The United Nations system works to strengthen national institutions and human capacity to better analyze the impacts of climate change, develop courses of action for greater resilience and implement relevant adaptation and mitigation activities.

The need for capacity building to assist national authorities, especially in developing countries, to respond to climate change has long been recognized in the UNFCCC work. Capacity building cuts across many of the issues under consideration in the climate change process and has featured in several decisions of the COP and of UN system governing bodies, which serve as a broad framework for relevant UN system activities.

These activities prioritize support for all stages of national planning — from assessing climate change impacts and available responses, to setting policy and implementing institutional changes, to making informed investment decisions, accessing additional sources of finance and implementing critical activities for adaptation and mitigation. Emphasis is placed on ensuring that capacity building is issue-based and country-driven, tailoring strategies to reflect regional, national and local needs. Customization of global knowledge for local conditions and building on local knowledge to guide global responses and action is another guiding principle for UN system activities related to capacity building.

The UN is currently taking action in a number of critical areas to support capacity building to address climate change, including: