Nairobi, 26 November 2002 - A big vote of confidence in the work of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was given today by the Government of the Netherlands which announced a significant increase in its funding to the UN body.
The increased funding, targeted at five key areas, also marks a new departure for one of UNEP's key backers. It explicitly recognizes the organization's role in not only conserving and protecting the environment but in reducing poverty and delivering sustainable development.
Klaus Toepfer, UNEP's Executive Director, said at a signing ceremony in Nairobi that he hoped that other key donors would also recognize the vital development role of the organization when they consider their future funding strategies.
The new Dutch funds, covering a period of three years starting in December 2002, are aimed at the areas of environment law, environmental assessment, urbanisation, energy and water.
Significantly, UNEP has been given a great deal of flexibility in how it uses the extra money, growing from 2.4 million Euros to $6.5 million Euros within three years. This again underscores growing confidence in the organization's ability to deliver its work activities in an efficient, timely and creative way.
Mr Toepfer said:" I sincerely hope and believe that this extra backing from the Netherlands will be the beginning of more and similar partnerships between ourselves and donors. The Dutch have made the intellectual and philosophical leap from the environment as an isolated issue to one that is fundamental in the fight against poverty. It recognizes that Environment for Development, UNEP's new motto, is crucial in the pursuit of a healthier, fairer and more prosperous world for all".
"The additional funding will strengthen the organization making it better placed to fulfil its existing roles and the new responsibilities given it in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, agreed at the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)," he said.
Tanya Van Gool, the new Dutch ambassador in Kenya and Permanent Representative to UNEP, said:" My country has been a long term supporter and friend of UNEP. The five areas identified are priority areas for us, especially water. Indeed UNEP's Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA) is actually based in the Hague. Over recent months, we have been scrutinizing the organization's activities in the light of the existing and new challenges the world, and particularly the developing world, faces. These challenges are formidable but we believe UNEP has demonstrated over the past few years that it is up to the task and that with additional funds it can and will do even more in delivering prosperity for all".
She re-affirmed the position of the Dutch Government as underlined by ministers: "Poverty is about more than wanting a full stomach and a roof over your head. And poverty reduction is about more than satisfying the basic need for education and health care. Effective poverty reduction must be based on a broad, integrated approach to poverty".
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UNEP News Release 2002/84