interactions among the local, national and global actors and understand their influence over the outcomes in a project in Southwestern Ethiopia. Applying qualitative methods of inquiry, this study highlights the gap between the rhetoric and practical outcomes of A/R CDM conservation efforts. The conservation outcomes have been markedly reflective of the underlying inequalities of local, national and international actors. In effect, the agendas and interests of the powerful actors become the core element of resource management. The CDM objectives relate to addressing the environmental demands of the developed world and economic needs of developing nations, but these interests are treated differently both in theory and practice. In practice the content of participation of local stakeholders and the benefits they will get out of such conservation are pre-determined at the global level. The local actors have a peripheral role both in the planning and implementation of the project.