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WHO within the United Nations response to climate change

The United Nations is implementing a system-wide approach to face the diverse challenges posed by climate change. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) provides the overarching mechanism for coordination of the international response to this challenge. In 1992 the UNFCCC was signed by 154 states (plus the EC) at Rio de Janeiro, entering into force in March 1994. Its ultimate objective is the "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic human-induced interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner."

- Visit the Gateway to the UN System's Work on Climate Change
- Visit the UNFCCC website

As the lead health agency within the UN system, WHO the represents the health community at the international level, and provides the link to operational health programmes in the field. WHO also contributes health expertise to the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and to the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body of Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), as well as to specific initiatives such as the UNFCCC Nairobi Work Programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. WHO also works with other specialized agencies and programmes, such as WMO, UNEP and UNDP, on capacity building and implementation projects.


Protecting Health in a Changing Climate: WHO Side event at COP 12, Nairobi 2006

Summary of the event

Climate change threats to health: WHO events at CoP 11, Montreal, 2005

Summary of the event

Is climate change dangerous to human health?: WHO side event at CoP 10, Buenos Aires, 2004

Summary of the event

New book demonstrates how climate change impacts on health: Side event at COP9, Milan, 2003

Press release


- SBSTA 17 (2002): WHO reports on activities on climate change and human health [pdf 17kb]
- SBSTA 15 (2001): WHO reports on activities on climate change and human health [pdf 29kb]
- SBSTA 12 (2000): WHO reports on activities related to the risk to human health from climate change [pdf 25kb]


WHO statement to the UNFCCC on Kyoto Protocol coming into force

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