Evolution of the Declaration

UNESCO’s development of a standard setting instrument regarding ethical principles in relation to climate change has been proposed on several occasions, notably by the World Commission on Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST).

Timeline of its preparation

38th session of the UNESCO General Conference, November 2015 (UNESCO headquarters, Paris, France)

  • The 195 Member States of UNESCO decided by consensus that it was desirable that the ethics of climate change should be addressed by a declaration.
  • The General Conference invited the Director-General “to prepare … a preliminary text of a non-binding declaration on ethical principles in relation to climate change” that should be submitted to its 39th session in 2017.

    Read 38 C/Resolution 42, found in the records of the 38th General Conference : Arabic / Chinese / English / French / Russian / Spanish

199th session of the UNESCO Executive Board, May 2016 (UNESCO headquarters, Paris, France)

First Draft is prepared by an Ad Hoc Expert Group on 24 September 2016 (Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco)

Consultations with 195 Member States by written procedure, 17 October 2016 – 1 February 2017

  • Inclusive consultations with all UNESCO Member States are pursued by written procedure.
  • 36 Member States respond with comments.
  • In April 2017, the AHEG prepared a revised draft that takes into account the comments of Member States received in these consultations.

    Consult the circular letter that launched the Member States’ consultations: English / French

    Download the AHEG’s revised draft after these first consultations with states:
    Arabic / Chinese / English / French / Russian / Spanish

An Intergovernmental Meeting, 27-30 June 2017 (UNESCO headquarters, Paris France)

  • All 195 Member States of UNESCO and states that are Associate Members, as well as a long list of invited observers, meet in an intergovernmental meeting, in order to deepen inclusive consultations (as decided in 199 EX/Decision 5.I.B).

    This intergovernmental meeting prepares a preliminary text of a new declaration of ethical principles in relation to climate change, for its submission to the 39th UNESCO General Conference.

    More information on the meeting and documents ...

202nd session of the UNESCO Executive Board, 4-18 October 2017 (UNESCO headquarters, Paris, France)

  • 58 Member States examine the preliminary text, and adopt a recommendation on it addressed to the General Conference.

Declaration adopted

The declaration is adopted by UNESCO's General Conference at its 39th session, on 13 November 2017.

Back to top