UNDP chief hails nations for commitment to action on poverty, climate change

UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis

4 December 2008 – The head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has commended the resolve of the more than160 countries who met for a global finance meeting, which wrapped up recently in Doha, Qatar, to address the triple crisis posed by economic turmoil, far-reaching poverty and climate change.

The four-day UN gathering ended on 2 December with a declaration in which nations affirmed that the commitment made at the 2002 landmark global partnership agreement for development in Monterrey, Mexico, for developed countries to devote 0.7 per cent of their gross national product (GNP) to ODA must be maintained, despite the current financial crisis.

“We must treat these crises as common rather than separate challenges,” said UNDP Administrator Kemal Derviş, noting that boosting public spending can simultaneously propel economic recovery and positive action on climate change.

He is currently in Poznan, Poland, where the latest round of UN climate change talks seeking to reach agreement on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012, are under way.

“At the same time, a global climate deal that establishes an effective carbon market and price of carbon, as well as mechanisms for resource flows to developing countries would generate significant financing for green growth and poverty reduction,” the Administrator said.

Emphasizing the UN’s role in helping countries address the interconnected crises, he said that UNDP, which “invests in the ‘how’ of development,” will carry on helping nations ‘green’ their economies, cope with uncertainty and take measures to slash poverty.

Meanwhile, a UN independent expert said the Doha meeting missed a crucial opportunity to restructure the international debt framework and address the impact of development policies on human rights, a United Nations independent expert said today.

“Financing for development is a matter of human rights,” which should supersede other agreements States enter into, said Cephas Lumina, Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights.

The lack of political will is exacerbating the problem, he said, pointing out that creditor countries have spent hundreds of billions of dollars bailing out their banks which have acted irresponsibility, but have not found similar funds to tackle the debt crisis, which has impacted developing nations for decades.

Mr. Lumina voiced regret that the Doha talks did not view economic policy making through the lens of human rights, as the two issues are “profoundly interconnected.”


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