Press Release

UN University to Launch Postgraduate Degree Specialisation on the Paris Agreement

Developed in collaboration with UNFCCC, the new programme will commence in Autumn 2023.

GLASGOW, 4 November 2021 — The UN University (UNU) has begun developing a new postgraduate degree specialisation on the Paris Agreement on climate change, in collaboration with the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It will be the first of its kind to be offered by a UN organisation.

The master’s and doctoral degrees, to be delivered from Autumn 2023, will educate students and experts from across the globe, developing skills and knowledge to play a leading role in implementing the Paris Agreement — the 2015 commitment by the international community to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and strive for 1.5 degrees.

As the international community gathers in Glasgow for critical negotiations on efforts to avert the climate crisis, there is increasing recognition that education plays an essential role in the deep social transformation that is needed to deliver on the Paris Agreement and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

This specialisation aims to develop future leaders who will be at the forefront of these vital efforts. The initiative is led by the UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), a UN research and teaching institute based in Tokyo, Japan. It will build on the existing Master of Science in Sustainability and PhD in Sustainability Science programmes of UNU-IAS.

The new specialisation will focus on implementation of the mechanisms of the Paris Agreement, such as the enhanced transparency framework, nationally determined contributions, national adaptation planning process, global stocktake, and credit market mechanism. By strengthening national capacity in these areas it aims to become an essential means of implementation for the agreement.

“There is an urgent need for technical expertise and leadership in all countries to deliver on the promises made in the Paris Agreement,” said UNU Rector and UN Under-Secretary-General Dr. David M. Malone. “This new initiative will harness the power of education and research to accelerate climate solutions, particularly in developing countries that are on the front line of the climate crisis.”

UNU-IAS Director Prof. Shinobu Yume Yamaguchi emphasised that “this new specialised programme will add unique value to the existing postgraduate education programmes of our institute by fostering vital skills to bridge science and policy. It will contribute to advancing the transformative climate action that is needed across every sector in every country.”

UNU-IAS is in discussion with partners including UNFCCC to develop the specialisation through technical advice and outreach activities.

UNU-IAS plans to invite applications from prospective students by the end of 2022. The course is scheduled to launch in the Academic Year 2023–2024, which starts in September 2023.

Media Contacts

English: Nicholas Turner (

Japanese: Miwa Higashimuki (


The United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) is a research and teaching institute dedicated to realising a sustainable future for people and our planet. Based in Tokyo, Japan, UNU-IAS serves the international community by producing evidence-based knowledge and solutions to inform policymaking and address priority issues for the UN system. UNU-IAS conducts policy-oriented research and capacity development in four thematic areas: governance for sustainable development, biodiversity & society, water & resource management, and innovation & education. The institute offers postgraduate education that advances the broader transformation towards sustainability in society — producing the policymakers and researchers of tomorrow, who will be at the forefront of global efforts for sustainability. UNU-IAS offers master’s and doctoral degrees, postdoctoral fellowships, and innovative short courses, in close collaboration with leading universities in Japan and other countries.

About UNU

UNU-IAS is an institute of the United Nations University (UNU) with a specific mandate to address sustainability issues. UNU is a global think tank and postgraduate teaching organisation comprising 14 institutes, located in 12 different countries. Its mission is to contribute, through collaborative research and education, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare that are the concern of the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States. In carrying out this mission, UNU works with leading universities and research institutes in UN Member States, functioning as a bridge between the international academic community and the United Nations system. As part of the UN family of organisations, UNU maintains close working relationships with other UN agencies, programmes, commissions, funds and convention secretariats.

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