Under the Venture, the UN Partners Take Practical Steps to Help African Nations Tackle Climate Change
Nairobi, 6 February 2007 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Environment Programme (UNEP) cemented the bond between fighting poverty and protecting the environment today by launching the joint Poverty and Environment Facility in Nairobi during the twenty fourth session of the UNEP Governing Council.
The Facility, one of the first concrete examples of UN Reform in action, is designed to help developing countries to integrate sound environment management into their poverty reduction and growth policies. It will play a central role in expanding the UN’s environmental work around the world, with an emphasis on Africa and Asia.
"Eliminating poverty and hunger and protecting the environment are inseparable," said UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis speaking in Nairobi. "That is why the environment has to be the concern of the whole UN family," he said.
Achim Steiner, UNEP’s Executive Director, said:” This announcement sends a further clear and unequivocal message that underlines UNEP and UNDP’s determination to work together not just in the spirit of UN reform but in concrete, action-orientated, ways ro support our member states”.
The strengthened relationship between the two UN bodies will be practically applied across a wide range of issues. In a few months time , for example, under the UNDP-UNEP Climate Partnership, five nations in Sub-Saharan Africa will claim a greater stake in their environmental future with the help of a new joint project designed to help poorer countries to navigate the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The CDM is a market-based mechanism that allows developed countries to earn emissions credits by financing projects in developing countries that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The new project, supported by the governments of Spain and Sweden, is set to begin work in Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and a fifth African country yet to be determined in the coming months. Though it will initially operate on a small scale, it has the potential to expand to include more countries and regions.
The need for more cooperation on climate change is heightened in the wake of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) assessment that changes in the atmosphere, the oceans and glaciers and ice caps show unequivocally that the world is warming, according to UNDP and UNEP.
“The IPCC report released on Friday paints a stark, scientific reality of climate change – things are not going to get better. This is not just about protecting the future of our children, because for the poor - who are the most exposed to the elements and most directly dependent on the natural world - the future has already arrived,” said Dervis.
“If we do not work together to help developing countries to protect their environment and adapt to climate change then we are, quite literally, leaving them to sink or swim,” he said.
Mr Steiner added:” The CDM is set to generate billions of dollars of investment in clean and green energy technologies. Currently the lion’s share of these investments is being secured by the rapidly developing countries. It is vital that other developing countries get a fair share which is the primary goal of this new initiative”.
The Climate Partnership and the new Poverty and Environment Facility are complementary ventures under the umbrella of strengthened cooperation between UNDP and UNEP. The Poverty and Environment Facility will focus on improving environmental management and attracting more investment in the environment, while the Climate Partnership will endeavour to equip developing countries with better capacity to tackle the challenges posed by climate change.
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