UNFCCC: Bringing the Paris Agreement into Force – Next Steps and National Climate Plans

On 12 December 2015, countries under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted the Paris Agreement.

The legal nature of this new, international agreement requires the following actions and steps to bring it into force. How the large number of national climate plans will be handled in relation to the agreement is also explained below.

In addition, the Legal Affairs programme of the UNFCCC secretariat has prepared a legal version of these steps for readers who require the important, detailed formal wording and terminology that relates to this major international agreement.

The text of the Paris Agreement is found annexed to the decision that officially adopted the agreement at the UN Climate Change conference in Paris (COP 21) and is available in all six official UN languages.

The English version of the final report of COP 21 is expected to be published shortly and this will be made available on the UNFCCC website and also announced through the UNFCCC Newsroom. The report is expected to be available in the other UN languages by the end of February.

Entry into Force

The Agreement shall enter into force on the 30th day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 % of total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the Depositary. The Secretary-General of the United Nations will act as the Depositary of the Agreement.

To this end, the UNFCCC secretariat has made available information on the most up-to-date total and per cent of greenhouse gas emissions communicated by Parties to the Convention on the website on the date of adoption of the Agreement.

Next Steps

The authentic text of the Paris Agreement in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish, will be transmitted by the UNFCCC Executive Secretary to the Treaty Section of the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations in New York as soon as it becomes available.

Following this, certified true copies will be distributed to all Parties to the Convention and the Paris Agreement will open for signature at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 22 April, 2016 to 21 April, 2017.

The UN Secretary-General is convening a high-level signature ceremony for the Paris Agreement on 22 April, 2016 and is inviting all Parties to the Convention to sign the agreement at this ceremony, or at their earliest opportunity.

National Climate Plans

Meanwhile, the agreement also includes a change in status of the intended national climate action plans which almost all countries submitted to the UN ahead of Paris. These intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs), which detail what each country intends to contribute towards reducing global emissions, are set to become nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

Parties to the agreement should communicate their first NDC no later than when the respective instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession has been submitted.

If a country has already submitted its INDC before joining the agreement, then that INDC will be considered the country’s first NDC, unless it indicates otherwise.

Moreover, a country has the opportunity of submitting a more ambitious NDC, before it submits or when submitting its respective instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

About the UNFCCC

With 196 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 192 of the UNFCCC Parties. For the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, 37 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments. In Doha in 2012, the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol adopted an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, which establishes the second commitment period under the Protocol. The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

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Quelle: Mitteilung vom UNFCCC vom 29.01.2016