United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

22 December 1989


                                                        85th plenary meeting
                                                        22 December 1989
             Protection of global climate for present
               and future generations of mankind
      The General Assembly,
      Recalling its resolution 43/53 of 6 December 1988, in which it recognized
 climate change as a common concern of mankind,
      Taking note of decision 15/36 of 25 May 1989 of the Governing Council of
 the United Nations Environment Programme on global climate change,
      Taking note of the message of the Chairman of the Conference on Saving
 the Ozone Layer, held in London from 5 to 7 March 1989, the Declaration of
 The Hague endorsed by 24 heads of State or Government or their representatives
 at The Hague 11 March 1989, the Helsinki Declaration on the Protection of
 the Ozone Layer adopted on 2 May 1989, the relevant parts of the Langkawi
 Declaration on Environment issued by the Commonwealth Heads of Government
 Meeting on 21 October 1989, the Declaration adopted at Noordwijk, the
 Netherlands, by the Ministerial Conference on Atmospheric Pollution and
 Climate Change, held on 6 and 7 November 1989, and relevant parts of the
 Caracas Declaration adopted at the special ministerial meeting of the Group of
 Seventy-seven, held at Caracas from 21 to 23 June 1989,
      Taking note of the relevant declarations and decisions adopted at
 intergovernmental regional meetings during 1989, including the Amazon
 Declaration, adopted by the Presidents of the States parties to the Treaty for
 Amazonian Co-operation at Manaus, Brazil, on 6 May 1989, the Declaration of
 Brasilia, issued at the Sixth Ministerial Meeting on the Environment in Latin
 America and the Caribbean, held at Brasilia on 30 and 31 March 1989, and
 the relevant parts of the Final Communique of the Twentieth South Pacific
 Forum, held at Tarawa, Kiribati,on 10 and 11 July 1989,
      Noting that, in the Economic Declaration adopted on 16 July 1989, in
 Paris at the Summit of the seven major industrial nations, the Heads of State
 or Government of those countries and the President of the Commission of the
 European Communities supported the decision of the World Meteorological
 Organization to establish a global reference network to detect climate change,
 agreed that a framework convention on climate was urgently required and
 recognized that specific protocols with commitments could develop within this
      Taking note of the final documents of the Ninth Conference of Heads of
 State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries, held at Belgrade from 4 to
 7 September 1989, 1which, inter alia, emphasized that necessary and timely
 action should be taken to deal with climate changes and their consequences
 within a global framework and, in this context, called for the preparation and
 adoption of a framework convention on climate on an urgent basis in conformity
 with General Assembly resolution 43/53,
      Recognizing the need for additional research and scientific studies into
 all sources, causes and effects of climate change,
      Noting the fact that the largest part of the current emission of
 pollutants into the environment originates in developed countries, and
 recognizing therefore that those countries have the main responsibility for
 combating such pollution,
      Recognizing the need for international collaboration with a view to
 adopting effective measures on the question of climate change, within a global
 framework and taking into account the particular needs and development
 priorities of developing countries,
      Concerned that the participation of the developing countries in the
 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change remains limited, and stressing the
 need for the Intergovernmental Panel, in view of its intergovernmental nature,
 to do all that it can to ensure adequate participation and governmental
 involvement in its activities in accordance with United Nations practice,
      1.   Emphasizes the need to address with urgency the question of climate
 change as reflected in the conclusions of various important international
      2.   Recommends that Governments, with due consideration for the need for
 increased scientific knowledge of the sources, causes and impact of climate
 change and of global, regional and local climates, continue and, wherever
 possible, increase their activities in support of the World Climate Programme
 and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, including the monitoring
 of atmospheric composition and climate conditions, and also recommends that
 the international community support efforts by developing countries to
 participate in these scientific activities;
      3.   Urges Governments, in keeping with their national policies,
 priorities and regulations, and intergovernmental organizations to collaborate
 in making every possible effort to limit, reduce and prevent activities that
 could adversely affect climate, and calls upon non-governmental organizations,
 industry and other productive sectors to play their due role;
      4.   Reaffirms that, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations
 and the principles of international law, States have the sovereign right to
 exploit their own resources in accordance with their environmental policies,
 and also reaffirms their responsibility to ensure that activities within their
 jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to the environment of other States
 or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction and to play their due
