Helen Clark: Third World Climate Conference, Geneva

03 Sep 2009

Remarks by Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
On the occasion of the Third World Climate Conference High-level Segment
Thursday, 3 September 2009, Geneva

This conference on the need to improve climate prediction and information for decision making is both timely and important.

From a development perspective, climate variability and change threaten to undermine progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

The challenge is to bring climate variability and change considerations into the core of development strategies, so that the way we live and grow is in balance with the ecosystem of our planet.

That includes investing in low carbon routes to development.  But we must also invest in risk management to build resilience to the impact of climate variability and change.

It is estimated that up to forty per cent of development investment from ODA and concessional lending is sensitive to climate risk.  Thus, if climate risk management is not part of national development strategies, we risk wasting scarce resources on initiatives which are not climate proofed.

In order to manage effectively the climate risks which confront us, we need good information.  At UNDP we are committed to supporting capacity building and institutional strengthening in developing countries, so that they too have access to timely and accurate information which can inform strategies for managing climate risk.

With respect to climate change, those who are bearing the brunt of its effects are those who can least afford to do so, and who have done the least, if anything at all, to cause the problem.

Developed nations, which also feel the impact, have the resources to fund adaptation.  But the poorest and most vulnerable countries will need significant support for adaptation which goes above and beyond existing levels of official development assistance.  That is why the new climate agreement being negotiated must also be a deal for development.

UNDP is already heavily involved in climate risk management. We want to increase the support we can give to the least developed countries and to small island states in particular.

With the support of WMO and other partners, UNDP has developed a methodology to support developing countries to analyse their climate outlook; recognize the impacts on human development; and identify risk management priorities which are based on the best available scientific evidence.

Based on this analysis, countries can then more effectively target resources where they are needed most to protect development.

The proposed Global Framework for Climate Services which is before this conference for discussion has the full support of UNDP.  We pledge to work with other agencies to support its development, and with developing countries to build capacity to predict and assess climate risk in future.