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Global Community

UNFCCC

Background

"Concerned that human activities have been substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, that these increases enhance the natural greenhouse effect, and that this will result on average in an additional warming of the Earth's surface and atmosphere and may adversely affect natural ecosystems and humankind," February, 1972, Geneva, Switzerland by the WMO (World Meteorological Organization).

During the conference, the effects of greenhouse gases on climate and greenhouse gas measurements were discussed. From the results of such investigations, the need for reducing emission levels was brought up. Also, the eventual necessity of an international organization that could coordinate the different positions of countries involved and the required actions based on scientific research of climate changes became imminent.

Main Content of the Convention

  • Consists of preamble and 26 articles.
  • General requirements
    All Parties are required to promote and cooperate in the development, application and diffusion, including transfer, of technologies, practices and processes that control, reduce or prevent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. All Parties also must report on the steps they are taking to implement the convention.
  • Special requirements
    Developed countries and other Parties included in Annex I should aim to return to their 1990 emission levels of greenhouse gases. Developed countries and other Parties included in Annex II shall also assist developing countries in meeting costs and in technical aspects of adaptation to those adverse effects.

Basic Principles of the Convention (Article 3.)

  • The Parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Accordingly, the developed country Parties should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof.
  • The specific needs and special circumstances of developing country Parties, especially those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, and of those Parties, especially developing country Parties, that would have to bear a disproportionate or abnormal burden under the Convention, should be given full consideration.
  • The Parties should take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects.Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing such measures, taking into account that policies and measures to deal with climate change should be cost-effective so as to ensure global benefits at the lowest possible cost. To achieve this, such policies and measures should take into account different socio-economic contexts, be comprehensive, cover all relevant sources, sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases and adaptation, and comprise all economic sectors. Efforts to address climate change may be carried out cooperatively by interested Parties.
  • The Parties have a right to, and should, promote sustainable development. Policies and measures to protect the climate system against human-induced change should be appropriate for the specific conditions of each Party and should be integrated with national development programs, taking into account that economic development is essential for adopting measures to address climate change.
  • The Parties should cooperate to promote a supportive and open international economic system that would lead to sustainable economic growth and development in all Parties, particularly developing country Parties, thus enabling them better to address the problems of climate change. Measures taken to combat climate change, including unilateral ones, should not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade.

Main content for each article of UNFCCC

Main content for each article of UNFCCC table
NO. Articles United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change
1 DEFINITIONS
  • Definitions of terms.
2 OBJECTIVE
  • The objective of the convention is a stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
3 PRINCIPLES
  • The role of developed countries on the basis of historical responsibilities. Respecting special needs and special circumstances of developing countries. Need for taking precautionary measures.
4 COMMITMENTS
  • Submit national inventories of anthropogenic emissions of all greenhouse gases.
  • Annex I countries should commit themselves to stabilize the level of greenhouse gas emissions to their 1990 levels by 2000.
  • Annex II countries shall provide financial and technical resources for the developing countries.
  • The Conference of the Parties shall review, not later than 31 December 1998, available information with a view to taking decisions regarding such amendments to the lists in Annexes I and II.
  • Any Party not included in Annex I may join Annex II voluntarily.
5 RESEARCH AND SYSTEMATIC OBSERVATION
  • Support efforts to strengthen systematic observation and national scientific and technical research capacities and capabilities, particularly in developing countries.
6 EDUCATION, TRAINING AND PUBLIC AWARENESS
  • Promote and facilitate at the national, subregional and regional levels, educational programmes and information exchanges.
7 CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES
  • The Conference of the Parties, as the supreme body of this Convention, shall be held every year unless otherwise decided by the Conference of the Parties
8 SECRETARIAT
  • The functions of the secretariat: to provide parties with services as required.
9 SUBSIDIARY BODY FOR SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE
  • Role of subsidiary body
  • Provide assessments of the state of scientific knowledge relating to climate change and its effects.
  • Provide advice on scientific programmes.
  • Respond to scientific, technological and methodological questions.
10 SUBSIDIARY BODIES FOR IMPLEMENTATION
  • Role of subsidiary body for implementation
  • Consider the information communicated.
  • Assist the Conference of the Parties in the preparation and implementation of its decisions.
11 FINANCIAL MECHANISM
  • Regulation on financial mechanism.
12 COMMUNICATION OF INFORMATION RELATED TO IMPLEMENTATION
  • Developing countries : communicate information related to greenhouse gas emission, policies and measures. The first report should be submitted within the 3 years after the adaptation of the convention or after sufficient financial support takes place.
  • Annex I parties : communicate detailed information related to greenhouse gas emission, policies and measures. The first report should be submitted within the 6 months after the adaptation of the convention.
13 RESOLUTION OF QUESTIONS REGARDING IMPLEMENTATION
  • The Conference of the Parties shall, at its first session, consider the establishment of a multilateral consultative process.
14 SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES
  • Defining the process of settlement of disputes
15 AMENDMENTS TO THE CONVENTION
  • Proposed amendments shall be communicated to the Parities at least six months before the meeting.
  • The Parties shall make every effort to reach agreement by consensus. The amendment shall as a last resort be adopted by a three-fourths majority vote.
16 ADOPTION AND AMENDMENT OF ANNEXES TO THE CONVENTION
  • Proposed annexes shall be communicated to the Parities at least six months before the meeting.
  • The Parties shall make every effort to reach agreement by consensus. The amendment shall as a last resort be adopted by a three-fourths majority vote.
17 PROTOCOLS
  • The text of any proposed protocol shall be communicated to the Parties by the secretariat at least six months before such a session.
18 RIGHT TO VOTE
  • Each Party to the Convention shall have one vote except for the cases mentioned below.
  • Regional economic integration organizations have a number of votes equal to the number of their member States that are Parties to the Convention.
19 DEPOSITARY
  • The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall be the Depositary of the Convention and of protocols.
20 SIGNATURE
  • This Convention shall be open for signature from 20 June 1992 to 19 June 1993.
21 INTERIM ARRANGEMENTS
  • The secretariat will be carried out on an interim basis by the until the completion of the first session of the Conference.
22 RATIFICATION, ACCEPTANCE, APPROVAL OR ACCESSION
  • The Convention shall be subject to ratification, acceptance, approval or accession from the day after the date on which the Convention is closed for signature.
23 ENTRY INTO FORCE
  • The Convention shall enter into force on the ninetieth day after the date of deposit.
24 RESERVATIONS
  • No reservations may be made to the Convention.
25 WITHDRAWAL
  • Parties may withdraw from the Convention by giving written notification to the Depositary.
  • Any such withdrawal shall take effect upon expiry of one year from the date of receipt.
26 AUTHENTIC TEXTS
  • The original of this Convention, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and fontish texts are equally authentic.
  Annex I countries
  • 24 OECD countries. 11 Oriental countries.
  Annex II countries
  • 24 OECD countries.