A year after the international community came together in Paris to adopt the historic climate agreement, committing all nations to limit their greenhouse gas emissions, UNDP continues to demonstrate its leadership in the fight against climate change and maintains climate neutrality in its global operations for a second year.
“Climate change is the greatest threat to future generations and seriously undermines the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” says UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. “As a leading organization in the fight against climate change, UNDP demonstrates its commitment to resource-efficient, sustainable and accountable operations by minimizing its own environmental impact and maintaining climate neutrality”.
Climate neutrality is the process of measuring, reducing and offsetting greenhouse gas emissions. Following industry wide practices, organizations such as UNDP assess greenhouse gas emissions, take steps to reduce overall emissions, and, where emissions cannot be avoided, purchase credits that fund climate change mitigation projects.
Practically, each year UNDP conducts a global inventory of operations-related greenhouse gas emissions from its HQ, regional and country offices (for the latest year, 2015, this was 68,391 metric tons). Measures are then undertaken to reduce emissions, such as through the use of energy efficient lighting, transportation and IT equipment, and through green building renovations. By now, over 20 UNDP offices have installed or are in the process of installing photovoltaic electricity systems to reduce GHG emissions and enhance office energy security.
While focusing its near and longer-term efforts on reducing emissions, some, such as for air travel and building heating, cannot be easily avoided. To eliminate this remaining burden, UNDP purchases Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) from the Adaptation Fund established under the Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. CERs are a type of carbon credit issued by the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) for emission reductions achieved and quantitatively verified under the rules of the Kyoto Protocol. Adaptation Fund revenues from CER sales in turn support projects that promote climate-resilient economic development and sustainable livelihoods in some of the world’s poorest communities.
Globally, UNDP’s five year goal is to continue offsetting emissions, while simultaneously reducing overall emissions by 10 percent. UNDP urges other partners, both public and private, to undertake similar reductions so as to contribute to global targets on climate change.
About the Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement, which brings nations together to limit global emissions to below 2 – and ideally 1.5 – degrees C, was adopted at the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015. Since then, the agreement has been signed and ratified, and entered into force on 4 November 2016. UNDP is one of the largest implementers of climate change projects on the ground and supports countries to take ambitious mitigation and adaptation actions under the Paris Agreement, including the design and implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). UNDP’s work is undertaken in partnership with the Green Climate Fund, Global Environment Facility, Adaptation Fund and other multilateral and bilateral partners.
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in nearly 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.