United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Similar term(s): Kyoto Protocol, UNFCCC.


The Convention on Climate Change sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. It recognizes that the climate system is a shared resource whose stability can be affected by industrial and other emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The Convention enjoys near universal membership, with 191 countries having ratified.

Under the Convention, governments:

  • gather and share information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies and best practices
  • launch national strategies for addressing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to expected impacts, including the provision of financial and technological support to developing countries
  • cooperate in preparing for adaptation to the impacts of climate change

The Convention entered into force on 21 March 1994.

Source: UNFCCC 


The 1997 Kyoto Protocol shares the Convention's objective, principles and institutions, but significantly strengthens the Convention by committing Annex I Parties to individual, legally-binding targets to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Only Parties to the Convention that have also become Parties to the Protocol (i.e by ratifying, accepting, approving, or acceding to it) will be bound by the Protocol's commitments.

As of 2021, 197 Parties have ratified the Protocol. Of these, 36 countries and the EEC [European Economic Community, the former name of the European Community] are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below levels specified for each of them in the treaty. The individual targets (.) add up to a total cut in greenhouse-gas emissions of at least 5% from 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008-2012.

The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005.

Source: UNFCCC 


Français: Convention-cadre des Nations Unies sur les changements climatiques
Nederlands: Verdrag van de Verenigde Naties inzake Klimaatverandering

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