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United Nations: Environment

Guide to information created by the UN and the UN Family of Organizations

Current Developments

UN Climate Change Newsroom.  Updates about UN Climate change from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat

Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.  Portal of information sources relating to all aspects of the UN's work on Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Climate Change Conferences

The following links provide background information and summaries of the UN's major conferences addressing Climate Change.  

Bali Road Map.  Sets out tracks for reaching a secure climate future. Includes the Bali Action Plan which planned for a negotiating process designed to tackle climate change.

Cancun Agreements.Included an agreement calling for a Green Climate Fund and Climate Technology Centre to assist developing countries meet Climate Change targets. 

Doha Climate Gateway. Information sources from the 2012 UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar

Durban Outcomes. Governments agreed to draw up a blueprint for a universal, legal agreement to deal with climate change beyond 2020.

Framework Convention on Climate Change.  Framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle challenge posed by climate change,  recognizing that the climate is a shared resource whose stability can be affected by emissions of greenhouse gases.  

The Kyoto Protocol. International agreement linked to the UNFCCC which commits parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets. Entered into force in 2005.

Paris Conference Information Hub. Information from the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) and the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP), which took place from November 30 to December 11, 2015, in Paris, France.

Warsaw Outcomes.  Agreement where governments agreed to communicate contributions towards agreement in advance of the meeting in Paris in 2015.  Included a rule-book for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

UN Environment Organizations and Information

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. International autonomous agency of UNESCO that promotes the scientific investigation of the nature and resources of the oceans. 

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  International body assessing climate change established by the UN Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization to provide scientific knowledge about climate change and its potential impacts.

Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals. Pre-eminent organization coordinating action to achieve international goals for the management of chemicals.

Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol. Multilateral funding agency providing assistance to help developing countries phase out the use of ozone-depleting substances.

Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.  Portal of information sources relating to all aspects of the UN's work on Sustainable Development.  

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). UN convention based agency dedicated to combating desertification.

United Nations Environment Programme. Principal body of the United Nations for the environment. UNEP plays an important role in developing international environmental conventions and assisting countries implement environmentally sound policies.

United Nations Forum on Forests. UN subsidiary body promoting the management, conservation and sustainable development of forests.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat. United Nations office supporting the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the international treaty signed at the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development (UNCED).

World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Specialized agency of the United Nations in the fields of meteorology, operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.

World Tourism Organization.   United Nations agency for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

Sample UN Books on the Environment & Climate

Other Treaties and Agreements

Below are selected international environmental treaties by subject. Not all are UN treaties but many were negotiated with UN involvement. See also the ECOLEX database on international environmental law for information on treaties, policy, national legislation, judicial decisions, and related literature.


Biodiversity and Land 

Chemicals and Wastes 

Oceans Sea and Water 

UN Environment & Climate Change Data

FAOStat. Statistical portal from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. with data on Forestry, Fisheries, Agricultural Emissions and other Agri-Environmental data.

International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange. Clearinghouse for International Oceanographic data from the UN and other international organizations. 

Kyoto Protocol Data.  Contains base year data under the Kyoto Protocol as well as subsequent annual national emission reduction targets and reports.  

UN Energy Statistics Database.  International energy statistics from 1950-2010. CD ROMs in the Library Data Lab.  Data from 1990 are available on UNdata

UNEP Environmental Data Explorer. Source for data sets used by UNEP and its partners.  Includes data on freshwater, population, forests, emissions, climate, disasters, health etc.

UN FCC Greenhouse Gas Inventory Data. Estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and removals by country. See also national communications submitted by signatory countries.

United Nations Statistics Division Environmental Indicators. Data from the UN Stastics division on water, waste, biodiversity, land & agriculture, disasters, marine conditions, etc. 

World Health Organization Air Pollution Database. Portal from the World Health Organization on outdoor pollution data and estimates.