united nations
source: https://currentaffairs.adda247.com/

INTRODUCTION

Earlier climate change was not considered as an important issue at the international platform. But after the Stockholm: UN Scientific Conference was held and climate change &Environment was recognized as an important international issue. After this conference, many countries started considering climate change.

United Nations Role on Climate change focuses on the problem which includes global environmental problems, climate, ozone depletion, biodiversity loss, deforestation, and desertification. And because of such problems United Nations keep checks on Nations to protect Climate globally.

United Nations playing a pivotal role in climate change, and playing its role as a leader to protect the climate and as a leader doing many efforts for precautions & prevention on climate change.

HISTORY AND BACKGROUND -ROLE OF UNITED NATIONS ON CLIMATE CHANGE

To make climate change an important and concerning issue regarding the globe, it takes two-generations for the United Nations and international communities. In the first 23 years, environmental issues or climate change issues were not given much importance by the globe, the same was managed by operational actions only there were no strict principles or rules. Operational activities were mainly through the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).[1]

VARIOUS MEASURES ON CLIMATE CHANGE FROM 1949 TO 2012 ONWARDS:

  1. 1949 – UN Scientific Conference on the conservation and utilization of resources it was the first UN body to address the depletion of those resources and their use.[2]Basically in this conference the discussion was not on the preservation perspective of resources it was on the use of those resources for economic & social development.
  2. 1968 – UN organs started giving serious attention to environmental issues. On 26 May 1968, the first conference on the human environment was held.
  3. 1972 – Stockholm: UN scientist conference was held, it is also called as first Earth Summits, in this conference first-time principles for the preservation of the environment and on climate change were established. In the 2nd meeting of the conference, the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was established.[3] The decision was made in concern of atmosphere and global climate and then it acquired international attention and action.
  4. 1979 – The first International Instrument on climate i.e. the convention on long-range Transboundary Air Pollution was adopted by UNEP.
  5. 1985 – There was a negotiation and adoption of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer.
  6. 1988 – Establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a forum for the examination of greenhouse warming and global climate change.[4]
  7. 1989 – The UN Secretary-General and the Helsinki Declaration on the Protection of the Ozone Layer were adopted.[5]
  8. 1990 – The second world Climate conference was held.
  9. 1992 – The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) had signed by 158 states.
  10. 1997 – To the UNFCCC the Kyoto Protocol was taken.
  11. 1998 onwards – various measures were taken by the UN on climate change like protocol was open for signatures and more signatures by states increased and went to 160 signatures.

United Nations playing a leadership role in climate change from generations. UN is taking measures for the preservation of the environment and prevention of climate change.

SIGNIFICANCE OF ROLE OF UNITED NATIONS ON CLIMATE CHANGE

As already discussed United Nations plays an important role in Climate Change and because of United Nations Climate change becomes an important issue at an international level and United Nations playing an important role to protect climate change and its principles. In the present situation Global Warming is a very big issue in a world and other problems like sea level rising, climate change, pollution, deforestation, etc. to deal with these problems United Nations playing a significant role in the world.

United Nations took various Negotiations and conferences like the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement, and the climate action summit. And the United Nations has various instruments like the United Nations framework convention on climate change, Intergovernmental panel on climate change, and others. By using these instruments and negotiations United Nations from generations and till date taking all each and every effort to protect the world and doing conferences and meetings to alert the states regarding climate change.

By doing various analyses and data analysis United Nations providing reports on climate change and their impacts on nature in front of the world. United Nations’ role in climate change is very significant because it is doing a very necessary effort to protect climate globally and also taking many preventive measures on climate change. United Nations and its instruments playing a very significant role in climate change

UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE (UNFCCC) 

United Nations framework convention on climate change is the first major step by the United Nations on Climate Change it was produced by the “Earth Summit” in 1992. This framework was introduced by the United Nations to address the problems arises due to climate change in the world. The present scenario is that many countries signed this convention to protect the climate. This UNFCCC has Universal membership; around 197 countries signed this convention.

