Ban commends successes of mine action, calls for more support to eradicate explosives threat

4 April 2015 – As the world marks the 10th anniversary of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action today, the United Nations Secretary-General pointed to a decade of much progress in efforts towards eradicating the threat of anti-personnel landmines.

A total of 162 States were now Parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and the UN was playing a vital role in freeing the world from the threat of mines and explosive remnants of war and meeting the needs of victims and survivors and ensuring their human rights.

&#8220Last year alone, the United Nations destroyed more than 400,000 landmines and explosive remnants of war and more than 2,000 tons of obsolete ammunition,&#8221 said Ban Ki-moon in a message to mark the International Day, which noted that the UN had also verified more than 1,500 kilometres of roadways, provided mine risk education to millions of people and trained thousands of military and police officers to handle and safely dispose of explosive hazards.

&#8220I commend all who contributed to this success,&#8221 he said. &#8220However, women, girls, boys and men continue to fall victim to landmines laid decades ago in places such as Afghanistan and Cambodia, and I am alarmed that these indiscriminate weapons are still being used in conflicts today.&#8221

Civilians were also exposed to an increasingly wide range of explosive hazards, going beyond mines to cluster munitions, unsafe and unsecured weapons and ammunition, and improvised explosive devices.

&#8220I am extremely concerned by the extensive use of improvised explosive devices by armed groups in Iraq, which poses a major threat to civilians,&#8221 he said. &#8220In Syria, the widespread use of ‘barrel bombs’ and other explosive weapons in populated areas has caused great devastation and human suffering, leaving a legacy of explosive remnants of war that will remain a threat until their removal.&#8221

This year’s theme for the Day, ‘More than Mines,’ reflects that changing reality. When explosive hazards block the way, food is not delivered, refugees and internally displaced people cannot safely return home, children cannot attend school and peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development efforts are hindered.

&#8220On this International Day, I urge Member States to stay committed to the cause of mine action through financial contributions and political support, which is particularly crucial this year as the General Assembly debates assistance in mine action,&#8221 said the Secretary-General. &#8220The proposed resolution will provide an opportunity to recognize that mine action is indeed ‘More than Mines’ and to recommit ourselves to working with affected states to reduce the menace of mines and explosive hazards.&#8221

Helen Clark: Opening Speech at the South-South Co-operation on Climate Change Forum UN Climate Change Conference COP20, Lima, Peru

08 Dec 2014

UNDP is very pleased to be co-sponsoring this Forum with the National Development and Reform Commission of China and the United Nations Environment Programme. We also thank UNFCCC, the Swiss Development Co-operation, WWF-China, INTASAVE, and the China Academy of Science for their support for this event.

There are many experiences on tackling climate change to be exchanged through South-South Co-operation. The path which China itself is taking is of great global interest.

The large population and economy of China make its moves on climate change very significant. We see that four of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers and five of the world’s largest solar energy equipment manufacturers are now from China. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that in 2013 there were 2.6 million people employed in the renewable energy sector in China. That is around forty per cent of the entire global labour force employed in that sector.

Recently China has made two very important announcements on climate change. At the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York in September, China pledged to double its support to South-South Co-operation on climate change. Then, just last month, the Presidents of China and the United States announced new climate change commitments. Accordingly, China intends to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030, and to make best efforts to peak early. It also intends to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around twenty per cent by 2030.

I congratulate Minister Xie and NDRC for their important role in making these commitments. Your actions will undoubtedly inspire others to pursue pathways to more sustainable futures.

UNDP works with many developing countries to support both adaptation to climate change and mitigation strategies. All have experiences to share. Let me mention just three of many countries where we are proud to be associated with groundbreaking work:

Ethiopia’s “Climate Resilient Green Economy” (CRGE) strategy is a central element in the country’s ambition to become a low-carbon middle income economy by 2025. The Government has set up a national financial mechanism to mobilize, access, and combine domestic and international public and private sources of finance to support the implementation of the Strategy.

• The Government of Viet Nam is taking a number of steps to address climate change and advance green growth, including through developing national climate change and green growth strategies and legal frameworks on environmental protection.

• In Egypt, with backing from UNDP and the GEF, the Government is creating enabling conditions for the implementation of a Bioenergy National Programme (BNP) which focuses on addressing climate change through low emission energy generation. The Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) is leading the development of a commercially-viable, market-oriented, biogas sector through a range of measures, including piloting technology, capacity building for policy makers, and support to households.

In tackling climate change, we can all learn from the many initiatives which have been taken around the world. Policies, skills, and technical expertise originating from countries in the South on low emission and climate resilient development pathways are being shared through South-South Co-operation.

As the largest service provider in the UN system on climate change and environmental initiatives, UNDP has supported more than 140 countries to pursue low emission and climate resilient development pathways. Supporting South-South Co-operation is an important and growing part of our work. Our role is that of a knowledge broker, a builder of capacities, and a facilitator of exchanges of expertise and experiences. We bring to this task an understanding and experience of what is working around the world, which derives from our universal presence in developing countries.

In 2012, for example, UNDP hosted a sustainable energy forum, where representatives from a number of developing countries came together to showcase and share energy access solutions. The Forum enabled participants to learn from each other’s successes, and to apply that knowledge to sustainable energy policy and planning back home.

Under its new Strategic Plan, UNDP is significantly stepping up its promotion of South-South Co-operation, with the Canada-UNDP Climate Change Adaptation Facility supporting us to do that. Under the Facility, we are supporting six countries – Cambodia, Cape Verde, Haiti, Mali, Niger, and Sudan – to address food security through climate-resilient approaches to agriculture and water management, with special attention paid to women’s needs. A central element of this programme is the promotion of exchanges of knowledge and experiences between the six countries.

Another example of our commitment to supporting South-South Co-operation on climate change is the Adaptation Learning Mechanism (ALM) – UNDP administers this online forum, and works in partnership with other agencies to provide a platform for practitioners to exchange knowledge and experiences on climate change adaptation. The majority of the exchanges on the platform are between countries in the South.

Conclusion

Today’s Forum will raise awareness of the role which South-South Co-operation can play and is playing in climate change adaptation and mitigation. It will discuss the opportunities to play that role – and the challenges which lie ahead.

I am convinced that South-South Co-operation will have a vital role to play in implementing the new global climate agreement -which we all hope to see reached in Paris next year.

I hope that participants at the Forum today will leave energized to step up the promotion of South-South Co-operation on climate change even further. We at UNDP are committed to partner with you to help make this happen.