international environmental treaty he United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an adopted and implemented by countries all around the world in 1994 to address the issue of climate change. The 197 countries that ratified the agreement represent almost universal global involvement.
Features of UNFCCC
- The UNFCCC is a Rio Convention, one of two opened for signature at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. Its sister Rio Conventions are the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification. The three are intrinsically linked.
- It is in this context that the Joint Liaison Group was set up to boost cooperation among the three Conventions.
- The UNFCCC sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change.
- It meets yearly to discuss progress and take bold action. The Kyoto Protocol and more recent Paris Agreement are other landmark treaties that have emerged from these annual meetings.
- Its objectives are:
. stabilize greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system
. stabilization should be within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change.
. ensure that food production is not threatened.
. enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.
- The Convention puts the onus on developed countries to lead the way. As they are the source of most past and current greenhouse gas emissions, industrialized countries are expected to do the most to cut emissions on home ground.
Role of Developed Countries
- Developed countries are called Annex I countries and belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
- Industrialized nations agree under the Convention to support climate change activities in developing countries by providing financial support for action on climate change, above and beyond any financial assistance they already provide to these countries.
- A system of grants and loans has been set up through the Convention and is managed by the Global Environment Facility. Industrialized countries also agree to share technology with less advanced nations.
- Industrialized countries (Annex I) have to report regularly on their climate change policies and measures, including issues governed by the Kyoto Protocol (for countries which have ratified it). They must also submit an annual inventory of their greenhouse gas emissions, including data for their base year (1990) and all the years since.
- Developing countries (Non-Annex I Parties) report in more general terms on their actions both to address climate change and to adapt to its impacts – but less regularly than Annex I Parties do, and their reporting is contingent on their getting funding for the preparation of the reports, particularly in the case of the Least Developed Countries.