The international political response to climate change began at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, where the ‘Rio Convention’ included the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This convention set out a framework for action aimed at stabilising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”
The UNFCCC which entered into force on 21 March 1994, now has a near-universal membership of 195 parties.
The main objective of the annual Conference of Parties (COP) is to review the Convention’s implementation. The first COP took place in Berlin in 1995 and significant meetings since then have included COP3 where the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, COP11 where the Montreal Action Plan was produced, COP15 in Copenhagen where an agreement to success Kyoto Protocol was unfortunately not realised and COP17 in Durban where the Green Climate Fund was created.
In December 2015, COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, saw countries agree to a new climate change agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol under the Convention, which set legally binding targets for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 2020, the new agreement will apply to all countries in the post-2020 period.
Currently, countries are negotiating a new global climate agreement, and the UAE is actively participating in both formal negotiations and in informal settings outside of the Convention.
Visit the official COP21 website for more information: