2015 was a pivotal year for global agreement on climate action. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction was endorsed by the UN General Assembly, 196 countries signed the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to no more than 2C, and 193 countries agreed to 17 sustainable development goals, including SDG 13 for climate action. 

4 min read | Last updated 5 March 2021

Future global warming and its consequences are a global risk. There are two contributing factors – the likelihood of occurrence and the vulnerability of people. The global response is therefore very simple: reduce these factors.

Three global agreements were adopted in 2015: the COP21 Paris Agreement, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes SDG 13 for climate action, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. In addition, the UN Security Council created a Climate Security Mechanism in 2018 to help systematically address climate-related security risks.

ResponseMeasuresAddressed by
Mitigate global warmingAbate GHG emissionsParis Agreement
SDG 13
Increase resilience to climate-related changeRisk assessment and adaptation planningParis Agreement
SDG 13
Share climate risk fairlyProvide international climate financeParis Agreement
SDG 13
Improve international securityUN Security Council
Risk reduction frameworkSDG 13
Sendai Framework

Paris Agreement

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has met annually at a Conference of the Parties (COP) since 1995, except in 2020 due to Covid-19. The Paris Agreement is an historic global agreement on climate action that was signed by 196 countries at the COP21 climate change conference in 2015 in Paris. The UNFCCC COP26 will be held in Glasgow in November 2021, at which it is hoped that even greater global commitment can be agreed.

Article 2 of the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC, 2015 (pdf)) states that it ‘aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by:

  • holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2C above pre industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C above pre industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change
  • increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production
  • making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development

Under a ratchet mechanism, countries are required to update their target to reduce their share of global emissions, known as a nationally determined contribution (NDC), every five years.

Sustainable Development Goals : SDG13

The SDGs are a set of 17 interlinked global goals, known as the UN 2030 Agenda, that were agreed by 193 member states of the United Nations at an historic Sustainable Development Summit in New York in 2015. Climate action is a key aim of the UN 2030 Agenda encapsulated in SDG13, which has five targets and 8 indicators, most of which are focused on disaster reduction and adaptation measures.

The indicators are:

  1. (13.1.1) number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies
  2. (13.1.2) number of deaths, missing persons and persons affected by disaster per 100,000 people
  3. (13.1.3) proportion of local governments that adopt and implement local disaster risk reduction strategies in line with national disaster risk reduction strategies
  4. (13.2.1) number of countries that have communicated the establishment or operationalisation of an integrated policy/strategy/plan which increases their ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development in a manner that does not threaten food production (including a national adaptation plan, nationally determined contribution, national communication, biennial update report or other)
  5. (13.3.1) number of countries that have integrated mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning into primary, secondary and tertiary curricula
  6. (13.3.2) number of countries that have communicated the strengthening of institutional, systemic and individual capacity-building to implement adaptation, mitigation and technology transfer, and development actions
  7. (13.a.1) mobilised amount of US$/yr starting in 2020 accountable towards the $100 billion commitment
  8. (13.b.1) number of least developed countries and small island developing States that are receiving specialized support

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

Nothing undermines development like a disaster. The world has been stuck in a vicious cycle of disaster > response > dependency > repeat. But every US$1 invested in risk reduction and prevention can save up to US$15 in post-disaster recovery and every US$1 invested in making infrastructure disaster-resilient saves US$4 in reconstruction.
- Mami Mizutori, Head of UNDRR

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction aims to to prevent new and reduce existing disaster risk through a variety of measures that prevent and reduce hazard exposure, reduce vulnerability to disaster and increase resilience.

There are four priorities:

  1. Understanding disaster risk
  2. Strengthening disaster risk governance
  3. Investing in disaster reduction
  4. Enhancing disaster preparedness

Seven targets are split between four that are outcome focused and three that are input focused.

Outcome-focused targets

  1. Substantially reduce global disaster mortality by 2030, aiming to lower average per 100,000 global mortality between 2020-2030 compared to 2005-2015;
  2. Substantially reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030, aiming to lower the average global figure per 100,000 between 2020-2030 compared to 2005-2015;
  3. Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product by 2030;
  4. Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030;

Input-focused targets

  1. Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020
  2. Substantially enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of the framework by 2030
  3. Substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030.