 role in preserving and protecting the global and regional environment in
 accordance with their capacities and specific responsibilities;
      5.   Reaffirms that, owing to its universal character, the United Nations
 system, through the General Assembly, is the appropriate forum for concerted
 political action on global environmental problems;
      6.   Welcomes the joint efforts of the World Meteorological Organization
 and the United Nations Environment Programme in providing support to the
 urgent work being undertaken by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
 and its three working groups established to assess scientific information on,
 and the social and economic impact of, climate change and to formulate
 response strategies;
      7.   Invites all Governments, as well as relevant intergovernmental and
 non-governmental organizations, to support fully and participate actively in
 the work of the Intergovernmental Panel;
      8.   Welcomes the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
 Change Trust Fund and the contributions made to it;
      9.   Urges the Intergovernmental Panel to take the necessary steps to
 ensure the participation of developing countries in scientific and policy
 aspects of its work, and calls upon the international community, in particular
 the developed countries, to consider contributing generously to the Trust
 Fund, with a view to financing the participation of experts designated by
 Governments of developing countries in all the meetings of the
 Intergovernmental Panel, including its working groups and subgroups;
      10.  Supports the request made by the Governing Council of the United
 Nations Environment Programme, in its decision 15/36, that the Executive
 Director of the Programme, in co-operation with the Secretary-General of the
 World Meteorological Organization, begin preparations for negotiations on a
 framework convention on climate, taking into account the work of the
 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well as the results achieved at
 international meetings on the subject, including the Second World Climate
 Conference, and recommends that such negotiations begin as soon as possible
 after the adoption of the interim report of the Intergovernmental Panel and
 that the General Assembly, at an early date during its forty-fifth session,
 take a decision recommending ways and means and modalities for pursuing these
 negotiations further, taking into account the work of the preparatory
 committee for the United Nations conference on environment and development to
 be held in 1992;
      11.  Requests the Secretary-General to circulate for the information of
 delegations the reports of the third and fourth plenary sessions of the
 Intergovernmental Panel, as well as its interim report, as official documents
 of the forty-fifth session of the General Assembly;
      12.  Urges Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental
 organizations and scientific institutions to collaborate in efforts to
 prepare, as a matter of urgency, a framework convention on climate and
 associated protocols containing concrete commitments in the light of
 priorities that may be authoritatively identified on the basis of sound
 scientific knowledge, and taking into account the specific development needs
 of developing countries;
      13.  Recommends that Governments and competent intergovernmental
 organizations consider, while awaiting the outcome of the negotiations, the
 range of possible options for averting the potentially damaging impact of
 climate change, for removing the causes of the phenomenon and for developing
 programmes for implementing those options which respond more appropriately to
 national needs as outlined in paragraphs 11 (a) to (f) of decision 15/36 of
 the Governing Council;
      14.  Encourages Governments and relevant international organizations to
 further the development of international funding mechanisms, taking account of
 proposals for a climate fund and other innovative ideas, bearing in mind the
 need to provide new and additional financial resources to support developing
 countries in identifying, analysing, monitoring, preventing and managing
 environmental problems, primarily at their source, in accordance with national
 development goals, objectives and plans, so as to ensure that development
 priorities are not adversely affected;
      15.  Decides that the concept of assured access for developing countries
 to environmentally sound technologies and assured transfer of those
 technologies to developing countries on favourable terms and the relation of
 that concept to intellectual property rights should be explored in the context
 of the elaboration of a framework convention on climate, with a view to
 developing effective responses to the needs of developing countries in this
      16.  Requests the Secretary-General, in the context of ongoing
 intergovernmental and other efforts in this field, to continue his support for
 the formulation and implementation of strategies to respond to climate change;
      17.  Also requests the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution
 to the attention of all Governments, as well as intergovernmental
 organizations, non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the
 Economic and Social Council and scientific institutions with expertise in
 matters concerning climate;
      18.  Further requests the Secretary-General to report to the General
 Assembly at its forty-fifth session on the progress achieved in the
 implementation of the present resolution;
      19.  Decides to include this question in the provisional agenda of its
 forty-fifth session, without prejudice to the application of the principle of