'The defining threat of our time'

We are in the middle of a climate crisis. But we have the international frameworks, technology and human and financial capital to solve the problem. We must act now.



The UN Secretary-General António Guterres calls climate change “the defining threat of our time”. The warmest 20 years on record have all occurred in the last 22 years, yet as we talk of ambitious action, we are constantly adding to the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

For UNDP, UN partners and the wider international community, the mission is clear: to push for countries, communities and the private sector to construct and implement plans that ensure we halve our emissions by 2030 and have carbon neutral economies by 2050.

The Paris Agreement on climate change allows us to do this, and its core elements are each country’s national pledges, called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Many countries are not on track to fulfill the promises they have made. Even if countries delivered on their NDCs, we would still miss the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

This is why we need countries to step up their promises and revise their NDCs to reflect and meet stronger climate targets. Key to this are a series of events where world leaders and decision-makers will gather to discuss more ambitious emission reduction targets and increased financial commitments, which will hopefully trigger a race to the top.

Climate change is running faster than we are, but this is still a race we can win.


Climate Action at UNDP


UNDP Climate Change Adaptation Portal
NDC Support Programme
SDG Finance Hub
Climate and Forests
Biodiversity and Ecosystems Management
NAP Global Support Programme
SDG Integration


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Leading on climate action

UNDP supports countries’ to meet both NDC and SDG targets and has a portfolio of climate projects in 140 countries. By providing expertise on governance, health, gender, youth and inclusive growth, we help countries to deliver on the promises made through the Paris Agreement. Taking a lead role in the ‘Joint UN Approach on NDC Support’ is also critical to this mission, and this approach has an emphasis on leveraging action from all sectors of society.

In practice, this means we work with countries to build coalitions and strengthen partnerships, especially with private sector, so we can set up the systems and capacities for transformational change. With the appropriate building blocks, we can then support countries to step up their NDC targets, reduce emissions, increase resilience to climate impacts, and protect our ecosystems and biodiversity.

Accelerate action on current NDCs by helping countries overcome barriers and turning their targets into tangible and achievable actions;

Advocate for more ambition and stronger climate targets for the next generation of NDCs; and

Mobilize society to both contribute to and call for climate action to meet NDC targets.

UNDP’s support in numbers: By 2030, UNDP will help 100 million people gain clean energy. We will restore 100 million hectares of degraded lands and conserve another 500 million hectares. By 2030, we will mobilize an additional US$3 billion for climate action in 100 countries.

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