UNFCCC document consists of 26 Articles. These articles are as following:

  • Article 1 –Definitions
  • Article 2 – Objectives
  • Article 3 –  Principles
  • Article  4 –  Commitments
  • Article 5 –  Their research and systematic observations
  • Article 6 –  Education training and public Awareness
  • Article 7 – Conference of the parties
  • Article 8 – Secretariat
  • Article 9 – Subsidiary body for scientific and technological Advice
  • Article 10 –  Subsidiary Body for Implementation
  • Article 11 –  Financial mechanism
  • Article 12- Communication of  information related to the implementation
  • Article 13 – Resolution of question regarding implementation
  • Article 14 –  Settlements of disputes
  • Article 15 – Amendments to the convention
  • Article 16 – Adoption and amendment of Annexes to the convention
  • Article 17 – Protocols
  • Article 18 – Right to vote
  • Article 19 – Depositary
  • Article 20 – Signature
  • Article 21 – Interim arrangements
  • Article 22 – Ratification Acceptance Approval or Accession
  • Article 23 – Entry into force
  • Article 24 – Reservations
  • Article 25 – Withdrawal
  • Article 26 – Authenticate texts

UNFCCC document says that the parties to this convention are acknowledging that change in the earth’s climate and its adverse effects are a common concern of humankind.[6]UNFCCC main objective is to achieve the control on the issue of the greenhouse gas concentrations available in the atmosphere level so that it could do preventions on the danger to the climate change and prevent the nature globally.

UNFCCC also defines Climate change as a “change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods” (Article 1 (2) UNFCCC).[7]

It provides a certain set of general commitments to all parties of the convention.[8] UNFCCC provides common responsibility for climate change in each country but it also provides different responsibilities to those countries where it is required and countries have to follow all general principles regarding climate change under UNFCCC.[9]

The UNFCCC serves as a foundation of an evolving global climate effort.[10] It is a legal instrument of the United Nations to prevent the world from climate change crises.

VARIOUS NEGOTIATIONS MADE BY UNITED NATIONS TO STRENGTHEN THE GLOBAL RESPONSES ON CLIMATE CHANGE.

United Nations made various Negotiations to spread awareness in the world on climate change, Negotiations like “Global warming as an emerging policy issue – UN Climate Convention, Agreement on climate policy commitments and toolbox – the Kyoto Protocol, Stronger links between climate and development”[11] and  Paris Agreement.

  • UN  CLIMATE CONVENTION

UN Climate Convention was on Global Warming as an emerging policy issue (1980 – the 1990s) and in this convention, UNFCCC was adopted, after that in 1979 World Meteorological Organization (WMO) organized the world’s first conference on climate change to discuss that how greenhouse gas can affect the atmospheric temperature. Around the 1980s climate models were changes, modified & improved to spread and increase the awareness of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on climate change (IPCC) was established by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) in 1988 to collect scientific knowledge on climate change for the scientific panels.

In 1989, WMO & UNEP were taking initiations to prepare the Negotiations on a framework convention on climate change. 1990-1992 various Negotiations were taken on climate change by Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC). Then INC launched a document, i.e. UNFCCC.

  • KYOTO PROTOCOL

In 1995, various parties of UNFCCC were decided that they have to produce negotiations to motivate the climate efforts by launching the first sub-agreement.[12] They discussed that new agreement principles would help to establish the specific targets & timetables that can be binding on developed countries but they did not talk about developing countries. All this resulted in the “Kyoto Protocol” in 1997.

United Nations in 1998 produced the Document i.e. “Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” which consists of 28 Articles. This Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 after 1995 when countries took Negotiations to strengthen the Global Responses on climate Change.

The main aim of the Kyoto Protocol is that this protocol binds the developed country parties legally to emission reduction Target. 197 countries are now parties to the conventions and 192 countries are party to the Kyoto Protocol. There are two commitments to this protocol 1st period of its commitment is 2008-2012 and 2nd period of commitment is 2013 – till 2020.

  • COPENHAGEN AND CANCUN AGREEMENTS

UNFCCC decided to develop an alternative framework that would help both developed and developing countries to take strong actions on climate change. A new agreement was made by the Bali Action plan in 2007 for providing for the UNFCCC and this agreement was adopted in Copenhagen in 2009. It was a political agreement and its aim is to limit global temperature.

