Our Perspectives

Collaboration must be at the heart of climate action and sustainable development


 UNDO UNDP Administrator Helen Clark visits a fair organized by the Small Grants Programme of the Global Environment Facility and UNDP at the COP20 in Lima, Peru. (Photo: UNDP/Peru)

We have unprecedented opportunities – now and in 2015 – to strengthen co-operation on tackling climate change.

On the one hand current climate change talks in Lima should advance negotiations on the new global climate deal, to be agreed in Paris at the end of 2015.

On the other hand, discussions are currently taking place at the UN in New York for a “post-2015” development agenda, in which tackling environmental degradation will be prominent. Also, at Sendai in Japan next March, the UN 3rd World Conference on Disaster Reduction will address issues directly related to adaptation to climate change.

These are crucial opportunities, since climate change poses a pressing challenge for advancing poverty reduction in developing countries. Also, the most recent report by the international scientific advisory panel on climate change, known as the IPCC, reminds us that the poorest and most vulnerable people bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change.

Meeting this challenge head on will require collaboration across the public and private sectors and the full engagement of civil society and indigenous peoples. From my work as Administrator of UNDP, an organization which supports more than 140 countries to design and implement their own solutions to climate change, I know how important the role of public finance is in supporting the development of good policy and the institutional and budgetary frameworks which will enable countries to access loans and investment in the transition to a green economy and society. Institutions need to be strong, and financial management must be transparent.

In Uruguay, for example, in partnership with the Global Environment Facility, UNDP has supported the Government to put in place a policy framework for independent power producers in the wind energy sector. This means lower retail tariffs for consumers, investment opportunities for the private sector, and a reliable source of low emission energy that helps countries in their low carbon development path.

The transformative role the private sector can play also contributes to addressing climate change and poverty reduction at the global level. At the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit this year, UNDP facilitated more than 170 governments, companies, civil society organisations and indigenous communities to endorse the New York Declaration on Forests aiming to cut the loss of natural forests in half by 2020, and to end it a decade later.  Agribusiness giants such as Cargill and Wilmar have adopted zero deforestation policies with immediate effect, and the consumer goods industry as a whole has pledged zero deforestation by 2020.

Partnerships like these, developed with the involvement of all stakeholders, can deliver transformational change to promote sustainable development and prosperity.

In 2015, we must use all available opportunities to deepen and expand collaboration which will scale-up proven approaches to low carbon, climate-resilient development and catalyze the innovations which will help build a more sustainable world for us all.


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