United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

6 December 1988


                                                       70th plenary meeting
                                                       6 December 1988
Protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind
     The General Assembly,
     Welcoming with appreciation the initiative taken by the Government of
Malta in proposing for consideration by the Assembly the item entitled
"Conservation of climate as part of the common heritage of mankind",
     Concerned that certain human activities could change global climate
patterns, threatening present and future generations with potentially severe
economic and social consequences,
     Noting with concern that the emerging evidence indicates that continued
growth in atmospheric concentrations of "greenhouse" gases could produce
global warming with an eventual rise in sea levels, the effects of which could
be disastrous for mankind if timely steps are not taken at all levels,
     Recognizing the need for additional research and scientific studies into
all sources and causes of climate change,
     Concerned also that emissions of certain substances are depleting the
ozone layer and thereby exposing the earth's surface to increased ultra-violet
radiation, which may pose a threat to, inter alia, human health, agricultural
productivity and animal and marine life, and reaffirming in this context the
appeal, contained in its resolution 42/182 of 11 December 1987, to all States
that have not yet done so to consider becoming parties to the Vienna
Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, adopted on 22 March 1985,
and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, adopted
on 16 September 1987, as soon as possible,
     Recalling its resolutions 42/186 and 42/187 of 11 December 1987 on the
Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond and on the report of the
World Commission on Environment and Development, respectively,
     Convinced that changes in climate have an impact on development,
     Aware that a considerable amount of valuable work, particularly at the
scientific level and in the legal field, has already been initiated on climate
change, in particular by the United Nations Environment Programme, the World
Meteorological Organization and the International Council of Scientific Unions
and under the auspices of individual States,
     Welcoming the convening in 1990 of a second World Climate Conference,
     Recalling also the conclusions of the meeting held at Villach, Austria,
in 1985, which, inter alia, recommended a programme on climate change to be
promoted by Governments and the scientific community with the collaboration of
the World Meteorological Organization, the United Nations Environment
Programme and the International Council of Scientific Unions,
     Convinced that climate change affects humanity as a whole and should be
confronted within a global framework so as to take into account the vital
interests of all mankind,
     1.   Recognizes that climate change is a common concern of mankind, since
climate is an essential condition which sustains life on earth;
     2.   Determines that necessary and timely action should be taken to deal
with climate change within a global framework;
     3.   Reaffirms its resolution 42/184 of 11 December 1987, in which,
inter alia, it agreed with the Governing Council of the United Nations
Environment Programme that the Programme should attach importance to the
problem of global climate change and that the Executive Director of the United
Nations Environment Programme should ensure that the Programme co-operates
closely with the World Meteorological Organization and the International
Council of Scientific Unions and maintains an active, influential role in the
World Climate Programme;
     4.   Considers that activities in support of the World Climate Programme,
approved by the Congress and Executive Council of the World Meteorological
Organization and elaborated in the system-wide medium-term environment
programme for the period 1990-1995, which was approved by the Governing
Council of the United Nations Environment Programme,be accorded high
priority by the relevant organs and programmes of the United Nations system;
     5.   Endorses the action of the World Meteorological Organization and the
United Nations Environment Programme in jointly establishing an
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to provide internationally
co-ordinated scientific assessments of the magnitude, timing and potential
environmental and socio-economic impact of climate change and realistic
response strategies, and expresses appreciation for the work already initiated
by the Panel;
     6.   Urges Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental
organizations and scientific institutions to treat climate change as a
priority issue, to undertake and promote specific, co-operative
action-oriented programmes and research so as to increase understanding on all
sources and causes of climate change, including its regional aspects and
specific time-frames as well as the cause and effect relationship of human
activities and climate, and to contribute, as appropriate, with human and
financial resources to efforts to protect the global climate;
     7.   Calls upon all relevant organizations and programmes of the United
Nations system to support the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
     8.   Encourages the convening of conferences on climate change,
particularly on global warming, at the national, regional and global levels in
order to make the international community better aware of the importance of
dealing effectively and in a timely manner with all aspects of climate change
resulting from certain human activities;
     9.   Calls upon Governments and intergovernmental organizations to
collaborate in making every effort to prevent detrimental effects on climate
and activities which affect the ecological balance, and also calls upon
non-governmental organizations, industry and other productive sectors to play
their due role;
     10.  Requests the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological
Organization and the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment
Programme, through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, immediately
to initiate action leading, as soon as possible, to a comprehensive review and
recommendations with respect to:
     (a)  The state of knowledge of the science of climate and climatic
     (b)  Programmes and studies on the social and economic impact of climate
change, including global warming;
     (c)  Possible response strategies to delay, limit or mitigate the impact
of adverse climate change;
     (d)  The identification and possible strengthening of relevant existing
international legal instruments having a bearing on climate;
     (e)  Elements for inclusion in a possible future international convention
on climate;
     11.  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 well-established scientific institutions with
expertise in matters concerning climate;
     12.  Further requests the Secretary-General to report to the General
Assembly at its forty-fourth session on the implementation of the present
     13.  Decides to include this question in the provisional agenda of its
forty-fourth session, without prejudice to the application of the principle of