UNDP unveils programme to boost developing countries' ability to offer basic services

6 June 2002 – With government officials still working in Bali to hammer out a final action plan and political declaration for the upcoming World Summit for Sustainable Development, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today unveiled a new initiative for countries striving to meet global targets for cutting poverty by 2015.

Known as "Capacity 2015," the project aims to support nations in improving their ability to meet the goals set at the 2000 Millennium Summit in New York. The scheme provides a flexible, service-oriented platform to address a diverse range of capacity development needs, including nurturing healthy economies and environments and bringing practical support to communities, while linking their efforts to national and global initiatives, according to UNDP.

"Real improvements in managing water, energy and biological resources, health services and sanitation, must happen at the local level, [but] local actors will need national and global support to achieve their goals," UNDP said in a statement released in Bali, where more than 4,500 delegates are gathered for the final preparatory meeting for the Summit, which will be held from 26 August to 4 September in Johannesburg, South Africa.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has named water and sanitation, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity as key areas of focus for the Summit.

Meanwhile, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Louise Fréchette, today participated in the political launch of a recent UN report that looks at policies and environmental affects of the past 30 years and outlines approaches for the coming three decades.

The Global Environment Outlook-3 (GEO-3), the Deputy Secretary-General said, paints a picture that is "not pretty" and shows that the environment is seriously at risk because of the burdens being placed on it.

"GEO-3 warns us that we can no longer blindly trust in the regenerative capacity of the planet's ecosystems," she said. "Even in the best-case scenario, conditions will continue to worsen for several decades in a number of areas."

The preparations in Bali for the Johannesburg Summit afforded delegates an opportunity to focus on practical responses, the Deputy Secretary-General stressed. "It would be disastrous to sit back and ignore the picture that GEO-3 has painted for us," she said. "Let us resolve to translate the vision that GEO-3 offers us into reality."

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