Canadian provinces join UNDP to combat climate change

Jun 26, 2009

What do the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Manitoba, the Spanish region of Catalonia, the French regions of Midi-Pyrénées and l’Ile-de-France, the Assembly of European Regions and the United Nations Development Programme all have in common?  They have joined forces, resources and energies to combat climate change at the local and regional levels.  The latest addition of the two Canadian provinces to this growing network of local and regional authorities was sealed at a signing on Friday in the Belgian capital of Brussels when the Premiers of Québec and Manitoba, Jean Charest and Gary Doer announced their adhesion to the UNDP progamme.

Christophe Nuttal, director of the UNDP’s Geneva-based HUB for Innovative Partnerships, said this new alliance has emerged from an acknowledged role of federal states and regions in the fight against climate change.  “Despite current efforts, the continued greenhouse gas emissions are increasing global warming and severely affecting the ecosystem,” he said.  While the intergovernmental process from Kyoto and leading to Copenhagen next December is an important one, we also believe that  regional and local governments have a lot to offer – and may in fact be critical if we are turn the climate change challenge around.”

Cecile Molinier, director of UNDP’s Liaison Office in Geneva, said regional and territorial governments represent an essential tier with regard to good governance and effective development planning. “It is for this reason that most United Nations bodies are working in partnership with sub-national levels and are appealing for their voices to be heard within the framework of intergovernmental negotiations. We feel that a territorial approach to development allows us to better grasp the concerns and priorities of the people who are most likely to be affected the most by a changing climate.”

Michèle Sabban, president of the Assembly of European Regions echoed Nuttall’s views, adding that, “in view of the scale of the task before us, we can conclude that this is an emergency: everything must be done to bring regions together in the fight against climate change, especially when considering that the Copenhagen Summit is only six months ahead of us.  Sabban also said she hopes the agreement signed by Quebec and Manitoba with UNDP will trigger many others.

Jean Charest, Quebec’s prime minister, said he was glad the role played by federal states and regions in the fight against climate change was acknowledged by the United Nations. “It is through our public policies and the course of our responsibilities in the field of energy, land settlement and transport that we can make a difference and spark a change in the right direction,” he said.

Contact Information Adam Rogers
Strategic Communications Adviser
1-13 chemin des Anémones
1219 Châtelaine, Geneva
Tel.: 41-22 917 85 41; 917 85 42
Fax: 41-22 917 80 05

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