What is the United Nations doing about climate change?
Last Updated: Nov 19, 2020     Views: 42

Many bodies within the UN system are actively concerned with climate change. Some UN bodies are directly concerned with this topic, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Other UN bodies may consider climate change as it intersects with their main focus, such as the Human Rights Council or the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

International environmental law is a complex topic and involves treaties, legislation, regulations, policies and cases at international, regional, national, state and local levels. Multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) are treaties on environmental topics; they may be focused on a particular topic or region. Some MEAs have UN bodies set up to monitor the implementation of the agreement, others may have no oversight body, or a body that is not governed by the UN.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol, and the Conference of Parties (COP) are central to the UN's action on climate change. The Paris Agreement is a decision of the 21st COP of the UNFCCC. Many of the other MEA monitoring bodies are actively looking at the impact of climate change on the subject of the treaty, such as biodiversity or desertification.

In addition, the Sustainable Development Goals concern topics related to the environment and climate change, in particular Goal 13.

Selected UN resources on climate change

UN bodies directly working on climate change

Key UN reports

Key UN resources on international environmental law

Selected UN entities' sites on climate change

Related Research Guides

Online Courses

Nov 19, 2020     42


Disclaimer: answers are prepared by library staff using resources available at the time of writing. This site may include links and references to third-party databases, websites, books and articles, this does not imply endorsement by the United Nations.


Ask Dag Logo

Explore more than 800 FAQs in: