Under the leadership of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) has initiated a process of aligning its strengths to achieve a coordinated action-oriented approach to the global and multifaceted challenge of climate change. This document brings together information on activities undertaken throughout the United Nations system, including its agencies, funds and programmes, as contributed by the respective entities.
The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirmed that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are having significant and negative impacts on the climate, emphasized the dangers of rising global mean temperatures and associated changes in precipitation patterns and extreme weather events, and provided an assessment of the means and costs of combating climate change. The message is clear: Accelerated action is urgently needed on mitigation, in order to address the causes of climate change and avoid future catastrophic consequences. At the same time, efforts for adaptation to current and future impacts must be stepped up.
The economic, social and environmental consequences of climate change, combined with its potentially irreversible nature, confront the international community with one of its most complex and serious challenges. The high-level event on climate change, convened by the United Nations Secretary-General on 24 September 2007 to galvanize political consensus, saw the unequivocal commitment of world leaders to concerted action. They agreed that the United Nations provides the appropriate multilateral framework for action and that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the only forum in which international action can be agreed.
The present document prepared by the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), gives an overview of ongoing UN system actions in key climate change-related areas, in support of national endeavours and in furtherance of the implementation of mandates received through the UNFCCC and other intergovernmental bodies.
The United Nations system works to strengthen national institutions and human capacity to better analyze the impacts of climate change, develop courses of action for greater resilience and implement relevant adaptation and mitigation activities.
The UN system, including the Bretton Woods Institutions, is assisting developing countries in better leveraging finance from a variety of sources to help them adapt to climate change impacts and undertake nationally appropriate mitigation actions in the context of sustainable development.
REDD-related activities of the UN system aspire to contribute towards achieving sustainable management of forests that enables the economic, environmental and social goods and services of forests to benefit countries, communities and forest users, while also contributing to global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Technology transfer and development activities by the UN system promote the diffusion and uptake of environmentallyfriendly and climate-friendly technologies and practices towards achieving objectives of mitigation and adaptation at the country level.
An effective response to climate changerelated challenges requires actions at the global, regional and national levels. The UN system is using its expertise and resources to ensure planning and delivery of coherent support to countries in their efforts at all three levels.
The Secretary-General has made it a top priority of his tenure to raise awareness at the highest level of the potential impacts of climate change and the necessity for taking urgent action. He is pursuing that personally, in cooperation with other UN system Executive Heads, as well as through his Special Envoys on Climate Change and other senior UN officials.
Following the Secretary-General's urging to “lead by example”, the CEB decided in October 2007 to move towards a climateneutral UN. A UN Climate Neutral Strategy devised through the UN's Environment Management Group provides the framework for doing so.
At the 13th session of the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC in Bali, Indonesia, we met to initiate an ambitious new phase of international cooperation on climate change in the light of compelling scientific evidence. At that time, I spoke of climate change as the “defining challenge of our time”.
The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change confirmed that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are having significant and negative impacts on the climate, emphasized the dangers of rising global mean temperatures and associated changes in precipitation patterns and extreme weather events, and provided an assessment of the means and costs of combating climate change.
Climate knowledge is the foundation for the development of an effective response to the climate change challenge. The UN system plays a central role in this area, bringing together global resources for observation and analysis of climate change trends. It is committed to reinforcing its efforts to provide sound and unbiased scientific information and climate services to enable evidence-based policy and decision making at all levels.
The United Nations system is working to help people and communities in countries, especially those most vulnerable, to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change while continuing to grow and achieve their development goals and aspirations.