In February 1991 the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change launched negotiations for an international treaty on climate change in Washington D.C. Over a period of two years, the working group laid the groundwork for what would become the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Their work culminated in 1992 when the Convention was opened for signature at the Earth’s Summit in Rio de Janeiro; by June 1993 the Convention had already received 166 signatures.
To offer an inclusive picture of the work of the Negotiating Committee during those formative years, the Dag Hammarskjöld Library has digitized official and unofficial foundation papers from its archives. Published between 1991 and 1993, these historical documents include meeting records, provisional agendas, annotations, monetary contributions, and a list of participants. As of this month 150 new digital copies including fragile print documents are freely available on the UN Digital Library.
The Framework Convention on Climate Change is a significant document because of the acknoledgment by the international community that human pollution and high greenhouse gases threaten the Earth’s atmosphere. Its objective is to protect the ozone layer and to stabilize and reduce the concentration of greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the treaty provides the foundation for later multilateral actions, such as the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.
On 23 September 2019 world leaders of will meet once more for the Climate Action Summit in New York and discuss the life-threatening impacts of climate change. Anyone interested in the history of climate change negotiations can view and download foundation papers related to the UNFCCC on the UN Digital Library. To learn more about the topic, explore the Library’s Research Guide on Climate Change.
Other digitized series include:
- Yearbook on Human Rights (1946-1988)
- General Assembly: Annotated agenda list (1946-1971)
- Charter of the United Nations (39 languages)
- United Nations Conference on International Organization documents (San Francisco Conference, 22 volumes)
- United Nations Blue Book Series (1994-1996)
- Report of the Commission on the Status of Women (1947-1992)
- Report of UNICEF Executive Board (1946-1993)
- Report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme (1966-1993)
- UN Statistical Yearbooks (1948-2017)