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UNDP Administrator Calls for Climate Deal for Rich and Poor

8 September 2009: In an op-ed published by The Guardian, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark emphasized that the UN climate change talks must not only seek to protect the planet, but should fight poverty as well.

She wrote that any deal made in Copenhagen must also be a deal for development and emphasized three imperatives for developing countries: the ability to develop what their citizens need for a decent life; the need for targeted support to develop their capacity to adapt to climate effects; and the developing countries' need for the support of partners to progress on a low-carbon development pathway.

Clark noted that, because of climate change, about 600 million more people in Africa could suffer from malnutrition as agricultural systems collapse; an extra 1.8 billion people could face water shortages, particularly in Asia; and about 98 million people could be displaced by climate-related floods in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Ethiopia alone. Emphasizing that the poorest are the most vulnerable to such impacts, she called for countries to act and to ensure that national interests do not obstruct achieving a deal on climate that represents the interest of the planet. [The Guardian Op-Ed]