UNESCO welcomes entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change
The conditions for the entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change were met on 5 October, when several EU countries deposited their instruments of ratification, thus crossing the threshold of 55 countries, representing 55 percent of global emissions, that will trigger its implementation. As of today, 74 Parties covering more than 58 per cent of Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions have ratified this landmark document, which will become fully operational on 4 November.
“What once seemed impossible is today a reality and I am very confident that the leadership shown by the governments over the last months inspires other countries and the international community to keep the temperature increase below the dangerous threshold of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels," said the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova.
“This is a milestone in our common pursuit of a low carbon and climate–resilient society, and we welcome the political will that some of the largest economies of the planet have shown over the last weeks. The speed at which countries, large and small alike, have ratified this agreement is unprecedented in the history of large international agreements and clearly shows that governments are aware of the sense of urgency,” continued Ms. Bokova. “The enormous challenge of climate change calls for integrated solutions, combining the power of education, cultural diversity and the sciences, including indigenous knowledge – and UNESCO will assist Member States in this effort to change minds, not the climate.”
In an impressive act of support to the Paris climate agreement, 175 countries expressed their intent to ratify by signing the agreement at a ceremony in New York on 22 April, and when the United States and China, two of the largest emitters of Green House Gas ratified the agreement during the G20 Summit in Hangzhou in early September, it was only a matter of weeks before the thresholds would be reached to trigger the entry into force.
As a consequence of the entry into force, the Parties are now obliged to take action to achieve the temperature goals enshrined in the Agreement – keeping the average global temperature rise from pre-industrial times below 2 degrees centigrade and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees – and to meet the national emissions-cutting pledges made in Paris last December. For example, the EU has a “Nationally Determined Contribution” of cutting emissions by 40% by 2030 on 1990 levels, and the USA by up to 28% by 2025 compared with 2005.
UNESCO takes a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to the issue of climate change, covering the full range of its mandate, with a specific focus on Africa, on gender and on young people. UNESCO was very closely involved in the preparation of the COP21 in Paris, with the host country, governments, other UN organizations and civil society and is already working in close collaboration with the Kingdom of Morocco, which is hosting COP22.
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