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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Climate Action and Synergies


The science is clear: our climate is heating rapidly. The average global temperatures have increased by 1.2 degrees Celsius since 1880, particularly in the late 20th century. The concentration of atmospheric CO2, the GHG that contributes more than 2/3 to global warming, is at its highest level ever. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) steadily points out that human activities have warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land, producing widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere. Due to these changes in climate, the number of weather, climate and water-related disasters has increased by a factor of five over the past 50 years, causing over 2 million deaths and US$3.64 trillion in losses.

According to IPCC, warming beyond 1.5 degrees could have irreversible and irreparable consequences. However, effective and equitable adaptation and mitigation actions can significantly reduce vulnerability and contribute to climate resilience. To limit global warming to well below 2, preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels, countries came together to hold themselves accountable under the Paris Agreement. The agreement is a milestone of international cooperation to tackle climate change – first legally binding document in the history of climate action.

To move fast in the race against climate crisis, targeted actions that bring tangible benefits and limit the trade-offs on multiple fronts, are key for common success against climate change. The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world’s plan of action to achieving sustainability and resilience for people and planet, are closely linked with climate. Maximizing on the interlinkages between the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement by leveraging Climate and SDG Synergies, has the potential of achieving both agendas and guaranteeing a livable future for next generations by leaving no one behind. In fact, progress made towards limiting global temperature increase would significantly ease the path to many other SDGs, such as those related to poverty, hunger, access to water, and terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Many of the SDGs and their targets can also be achieved in ways that would enable adaptive responses to climate change, for example those related to resilience in SDGs 9 and 11, respectively relating to infrastructure and urban settlements.

UN DESA is moving the needle forward for harnessing synergies across development and climate action. Through its support to various intergovernmental processes and fora, UN DESA is working to improve coordination with other entities by using the 2030 Agenda as both a framework and guiding principles. 






Act Now

Everyone has a role in climate action. At the United Nations, we are calling on people everywhere to work together to solve climate challenges and realize the commitments of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Learn more  on UN Climate Action, including Secretary-General’s key statements on climate change, Climate Fast Facts,  ActNow - the United Nations campaign for individual action, and much more.





Displaying 16 - 30 of 294
Title Category Date Sort descending
Major Group: Business & Industry Energy, Climate Change, Industry and Atmosphere 3-May-2006
United Kingdom Climate Change 3-May-2006
Thailand Energy, Climate Change, Industry and Atmosphere 3-May-2006
Saudi Arabia Climate Change 3-May-2006
Senegal Energy, Climate Change, Industry and Atmosphere 3-May-2006
Pakistan Climate Change 3-May-2006
Australia (Part 2) Energy, Climate Change, Industry and Atmosphere 3-May-2006
Iceland Climate Change 3-May-2006
European Union Climate Change 3-May-2006
Australia Climate Change 3-May-2006
Panama Climate Change 4-May-2006
European Union Energy, Climate Change, Industry and Atmosphere 5-May-2006
Major Group: Science & Technology Energy, Climate Change, Industry and Atmosphere 5-May-2006
Major Group: Children & Youth Energy, Climate Change, Industry and Atmosphere 5-May-2006
International Cooperation through a Strong Partnership between ICLEI and Strategies for… Energy, Climate Change, Industry and Atmosphere 5-May-2006


