UNDP and the Private Sector: 25 Years of Partnership on Climate Change, Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Energy

from UN Development Programme
Published on 26 Oct 2017 View Original



A changing climate and rapidly increasing exposure to disaster risk presents the world with an unprecedented challenge.

The global cost of disasters has reached US $300 billion a year as severe floods, storms, and droughts become more frequent and extreme, particularly affecting the most vulnerable in developing countries. Without action, not only will hard-won progress on development be at risk of being wiped out, but the cost of these disasters and the ever-increasing impact of our changing climate will continue to rise, increasing pressure on developed countries’ governments, where commitments cannot match the scale of the problems. In the business-as-usual scenario, the ambitions of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) will not be achieved.

The lynchpin to success is in working with the private sector to take advantage of unique skillsets and financing flexibility, specifically by devising innovative partnerships and implementing joint solutions. Not only can the private sector mobilize financial resources and technical capabilities, it leverages the efforts of governments, engages civil society and community efforts, and transfers technologies for efficient mitigation, adaptation, and resilience.

Indivisible from global and national society, the private sector is a critical actor in delivering sustainable development, from providing employment, to supporting the delivery of basic services, to the financing of large-scale infrastructure. On average, it accounts for 60 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 80 percent of capital flows, and 90 percent of jobs in developing countries. Given that estimates of the SDG investment needs in developing countries reach as much as US$4.3 trillion a year until 2030 (close to US$2 trillion needed in climate-related sectors) the private sector will be an essential actor, both in-kind through innovation and directly through financing.


UNDP aims to unlock innovative thinking and financing to tackle disaster, climate, and energy challenges through increasing the range and depth of its private sector partnerships.

Businesses are already leading the way in developing creative responses to climate change, disaster risk and recovery, and providing energy solutions, but more needs to be done. The private sector dominates many investments that are critical to disaster mitigation and resilience, such as the location and design of buildings and other infrastructure investments, as well as adaptation services or the development of new sustainable energy solutions. Often overlooked, the private sector is responsible for devising and deploying the financial instruments that distribute the risk and speed the recovery of countries after natural disasters.

UNDP takes these diverse roles of the private sector into consideration to identify, assess, and manage the best solutions to climate challenges and meeting the SDGs.