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North-South regional partnerships yield climate, economic benefits

16 December 2009
North-South regional partnerships yield climate, economic benefits

'Trade not aid' has moved well beyond sloganeering and into the realm of pioneering opportunities to curb climate change.  Several of these new business opportunities, stemming from partnerships between regional governments in the developed and developing world, were unveiled during a Climate Group round table yesterday.

"Subnational governments are a very powerful force for change. The momentum is indeed building this is a real movement," said Olav Kjorven, Director of the Bureau for Development Policy for UNDP.

In some instances, these partnerships have led to profitable businesses in the north as well as the south. "We will learn as much in the north from our partners in the south as they will learn from us," said Jane Davidson, Minister from Wales.

One example of the mutual benefits that are accruing from a north-south partnership was one struck between the French region of Poitou-Charentes and the Fatick region of Senegal, that country's region most vulnerable to climate change.

Mbale has partnered with Wales. The Ugandan region now sells its coffee in Wales, which in turn is sharing technology on ways to boost energy efficiency and climate change mitigation in Mbale.

Some north-south climate projects are at a nascent stage, aimed at analyzing climate change impacts and how to tackle them.  Minister Line Beauchamp of Quebec said her state has committed to working with the Algerian region of Maghrebin to assess its vulnerabilities  to climate change, and help it assemble a strategic plan to combat them.

Executive Governor Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan of the Niger Delta in Nigeria said he will work with the UNDP to undertake a comprehensive study of the environmental impact from the oil industry on the Delta and use it as a platform to strengthen the subnational government capacity to combat pollution, by working with governments such as the state of California.

At the end of the panel, representatives from Senegal, Catalonia, Poitou-Charentes, Wallonia and Rhone-Alpes signed a statement of intent to support the territorial approaches to climate change with the UNDP, a further indication of the success of north-south partnerships.

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