Paris Agreement: A Thirteen Point Summary

epa05066822 French President Francois Hollande (2-R), Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Christiana Figueres (L), French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (C) and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (2-L) after the adoption of the COP21 final agreement at the plenary session room at the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, 12 December 2015. The 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) was held in Paris from 30 November to 12 December. EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON NYTCREDIT: Christophe Petit Tesson/European Pressphoto Agency
“French President Francois Hollande (2-R), Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Christiana Figueres (L), French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (C) and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (2-L) after the adoption of the COP21 final agreement at the plenary session room at the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, 12 December 2015. The 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) was held in Paris from 30 November to 12 December. EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON NYTCREDIT: Christophe Petit Tesson/European Pressphoto Agency”  Source: New York Times

Today 195 countries expressed their resolve to act on climate change by adopting a long awaited climate change accord. The accord is by all means historic as it comes at a time when climate change – acting as a threat multiplier – presents one of the greatest challenges to human security particularly in sub-saharan Africa in the 21st century. This piece presents a thirteen point summary of key provisions of the historic climate change accord as follows:

The accord is officially known as the Paris Agreement; arrived on at the close of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on December 12 2015 in Paris, France.

It seeks to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change through: keeping global average temperature well below 20 C above pre-industrial levels; and limiting temperature increase to 1.50 C above pre-industrial levels.

It is based on an equity ideal and principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and capacities, which is reflective of global realities within and between countries. Basically, all countries now have a responsibility to act on climate change.

It requires developed countries to provide financial resources to assist developing countries meet their climate change adaptation and mitigation goals; and relies on the UNFCCC’s financial mechanism to achieve this.

It also requires all Parties to prepare and submit nationally determined contributions, which will be recorded in a public registry by the UNFCCC’s secretariat.

It establishes a global goal on adaptation focused on enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.

It also establishes a technology framework to guide the work of the technology mechanism of the UNFCCC.

It recognizes that capacity building should be country driven, based on and responsive to national needs, and foster country ownership particularly in the case of developing countries.

It establishes a transparency framework to guide the implementation of its provisions so as to enhance mutual trust and confidence among Parties to the Convention as well as Parties to the Paris Agreement.

It recognizes the essence of monitoring and evaluation and has set the first global stocktaking of the implementation of the Paris Agreement for 2023. Subsequent stocktaking is set to be done after every five years unless otherwise decided by a Conference of Parties to Paris Agreement.

It shall be open for signature at the United Nations headquarters in New York from April 22, 2016 to April 21, 2017. A day after the close of the signature period it will be open for accession.

The Agreement will come into force on the thirtieth day after the date when at least 55 Parties to the UNFCCC have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

Last but not least, it is non-binding and Parties to UNFCCC are not necessarily automatically Parties to the Paris Agreement. Parties can withdraw from the Agreement. Moreover, Parties to the Paris Agreement and UNFCCC who choose to withdraw from UNFCCC shall be considered to have withdrawn from the Paris Agreement.

Click here to download the Paris Agreement.

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