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 Standard 2: Climate Change Mitigation and Ad​​​​​​aptation


Climate change is a fundamental threat to sustainable dev​elopment an​d the fight against poverty. It has the potential ​to stall and even reverse hum​an developm​ent through its impacts on key development sectors and activities, including agriculture and food production, water, ecosystems and other natural resources, disaster risk management and health. Climate change may exacerbate extreme weather events, increasing the risk of high-impact disasters. Communities that are already subjected to impacts from climate change may experience an acceleration and/or intensification of impacts due to Project activities that do not integrate and anticipate climate change risks.

UNDP supports countries to integrate low-emission, climate-resilient objectives into national and sectoral development plans, identify priority mitigation and adaptation (41) measures, implement measures to reduce vulnerability and increase adaptive capacity and resilience.

UNDP will ensure that its Projects are sensitive to climate change risks and do not contribute to increased vulnerability to climate change. (42) UNDP mobilizes resources to support Programme countries to finance their national adaptation costs.

UNDP strengthens the participation of women in decision-making processes on climate adaptation, mitigation and disaster risk reduction. UNDP supports countries to ensure that disaster risk reduction, climate mitigation and adaptation programmes specifically support women to strengthen their resilience, in part by securing rights and tenure to land, housing and other assets.


  • To ensure that UNDP Projects are sensitive to climate change risks in order to achieve sustainable development outcomes

  • To reduce Project-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and intensity

Scope of Application

The applicability of this Standard is established during the social and environmental screening and categorization process. Requirements of this Standard apply to all Projects that (i) may produce significant GHG emissions; (ii) have development outcomes that may be threatened by climate change; or (iii) may contribute to increased exposure and/or vulnerability to climate change.​


Climate change risk assessment: As an integral part of the social and environmental assessment process, UNDP will ensure that proposed activities are screened and assessed for climate change-related risks and impacts of and to Projects. UNDP will ensure that the status and adequacy of relevant climatic information is identified. If significant potential risks are identified, further scoping and assessment of vulnerability, potential impacts, and avoidance and mitigation measures, including consideration of alternatives to reduce potential risks, will be required. The climate change risk assessment will examine:

​a) Potential Project-related increases in emissions that may exacerbate climate change, such as GHG emissions and black carbon emissions. (43)

b) The viability or longer-term sustainability of Project outcomes due to potential climate change. This will involve the identification of components that are sensitive or vulnerable to emerging or anticipated manifestations of climate change.

c) Risks that a Project may increase exposure to climate change. Project components must be assessed for potential unintended or unforeseen increases in vulnerability to climate change.

d) Potential social, gender, and age risks, based on the differentiated impacts of climate change.

e) Opportunities for (i) facilitating adaptation via synergies with existing or planned activities, (ii) combining mitigation (e.g. reduction in GHG emissions) and adaptation measures, and (iii) exploiting potentially beneficial changes in climatic or environmental conditions to deliver developmental benefits.

​Greenhouse gases (GH​Gs): (44) UNDP will seek to ensure that alternatives are considered and that technically and financially feasible and cost-effective options (45) to reduce Project-related GHG emissions and intensity are adopted, in a manner appropriate to the nature and scale of the Project’s operations and impacts. Alternative options may include, but are not limited to, alternative Project locations, adoption of renewable or low-carbon energy sources, and sustainable agricultural, forestry, and livestock management practices. For Projects that are expected to produce significant quantities of greenhouse gases, (46) UNDP will ensure that emissions are tracked and reported in accordance with provisions of the UNFCCC. (47)​​​​​​​​
​(41) Adaptation is an adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits​ beneficial opportunities.
(42) At times referred to as maladaptation, defined as “business-as-usual development which, by overlooking climate change impacts, inadvertently increases exposure and/or vulnerability to climate change. Maladaptation could also include actions undertaken to adapt to climate impacts that do not succeed in reducing vulnerability but increase it instead.” OECD, Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Development Co-operation: Policy Guidance 2009, available at
(43) Black carbon (BC) is a primary aerosol emitted directly at the source from incomplete combustion processes such as fossil fuel and biomass burning.
(44) GHGs include carbon dioxide (C02); methane (CH4); nitrous oxide (N2O); hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs); perfluorocarbons (PFCs); and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), as well as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). See UNFCCC, available at​.
(45) Technical feasibility means the proposed measures and actions can be implemented with commercially viable skills, equipment and materials, taking into consideration prevailing local factors such as climate, geography, demography, infrastructure, security, governance, capacity and operational reliability. Financial feasibility means the ability to apply sufficient financial resources to install the measures and maintain them in operation in the long term. Cost- effectiveness is determined according to the capital and operational costs and also the financial benefits of the measure, considered over its lifespan.
(46) The significance threshold to be considered for these requirements is generally more than 25,000 tonnes of CO2- equivalent per year for the aggregate emissions of direct and indirect sources. The quantification of emissions should consider all significant sources of GHG emissions, including non-energy related sources such as methane and nitrous oxide, among others.
(47) Estimation methodologies are provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, various international organizations, and relevant national agencies. Sectors most likely to emit significant quantities of GHGs include energy, transport, cement production, iron and steel manufacturing, aluminum smelting, petrochemical industries, petroleum refining, fertilizer manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and waste management.