Law and Climate Change Toolkit

The Law and Climate Change Toolkit

The Law and Climate Change Toolkit is an online and open database being developed by a partnership among the UN Climate Change secretariat, UN Environment, and the Commonwealth Secretariat working in close collaboration with partner countries, other international organizations and research institutions. The toolkit aims to provide a global resource to help countries put in place the legal frameworks necessary for effective domestic implementation of the Paris Agreement and their nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

The toolkit is designed for the use by national governments, international organizational and experts engaged in assisting countries to implement national climate change laws, as well as academia and research institutions that are undertaking analysis of the growing body of climate change-related legislation throughout the world. The key features of the toolkit include functionalities to search existing climate change-related legislation and to undertake an assessment of a selected country’s legislation. As the development of the toolkit progresses, and more experience with NDCs and existing climate laws is gained, the toolkit will increasingly collect documentation of successes and challenges, and make available information on good practices and lessons learned across the different fields of climate law-making.

The toolkit will be developed in phases. The first phase focuses on a limited subset of general climate laws and some examples from the energy sector, which are reflected in the current beta version of the toolkit. It is envisaged that in 2018-2019, the toolkit will broaden in scope to progressively include all other sectors that are relevant to addressing climate change. In line with the global geographical scope of the toolkit, while the first phase will focus on material available in English, the goal is to expand the functionality and data in the toolkit to other official UN languages. The partner organizations seek to work with international organizations, research institutions and pilot countries interested in testing the toolkit in their domestic legislative efforts. The experience gained and the feedback will, in turn, help to ensure that the toolkit responds to the needs of countries, allow to improve and expand the toolkit and may also inform its future “lessons learned” component.


The toolkit provides a guided experience for users and offers a variety of functionalities under three interlinked, but independent, main components supported by a back-end climate legislation database.

1. The search function: Legislation explorer

Building on existing databases, the toolkit will provide access to climate change related legislation, both within overarching climate change laws and sectoral legislation, from around the world. Through the search function, users will be able to search for relevant laws and provisions by way of a free text search and/or the use of a guided taxonomy including legal areas and cross-cutting categories. To enhance the relevance of information provided by the toolkit, users will be also able to filter results by country, promulgation year of the legislation and type of legislation.

2. The assessment component: Assessment questions, areas of improvement analysis, suggested examples

In addition to the search function, the legal assessment functionality of the toolkit provides the user with the opportunity to undertake a review of a selected country’s legislation in order to identify potential areas for improvement. This function of the toolkit is designed to help users identify priority areas for climate law review and potential areas of legislative or regulatory reform. After going through a set of interactive assessment questions covering a broad range of aspects related to one or more chosen broad areas of laws, users will be presented with specific aspects and issues that might require attention in climate change related law-making at the national level. The user will be provided with suggestions pointing to relevant legislative examples from other countries. Results can further be tailored according to contextual factors relevant for the assessed country, such as type of legal system, population, GDP, emissions profile, adaptation priorities or focus areas for mitigation (e.g. according to a country’s NDC). The assessment is not intended to be prescriptive but to offer options and examples for the user to draw on.

3. Collecting experience: Lessons learned explorer

In the mid- and longer term, the first two functionalities will be complemented by options to view lessons learned and experience gained with existing climate laws. Users will be able to obtain information on how provisions from national laws are being applied and ‘what works’ in climate law in different countries around the world. It is envisaged that over time, more and more experience and lessons learned in the various thematic legal areas can be gathered and a growing ‘community of practice’ be built up.

Contributing Partners

We would like to thank the following contributing partners for their support in the preparation of the beta version of the Toolkit: