The widely held view amongst professionals is that ground instability and landslide risks are likely to increase as a result of climate change (e.g. rainfall intensity, rainfall total, increased seasonality) as well as a result of population growth and human activity. It will become harder to find solutions that are technically achievable, sustainable and affordable. As populations grow and infrastructure becomes more concentrated the impacts of ground instability and landslides on economies and populations will be magnified. Although more fatalities occur in less developed, mountainous countries that experience high rainfall, fatalities and major infrastructure damage are likely to increase across Europe, the USA and Hong Kong, amongst other developed countries. A better understanding of the risks and use of knowledge to inform the planning process, together with better public information and engagement approaches by regional and local government will help to reduce the increasing human and economic costs associated with ground instability and landslides. The paper presents a global perspective of the nature, scale and impact of landslides on global society in the context of climate change. It also looks at the role of the United Nations supporting landslide risk reduction and planning for change in landslide-prone areas.