In 2020 Cancun agreement was adopted by the parties and it is also recognized as an interim arrangement through 2020. And the party countries decided that they will accept further negotiations.

  • PARIS AGREEMENT

Party countries adopted the agreement in Paris in 2015 and that is known as the “Paris Agreement”. This agreement represents a “top-down” Kyoto approach & “bottom-up” approach of the Copenhagen & Cancun agreements.[13] This agreement provides common binding procedural commitments for all countries.

This Paris agreement also establishes the framework to keep track of each and every countries action. This agreement came into force in 2016, the parties started Implementing this agreement rules by 2018. This agreement aims to strengthen the global responses regarding the climate change threat by keeping the temperature rise less than 2 degrees Celsius. 175 countries signed this Paris agreement and become a party to this agreement. United Nations also launched its conference’s sessions report as a document and it was one of the important Negotiations (agreement) of the United Nations.

CONCLUSION

Earlier climate change was not considered as an important issue at the international platform. But after the Stockholm: UN Scientific Conference was held and climate change &Environment was recognized as an important international issue. After this conference, many countries started considering climate change than the United Nations from generation to generation doing efforts and many measures to take or provide precautions on climate change.

UN launched UNFCCC and many countries signed it and become a party to it. Also, UNFCCC considered a legal instrument of the United Nations on climate change after the UNFCCC many measures were taken seriously on climate change & globally climate change gained importance as an issue. UN always tries to prevent the dangers due to the effect of climate change, as per the need of time UN framed Rules and principles which globally have to follow by the Nations.

The United Nations made various negotiations and many countries very actively participated in negotiations and conferences, both developed and developing countries. From 1997 to date, the United Nations trying to all possible efforts to prevent climate changes like reducing greenhouse gases atmospheric temperature and many more, etc.

Discussed negotiations were made by United Nations to strengthen the Global Responses on Climate Change and United Nations established many agreements and took many meetings, conferences, it is trying each and every possible measure on climate change and also binding conventions on countries so that they should follow it for global welfare. United Nations playing a pivotal role in climate change, and playing its role as a leader to protect the climate and as a leader doing many efforts for precautions & prevention on climate change.


Author:

pavitra pottala Pavitra Pottala | MNLUA, Maharashtra

vaishnavi kulkarni Vaishnavi Kulkarni | MNLUA, Maharashtra


REFERENCES

[1]   Peter Jackson, “From Stockholm to Kyoto: A Brief History of Climate Change”, https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/stockholm-kyoto-brief-history-climate-change

[2]   Peter Jackson, “From Stockholm to Kyoto: A Brief History of Climate Change”, https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/stockholm-kyoto-brief-history-climate-change

[3]  Peter Jackson, “From Stockholm to Kyoto: A Brief History of Climate Change”, https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/stockholm-kyoto-brief-history-climate-change

[4]Peter Jackson, “From Stockholm to Kyoto: A Brief History of Climate Change”, https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/stockholm-kyoto-brief-history-climate-change

[5]https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/stockholm-kyoto-brief-history-climate-change.

[6]https://www.iucn.org/theme/global-policy/our-work/united-nations-framework-convention-climate-change-unfccc.

[7]Laurence Boisson de Chazournes –Professor of the University of Geneva, research paper, “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change New York, 9 May 1992”  https://legal.un.org/avl/ha/ccc/ccc.html.

[8]https://legal.un.org/avl/ha/ccc/ccc.html

[9]Laurence Boisson de Chazournes –Professor of University of Geneva, research paper, “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change New York, 9 May 1992”  https://legal.un.org/avl/ha/ccc/ccc.html

[10]Article “History of UN Climate Talks” from   https://www.c2es.org/content/history-of-un-climate-talks/

[11]Monica Alessi & Wytze van der Gaast,  Research paper ” History of the UN Climate Negotiations – Part 1 – from the 1980s to 2010”, https://climatepolicyinfohub.eu/history-un-climate-negotiations-part-1-1980s-2010

[12]Article “History of UN climate Talks” from https://www.c2es.org/content/history-of-un-climate-talks/.

[13]Article “History of UN climate Talks” from https://www.c2es.org/content/history-of-un-climate-talks/

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