  • The 22nd UN Climate Change Conference (COP22/CMP12/CMA1) was the first conference following the establishment of the Paris Agreement in 2015 (CMA1), allowing pathways for the Agreement to be identified. COP22 marked the beginning of turning negotiations into actionable plans to combat climate change. At the Conference, 122 out of 193 signatories ratified the Paris Agreement and resolved to solidify Article 6 by 2018. COP22 placed focus on commitments by and toward developing countries, devoting USD 100 billion annually to climate change and the direct handling of resource requests and funding proposals to the Green Climate Fund board. Parties collectively called for and committed to more urgent climate action both politically and financially, creating the Marrakech Action Proclamation and the Marrakech Vision.
  • January 2015 SDG 13
    The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes climate change as one of the greatest challenges of the present time and expresses its concerns on how the adverse impacts of climate change can undermine the ability of all countries to achieve sustainable development. The Agenda point out that increases in global temperature, sea level rise, ocean acidification and other climate change impacts are seriously affecting coastal areas and low-lying coastal countries, including many least developed countries and small island developing States. The survival of many societies, and of the biological support systems of the planet, is at risk. The Agenda also identifies UNFCCC as the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change and reaffirms the determination of Member States to address the threat posed by climate change and environmental degradation. Among the SDGs, Sustainable Development Goal 13 focuses on taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
  • January 2015 Paris Agreement
    In December 2015, the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21/CMP1) convened in Paris, France, and adopted the Paris Agreement, a universal agreement whose aim is to keep a global temperature rise for this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The Agreement recognizes that climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet and thus requires the widest possible cooperation by all countries, and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, with a view to accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • January 2014 Samoa Pathway
    The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States was held from 1 to 4 September 2014 in Apia, Samoa. The overarching theme of the conference was "The sustainable development of small island developing States through genuine and durable partnerships". The SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway (Samoa Pathway) adopted at the Conference addresses priority areas for SIDS and calls for urgent actions and support for SIDS’ efforts to achieve their sustainable development.
  • The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) provides an overview of the state of knowledge concerning the science of climate change, emphasizing new results since the publication of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) in 2007. The Report demonstrates the human influence on the climate systems, announcing the highest anthropogenic emissions of the greenhouse gases in the history. The Report also shows the widespread impacts of the recent climate changes on human and natural systems. Finally, it states that continued emissions will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of climate systems. This will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.
  • The Warsaw Climate Change Conference established a pathway for governments to work on a draft text of a new universal climate agreement to be reached in Paris in 2015. At this conference, countries agreed to initiate or intensify domestic preparation for their intended national contributions towards that agreement. During the conference, countries also resolved to close the pre-2020 ambition gap by intensifying technical work and more frequent engagement of Ministers. The conference also decided to introduce an international mechanism to support most vulnerable populations with better protection against loss and damage caused by extreme weather events and slow onset events such as rising sea levels.
  • In the Future We Want, Member States reaffirm that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of the present and express their concern about the continuous rising of the emissions of greenhouse gases and about the vulnerability of all countries, particularly developing countries,to the adverse impacts of climate change. They also point out the experiencing increased impacts, including persistent drought and extreme weather events, sea-level rise, coastal erosion and ocean acidification, further threatening food security and efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. In this context, Member States call for the widest possible cooperation by all countries and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, with a view to accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions. In this context, they recall the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the protection of the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common, but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Furthermore, they recognize the importance of mobilizing funding from a variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including innovative sources of finance, to support nationally appropriate mitigation actions, adaptation measures, technology development and transfer and capacity-building in developing countries and urge parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and parties to the Kyoto Protocol to fully implement their commitments, as well as decisions adopted under those agreements.
  • As the second largest meeting on Climate Change, the Durban Climate Change Conference represented a paramount milestone in the implementation of the Convention of Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, the Bali Action Plan and the Cancun Agreements. One of the outcomes consisted of the commitment of all the Parties to adopt a universal legal agreement on climate change as soon as possible, but not later than 2015.
  • January 2010 Cancun Agreements
    The Cancun Agreements contain the most comprehensive package ever agreed by Governments to support developing States in climate change-related issues. In order to assist them in responding to the most urgent priorities related to climate change and accelerate their transformation in low emission economies, the Agreements set a timely schedule to review the progress they make towards their expressed objective of keeping the average global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius.
  • Established by UNEP and WMO as a scientific body under the auspices of the UN in 1988, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. At the core of its mission there is the review and assessment of the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide and relevant to the understanding of climate change. The 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, in particular, warned of changing weather patterns and rising sea levels due to accelerating GHG emissions from human activities.



UN DESA is moving the needle forward for harnessing synergies across development and climate action. Through its support to various intergovernmental processes and fora, UN DESA is working to improve coordination with other entities by using the 2030 Agenda as both a framework and guiding principles. 


Harnessing Climate and SDGs Synergies

Synergies between SDGs and climate can be found across all 17 goals. Broader themes such as energy, water, and agriculture are particularly promising for co-benefits and are highly interlinked at the SDG level.

UN DESA is working to support the interlinked SDG and climate frameworks through the Harnessing Climate and SDG Synergies platform, created with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), thus producing related learning series, and analytical reports. In this context, the annual SDG Pavilion at COP brings together partners and contributes to the discussions for synergistic action on climate and SDGs.


Accelerating Universal Energy Access and Net-zero Emissions

Currently, 75 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions stem from the energy sector, making it one of the main drivers of climate change.

UN DESA served as secretariat for the High-level Dialogue on Energy in 2021, supporting the preparatory process. As the Secretariat of UN Energy, UN DESA also supported the development of a new strategic focus, including a pledge to assist countries in their efforts on the following objectives by 2025. UN-Energy facilitated the development of a series of ‘Energy Compacts.’


Promoting Water for Sustainable Development

Climate change is primarily a water crisis. By 2050, the number of people at risk of floods will increase from its current level of 1.2 billion to 1.6 billion.

UN DESA supports the implementation of the “International Decade (2018-2028) for Action – Water for Sustainable Development” and related UN Water Conference on the midterm review which will take place 22-24 March 2023 in New York. UN DESA also supports interagency coordination on water and sanitation by designating the UN-Water Secretary and providing policy advise.


Protecting our Oceans

Marine and coastal ecosystems provide protection from natural disasters. Oceans provide oxygen and regulate the global climate, acting as a giant sink for GHGs.

UN DESA coordinates and collaborates with the Communities of Ocean Action and the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Ocean. UN DESA has also been supporting the Governments of Kenya and Portugal to organize the second UN Ocean Conference, held from 27 June to 1 July 2022, and its preparatory meetings.


Protecting our Forests

Forests help stabilise the climate. They regulate ecosystems, protect biodiversity, play an integral part in the carbon cycle, support livelihoods, and can help drive sustainable growth.

UN DESA provides support to the United Nations Forum on Forests, and its work directly supports the implementation of the UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2030 and the UN Forest Instrument and is guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other relevant global agreements.






To receive updates on the various initiatives under Climate Action and Synergies, please register for the regular newsletter updates or visit the relative news section of the website.


Climate and SDGs Synergies Newsletter: Climate SDG Synergies Newsletter


UN Energy Newsletter: UN Energy Newsletter


UN Water News: UN Water News


Ocean Action Newsletter: Ocean Action Newsletter


UN Forum on Forests News: