First Regular Session of the UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board Opens

31 January 2011: Opening the first regular session of the Executive Board of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), taking place from 31 January-7 February 2011, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark noted the importance of a strong multilateral system to respond to pressing development needs.

Clark called for priority support to countries and populations that are least resilient for coping with the economic recession, rising food prices, disasters and climate change. She highlighted a number of 2010 events, including the September Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit and the launch of the MDG Acceleration Framework, which aims to assist governments and partners in identifying the obstacles preventing development progress, the solutions to overcome them, and an action plan to speed up progress. Noting the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit held in October, which concluded with the adoption of a new ten-year Strategic Plan, she indicated that UNDP implements the largest portfolio of biodiversity projects in the UN system and will collaborate with programme countries and donors to implement the Nagoya agreements.

On climate change, Clark stressed the need for adequate financing through the new Green Climate Fund to help build national capacities to promote climate-resilient development. She noted that UNDP will work to advance the Cancun agreement and will continue supporting countries to prepare and implement sustainable investment frameworks to leverage climate finance to reduce poverty. She also noted UNDP's comparative advantage in working on forest conservation, climate adaptation, low-carbon development and technology transfer.

Clark indicated that UNDP is currently supporting the preparations for the Rio+20 Conference, scheduled to take place in 2012, underlining that this summit presents the opportunity to "marry global efforts to achieve the MDGs with those to tackle environmental degradation and climate change."

In concluding, she stressed that UNDP will be conducting a review of its business model in addition to the Mid-Term Review of its current Strategic Plan, which ends in 2013. She added that the business model review will evaluate ongoing efforts to reduce costs and expenditures in difficult fiscal circumstances. [UNDP Press Release]