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Issue 3
, 2007
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UN agencies boost ties to fight poverty, protect environment in Africa, Asia

Source: UNEP, Date: , 2007

Just days after a landmark United Nations report showed unequivocally that the world is warming due to human activities, the two main UN agencies focusing on the environment and poverty today committed themselves to working closer than ever in helping developing countries integrate sound environmental policies into their economic strategies.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) launched the joint Poverty and Environment Facility in Nairobi, Kenya with the aim of expanding the world body's environmental work around the world, especially in Africa and Asia, UNEP said in a press release.

"Eliminating poverty and hunger and protecting the environment are inseparable. That is why the environment has to be the concern of the whole UN family," said UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis speaking in Nairobi.

Achim Steiner, UNEP's Executive Director, said: "This announcement sends a further clear and unequivocal message that underlines UNEP and UNDP's determination to work together not just in the spirit of UN reform but in concrete, action-orientated, ways to support our Member States."

The strengthened relationship between the two UN agencies will be practically applied across a wide range of issues. In a few months time, for example, under the UNDP-UNEP Climate Partnership, five nations in Sub-Saharan Africa will claim a greater stake in their environmental future with the help of a new joint project designed to help poorer countries navigate the Kyoto Protocol™s Clean Development Mechanism.

That Mechanism is a market-based system under which developed countries can earn emissions credits by financing projects in developing countries that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The need for more cooperation on climate change has been heightened following last week's assessment by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that changes in the atmosphere, the oceans and glaciers and ice caps show unequivocally that the world is warming.

"The IPCC report released on Friday paints a stark, scientific reality of climate change – things are not going to get better," warned Mr. Dervis. "This is not just about protecting the future of our children, because for the poor – who are the most exposed to the elements and most directly dependent on the natural world – the fut῵re has already arrived.

Mr Steiner pointed out that the Mechanism is set to generate billions of dollars of investment in clean and green energy technologies. "Currently the lion's share of these investments is being secured by the rapidly developing countries," he said. "It is vital that other developing countries get a fair share which is the primary goal of this new initiative.