Requirements for a Programme of Activities
A Programme of Activities (PoA) must be directed at coordinating and implementing a "policy/measure or stated goal". No definition is provided for these terms. However, the Executive Board has explicitly referred to "incentive schemes" and "voluntary programmes" in its definition of a PoA (CDM Glossary v.6).
In general, project activities under a PoA must demonstrate real, additional and measurable emission reductions or removals attributable to the PoA:
Pursuant to paragraph 20 of decision 7/CMP.1, project activities under a programme of activities (PoA) can be registered as a single clean development mechanism project activity provided that approved baseline and monitoring methodologies are used that... ensure that the emission reductions or net anthropogenic removals by sinks are real, measurable and verifiable and additional to any that would occur in the absence of the project activity (EB 55, Annex 38, paragraph 1).
More information on the additionality requirement for PoAs is available here.
Requirements of the policy, measure or stated goal
There are no restrictions on the content of a policy/measure or stated goal, other than that action taken to achieve it must result in GHG emission reductions or net anthropogenic greenhouse gas removals by sinks which are additional to any that would occur in the absence of the PoA (EB 55, Annex 38, paragraph 4).
Who can establish a policy, measure or stated goal?
Annex 38 of the report of EB 55 provides that the coordinating/managing entity (CME), in developing the PoA design document, must include a description of the policy/measure or stated goal that the PoA seeks to promote. Insofar that the requirement is one of description, as opposed to identification (e.g. of a pre-set policy/measure or stated goal), there is no requirement for PoAs to be connected to a policy or standard set by government.
Mandatory policies and measures
The requirement that a PoA be a "voluntary action by the coordinating/managing entity" means that in general it is not possible to register a PoA where a mandatory policy or regulation requires the entity to undertake the actions involved and that mandatory standard or policy is enforced. However, where the mandatory policy or regulation is systematically not enforced then the PoA may be deemed additional. Further information on this issue is available here.