The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international treaty. The UNFCCC is the main legal instrument through which the international community commits to climate action.
Important notes about the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
- The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992;
- The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change provides a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions by signatory countries, as well as a system for reporting on adaptation and mitigation measures;
- The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change provides for annual meetings of the parties, known as Conferences of the Parties (COPs), where countries negotiate and discuss concrete climate action measures.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) does not contain precise or binding guidelines on emission limits, but serves as a ‘framework’ for international climate cooperation.
In fact, the UNFCCC stipulates the need for signatory states to meet annually and produce new legal instruments that embody the global commitment against climate change. The Kyoto Protocol (1997) and the Paris Agreement (2015) are both complementary legal instruments to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Paris Agreement, in particular, establishes greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments that aim to limit the global temperature increase to within 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.