Nairobi, 15 November 2006 --A bold new global initiative to secure a greater share of the international carbon finance market for the world’s poorest countries was announced today by two UN agencies at the climate convention talks in Nairobi.
The partnership between the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is in direct response to the urgent request from leaders in developing countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, for assistance in coping with the climate change that is affecting them now and will increasingly affect them for years to come.
The aim is to provide assistance to reduce the vulnerability of poor countries and communities in the face of climate change, including those in the sub-Saharan region, and ‘climate proof’ their economies in areas from infrastructure development to agriculture and health.
It is also in response to the need to build the capacity of countries to participate in emerging carbon finance funds such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol.
The partnership constitutes UNDP’s and UNEP’s contribution to the Nairobi Framework for directing specific assistance to increasing sub-Saharan Africa’s access to the CDM.
Both agencies recognize that the livelihoods of millions of people will be placed in jeopardy by climate change and that the global efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals will be in vain.
One aim of the partnership is to provide a rapid response to requests by governments trying to factor climate change impacts into infrastructure projects and other vulnerable areas of economic life.
The partnership, under the banner “Helping countries achieve sustainable development in the face of a changing climate”, reflects renewed commitment by both agencies to echo to the spirit of the UN Secretary-General’s reform agenda aimed at making the UN system as a whole more effective and streamlined.
Achim Steiner, a UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: “Investments in roads, railways, hospitals, fisheries and power systems are underway across the sub-Saharan African region but few if any are being planned with future climatic impacts in mind”.
“Some of these projects, for example a new dam, may be increasingly vulnerable as a result of more intense droughts whereas others—for example a coastal road scheme—may be at risk from sea level rise,” he added.
“We need in-depth studies and national adaptation plans but we also need a rapid response service so that a minister, faced with a planning application, can pick up the phone and have ‘climate proofing’ expertise on his or her door step within a matter of days,” said Mr Steiner.
Olav Kjørven, Director of UNDP’s Energy and Environment Group, said: “Carbon finance funds like those from the CDM of the Kyoto Protocol are now flowing from the industrialized nations to support cleaner and renewable energy projects in the developing world such as wind, solar, micro-hydro and fuel-switching schemes”.
“The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) estimates that over the coming years billions of dollars will be flowing, representing new chances for sustainable development in the developing world,” he added.
“However it is no secret that, to date, only a few countries in sub-Sahran Africa are likely to benefit from the CDM in the coming years. Most other countries in the region are shut out for a variety of financial and technical reasons. We aim to change this so that sub-Saharan Africa and other poor countries can have their fair share of carbon finance,” added Kjorven.
Under the UNDP-UNEP partnership, which has secured pledges for funding from Spain and other prospective European donors, two main areas will be addressed:
- To reduce the climate vulnerability of the poor and to build their resilience to the effects of climate change
- To enhance the capacity of both public and private sector in sub-Saharan Africa and other countries to successfully access the CDM
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