The United Nations is a unique international organization. It was founded after the Second World War by the representatives of 51 countries, who were the supporters of the course in the maintenance of peace and security throughout the world, the development of friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living conditions and state of affairs in the field of human rights. Its unique character and assigned by the Charter powers allow the Organization to carry out activities on a wide range of issues, being for its 193 Member States a forum that allows them through the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council and other bodies and committees to express their views.
UN - is a forum, a place where you can meet the representatives of almost all countries of the world. It provides a mechanism for them to find ways to resolve disputes or problems and solutions of virtually all the issues, which the humanity is facing.
Although the UN is sometimes called the "parliament of nations", it is neither a supranational structure or Over National Government. The Organization has no arm; it does not charge the tax. Implementation of the decisions taken by it depends on the political will of its members, and in order to finance its activities, Member States are making contributions.
The United Nations has a central role in reducing international tension, conflict prevention and the reducing of amount of armed clashes have already begun. It deals with issues of the environment, space and the seabed. It helps to get rid of many diseases and increase food production. It takes care of the refugees and protect them, it fights against illiteracy and prompts actions in the event of natural disasters. In addition, it protects and promotes the rights of the individual, promoting the global norms of human rights.
So, as we can see, the UN activities are multifaceted and cover a wide range of important global issues. But the problem of climate change is one of the main priority for the United Nations.
Climate change is a complex problem which, although is environmental in nature, has an impact on all spheres of life of our planet. Climate changes impact on global issues such as poverty, economic development, population growth, sustainable development and resource management, or aggravated by these problems.
One of the main problems will be food safety. It is expected that by 2050 corn crops, rice and wheat will drop by 25%, according to some projections. After 2050 grain harvest will drop even more dramatically, while the Earth's population will reach nine billion people. Many fish species will migrate to the northern waters, which has a negative impact on food security of the inhabitants of tropical regions. In some parts of the tropics, as well as in Antarctica, the catch oh fish may fall by 50%. What is more, in many populated regions floods will intensify, as well as will be observed the increase in mortality due to the heat.
However, central place in responding to climate change is taken by the need to reduce emissions. In 2010, the government agreed to reduce emissions to the extent that the increase in global temperature should not exceed two degrees Celsius.
UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns of growing threats of climate change and tells about the crucial need for urgent solutions before it is too late. Currently, greenhouse gas emissions are rising, and the world is on track to raise average global temperatures by more than three degrees Celsius this century.
The world is already feeling the effects of climate change from rising sea levels and melting glaciers to more extreme weather conditions. Sustainability is an important element to combat climate change. UN supports efforts to assess climate science, facilitate negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as well as to assist countries and communities to reduce emissions and to ensure resilience to climate changes.
Now let's consider some of the documents adopted under the auspices of the UN more precisely.
Thus, under the auspices of the UN in 1991-1992 was developed by the Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Framework Convention on Climate Change
Negotiations on the adoption of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was launched in February 1991. The Convention was opened for signature on June 4, 1992 at the meeting in Rio de Janeiro on the UN Conference on Environment and Development and on the March 21, 1994 entered into force.
UNFCCC was designed as a key instrument of international cooperation to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change and reducing the anthropogenic load on the Earth's atmosphere. However, the Convention identified only general guidelines on the fight against global climate change (in this regard, it is a framework agreement). UNFCCC is the first international agreement, which combated global climate change and its consequences.
The main objective of the UNFCCC is to reduce the emission of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere to that extent that would prevent harmful anthropogenic impact on the climate system and thus preserve atmosphere from irreversible change. Moreover, such affect should be secured during a such period of time, which will let ecosystems to conform in the natural way to climate change, which allows not to prevent food production from being extremely hazardous. (UNFCCC. 2007b)
The Convention defines the general directions for the fight against global climate change for the Parties, which currently consists of 190 States and the European Community. In this case the UNFCCC provides for the usage the most important principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, taking into account the different levels of socio-economic development of countries. It is recognized that a major role in combating climate change and its adverse effects has been played by industrialized countries and countries with economies in transition, which in the process of their economic development have made a greater contribution to the total volume of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (the principle of historical responsibility).
UNFCCC defines only general principles, commitments for Parties to the Convention and the main activities, concerning climate change, in particular, it is noted that:
• UNFCCC provides for the need for accounting of emissions and removals of greenhouse gases by Parties to the Convention. Data on the registered annual greenhouse gas emissions and removals should be provided regularly to the UNFCCC Secretariat in the form of annual reports about their inventory;
• Parties are to pose, embed, give public access and regularly update national programs to tackle climate change by reducing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to take actions to maintain appropriate adaptation to climate change;
• Parties are to send periodically a overall draft of measures taken by the Party to embed the Convention.
However, the UNFCCC provides for the use of the most important principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, taking into account different socio-economic conditions of countries. Moreover, it is recognized that the primary responsibility for man-made climate change are held on the industrialized countries, so they have to play a leading role in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof (UNFCCC. 2006d).
In this regard, the industrialized countries and countries with economies in transition are imposed additional obligations:
• Every Party shall push through national policies and take necessary steps to tackle climate change, by reducing its anthropogenic removals of greenhouse gases, defensing its greenhouse gas sinks, showing thus the example in this region for other countries;
• Parties are to send a periodic report with precise details on its policies and steps, as well as on its results of reducing anthropogenic emissions by measures and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases;
• Parties mentioned in Annex II to the UNFCCC (who are the member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), are to grant financial and other support to developing countries to satisfy their liabilities under the Convention, considering their special demands and features of their social and economic life.
The Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol - an additional document to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed in 1992 at an international conference in Rio de Janeiro. The Convention entered into force in 1994. This Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, 11 December 1997. Period of signing the protocol opened on March 16, 1998 and ended on March 15, 1999. The Kyoto Protocol came into force on 16 February 2005.
Nowadays the protocol is signed and ratified by 191 countries, including most of the industrialized countries except the US, which signed but not ratified the agreement.
For the entry into force of the protocol, this paper was required to be ratified by the countries responsible for at least 55% of greenhouse gas emissions. Following ratification by Russia at the end of 2004 (17.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions), the document came into force on 16 February 2005. The share of greenhouse gas emissions of countries that acceded to the protocol at this time is 62%. However, countries that have ratified the protocol, have no special incentives to implement it until the US (25% of global CO2 emissions) have not ratified the document (UNFCCC. 2006e).
Each country can make the reduction of greenhouse gases by increasing efficiency, decreasing production, rational use of energy and also by taking part in projects that result in reductions of greenhouse gas emission in other countries. The Kyoto Protocol envisages flexible mechanisms for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing appropriate certificates abroad:
Clean Development Mechanism involves collaboration between a developing country and industrialized countries;
International Emission Trading provides direct sale of emissions from one industrialized country to another;
Joint Implementation provides for cooperation between the industrialized countries.
So, it is possible to establish international cooperation in reducing CO2 emissions. The reason for this is the ability to purchase units of CO2 emissions from another countries. As we know, 1990 was elected in order to establish baseline GHG emissions for most countries.
The latest document, which was signed under the auspices of the UN, was the Paris Agreement concerning climate problems.
Paris Agreement - an agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which regulates greenhouse gas reduction measures in the atmosphere from 2020. The agreement was prepared during the Climate Change Conference in Paris; adopted by consensus and December 12, 2015 and signed on 22 April 2016. The emcee of the conference Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, said that this "ambitious and balanced" plan was a "historic turning point" in the way of reducing the rate of global warming.
In the fight against climate change, agreement recognizes the common but differentiated responsibilities of States, that is based on the respective capacities and different national contexts.
It takes into account, inter alia, the level of development and the specific needs of particularly vulnerable countries. In addition to the financial obligations, the developed countries will need to contribute to the transfer of technologies and, in more broadly meaning, to the transition to a carbon-free economic model.
Also, in order to ensure transparency and monitoring of the efforts of each participant, was created a system that allows you to oversee the implementation of national commitments, with some concessions to the developing countries.
The agreement determines the direction of future efforts to keep the temperature rise below 2 degrees, possibly even below 1.5 degrees. The agreement provides a mechanism for increasing of the target level.
Paris Agreement is a large-scale, dynamic and universal. It covers all countries and emissions, and its implementation is designed for many years. This agreement has an enduring historical value. It strengthens international cooperation to address the challenges associated with climate change. It defines the way forward.
Paris agreement sends a strong signal to markets that the time has come to invest in the economy, with low level of emissions, and contains mechanisms to ensure transparency and to enhance mutual trust and confidence.
It will serve as an important tool for the mobilization of financial and technological support and capacity for developing countries. In addition, it will also help to expand the scale of the global effort to address the problems associated with the loss and damage from climate change.
The Parties have committed themselves to achieve as soon as possible the maximum level of global greenhouse gas emissions, so that in the second half of the century, to come to a balance between emissions and measures to address their consequences. Countries are also urged to increase their efforts to mitigate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
195 countries participating in the negotiations made a commitment to establish a long-term development strategy with low greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, it was the first time when a general agreement on combating climate change was signed.
Some of legally binding rules, such as the obligation for developed countries to provide financial assistance to developing countries for the implementation of this agreement shall be applied to the participating countries.
On the April 22, 2016 in New York, the agreement was invited for States to sign, followed by the entry into force in 2020. The decision to COP 21, which is attached to the agreement, defines numerous steps of promotion and preparation for its implementation: review of national contributions till 2018, raising funds in order to achieve a minimum level of $ 100 million per year in 2020.
The agreement recognizes the activities of non-governmental organizations that already have taken some effort, following the example of the Paris Agreement, in which 800 companies, investors, cities and regions of the world have pledged to exceed the targets set out in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Greenhouse gas emissions related to human activity, have reached historic highs. Climate change, spurred by economic growth and increasing population, has a broad impact on human and natural systems in every country and on every continent.
With the increase in air and ocean temperatures, the amounts of snow and ice has decreased, and the sea level rose. According to the forecasts, during the XXI century Earth's surface temperature will continue to increase, and in the absence of effective measures the increase in temperature in our century is likely to exceed 3 degrees Celsius.
As climate change has a significant impact on economic development, natural resources and the fight against poverty, to overcome this problem has become an integral component of sustainable development. Development of affordable and scalable solutions to the problem of climate change will help to avoid destabilization of the achievements of the past decades as a result of this phenomenon and ensure the health and vitality of the country's economy. This is precisely what the United Nations are trying to do.
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UNFCCC. 2006a. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: Handbook. UNFCCC Secretariat. Bonn, Germany. <http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/ publications/handbook.pdf>
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UNFCCC. 2007b. Background paper – Impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in Asia. UNFCCC Secretariat. Bonn, Germany. <http://unfccc.int/files/ adaptation/methodologies_for/vulnerability_and_adaptation/application/pdf/unfccc_asian_workshop_background_paper.pdf>
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