The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the single largest Principal Recipient of Global Fund grants in the world and has a global influence on many national health systems. The UNDP is committed to lowering the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their own operations and is working to this objective within the wider remit of the UN Millennium Development Goals, specifically goal seven ‘ensuring environmental stability’.
To understand current emission levels and to set a basis for managing future actions, the UNDP initialised the study summarised here to provide the first systematic evidence for the pattern of greenhouse gas emissions caused by their global health initiatives.
Arup led the carbon footprinting research and reporting which used ground-breaking methodological work to measure emissions.
The objective of the study was to develop an understanding of the carbon footprint of a range of grants, and to gain an insight into how the UNDP and their stakeholders might manage their scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions* on an on-going basis.
The project assessed the greenhouse gas emissions of all goods procured and services commissioned to deliver HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis grant programmes. The study was undertaken on operations in Montenegro and Tajikistan. Climate change impacts arising from direct UNDP operations were also considered, this included direct energy consumption in facilities / buildings and from travel and logistical needs.
The study has been successful in creating an understanding of greenhouse gas emissions sources and provides insight into where the UNDP and its stakeholders may focus their initial climate change mitigation actions.
A number of key priorities were identified; these included making changes to procedures relating to business travel, vehicle fleet management and building operations, highlighting areas where reductions in service provisions might be feasible to reduce GHG emissions. It was also important to open up dialogue with supply chains to better explore efficiency opportunities from global procurement activity.
The immediate challenge following this study will be for the UNDP to implement the right actions to start to embed carbon reduction activities within its direct operations.