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Climate Change & Energy 

United Nations Conferences

All of the UN conferences of the 1990s are interrelated in terms of sustainable development themes. Whether referred to directly or indirectly, these inter-linkages should be recognised and used to avoid duplication of work. Looking at energy and climate change some of the explicit and implicit references in the conference documents are outlined below.  

UNCED (Earth Summit, Rio 1992) and UNCED + 5 (1997)  


Documents: Agenda 21 (French / Spanish)  

                      Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21  


Energy and climate change are covered extensively in Agenda 21, particularly in the flowing chapters: ‘Protection of the Atmosphere’, ‘Combating Deforestation’ and ‘Agriculture and Rural Development’. Modern clean energy technology is particularly relevant to Chapter 34 ‘Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology, Cooperation and Capacity-building’. The chapters pertaining to human health, human settlement development, land resources, desertification and drought, sustainable mountain development, and oceans are also intrinsically related.  


The sections on Energy, Transport and Atmosphere in The Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21 are all specifically relevant. It was decided at the UNCED +5 review to make Atmosphere & Energy the sectoral themes, and Energy & Transport the economic sector, for discussion at the 9th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development in 2001.


United Nations International Conference on Population & Development (1994)  


Document: Programme of Action,  

Specifically: Chapter 3: Interrelationships Between Population, Sustained Economic Growth and Sustainable Development


A discussion relating the implementation of population policies and the meeting of basic needs. Energy provision for the meeting of basic needs, as well as allowing time and resources for economic and educational developments which would in turn promote lower birth rates, is vital.


Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (1994)


Document: Programme of Action


Specifically: Chapter 1: Climate Change & Sea Level Rise; Chapter 7: Energy Resources; Chapter 1: Climate Change & Sea Level Rise “Small Island Developing States are particularly vulnerable to global climate change, climate variability and sea level rise. As their population, agricultural land and infrastructure tend to be concentrated in the coastal zone, any rise in sea level will have significant and profound effects on their economies and living conditions; the very survival of certain low-lying countries will be threatened.”; Chapter 7: Energy Resources “Small island developing States are currently heavily dependent on imported petroleum products, largely for transport and electricity generation, energy often accounting for more than 12 per cent of imports. They are also heavily dependent on indigenous biomass fuels for cooking and crop drying…Small island developing States will continue to be heavily dependent on petroleum fuels and biomass both in the short and medium term. However, the current uses of those fuels tend to be highly inefficient.”


World Summit on Social Development (1995) 


Document: Programme of Action (French / Spanish)  

Specifically: Chapter 2, B, 31,a  


“Improving availability and accessibility of transportation, communication, power and energy services at the local or community level, in particular for isolated, remote and marginalized communities.” 


Fourth World Conference on Women (1995) 


Document: Platform for Action

Specifically: Chapter 4, section K: Women & the Environment, paragraphs 246 – 258


A discussion of the vital role women have to play in sustainable development – in relation to energy issues this particularly relates to domestic production and consumption choices, natural resource management, promotion of environmental ethics (i.e. reducing resource use and recycling to minimize waste and excessive consumption), and community infrastructure design. It recognises the adverse effects domestic situations can have on women’s health, education and economic productivity – which can all be related to energy concerns (and climate change). Note particularly Strategic Objective K.1. 253 d “Take appropriate measures to reduce risks to women from identified environmental hazards at home, at work and in other environments, including appropriate application of clean technologies, taking into account the precautionary approach…”


United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (HABITAT II) (1996)


Document: HABITAT Agenda

Specifically: Chapter 4.C.6: Sustainable Energy Use (French / Spanish)


145 “The use of energy is essential in urban centres for transportation, industrial production, and household and office activities. Current dependence in most urban centres on non-renewable energy sources can lead to climate change, air pollution and consequent environmental and human health problems, and may represent a serious threat to sustainable development.”


World Summit on Food Security (1996)  


Document: Plan of Action (French / Spanish / Arabic / Chinese)


Point 7 “Unless national governments and the international community address the multifaceted causes underlying food insecurity, the number of hungry and malnourished people will remain very high in developing countries, particularly in Africa south of the Sahara; and sustainable food security will not be achieved…” Climate change’s impact on (amongst others) desertification, pollution, forced migration due to environmental conditions, biodiversity, freshwater, rural livelihoods, education, health and poverty amplifies these underlying causes of food insecurity. 


Commitment 3, 24 “The resource base for food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry is under stress and is threatened by problems such as desertification, deforestation, over-fishing, overcapacity and discards in fisheries, losses of biodiversity, as well as inefficient use of water, climate change and depletion of the ozone layer.”


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