Helen Clark: UN Climate Neutral Participation at Rio +20 through South-South Cooperation

21 Jun 2012

Remarks by Helen Clark UNDP Administrator
UN Climate Neutral Participation at Rio +20 through South-South Cooperation
Rio de Janeiro, 21 June 2012, 7pm

Excellencies,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to join you tonight at this event which highlights the climate neutral participation of the UN delegation at Rio+20.

I would like to begin by congratulating the Office of the President of the General Assembly and the Special Unit for South-South Co-operation – hosted by UNDP – for their leadership in this emissions offsetting initiative, which is a good example of how the UN is committed to contribute to a greener and more sustainable world.

I also thank UNDP’s Bureau for development Policy and the South-South Gate for their indispensable role in making this happen.

Not only am I pleased that through this initiative, the UN is walking the talk when it comes to protecting our environment, but also that the Clean Development Mechanism project being supported is a prime example of a “triple win” approach to sustainable development – a project which not only is viable for the environment, but also advances economic and social goals. UNDP has advocated for the outcome of Rio+20 to strongly support these kinds of approaches as an excellent way to advance sustainable development.

Achieving sustainable development will require each of us to consider the impact of our production and consumption patterns, not only here at Rio, but also to make real changes to the way we work. 

With a presence in 177 countries and territories, UNDP works with governments, civil society, and private sector to build inclusive, prosperous, and greener societies.

Throughout our work, we advise our partners not to pursue economic, social, and environmental objectives as competing goals, but rather to treat them as interconnected and mutually reinforcing objectives. We strongly believe that this holistic, integrated approach is the path towards empowered lives, resilient nations, and a sustainable future.  

What we ask of others, however, we must also do ourselves.

UNDP is therefore strongly committed to lead by example and green our own operations.

This includes monitoring the environmental footprint of our work and taking actions toward substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

At headquarters, for instance, we have adopted a strategy to reduce our emissions by 35 per cent over five years and have committed to buy Gold Standard Certified Emission Reductions to offset our remaining emissions to achieve full climate neutrality.

One of our regional offices, in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, already achieved climate neutrality in 2011 and similar greening initiatives are currently being developed in fifteen other UNDP offices worldwide.

We are also incorporating environmental consideration into our operations on the ground, and are revising our operational frameworks and guidelines to that effect.

And we will strive to always do better.

In conclusion, allow me to reiterate how pleased I am with the launch of this wonderful initiative, which shows that the UN is committed to promoting sustainable development in what we do.

Congratulations.

Leadership
Helen

Helen Clark became the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme on 17 April 2009, and is the first woman to lead the organization. She is also the Chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of the heads of all UN funds, programmes and departments working on development issues.

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