Early entry into force seen as critical for boosting climate action

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited leaders from all countries to attend a special event on 21 September to deposit their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession to the Paris Agreement on climate change. The event will also provide an opportunity to other countries to publicly commit to joining or ratifying the agreement before the end of 2016.

The agreement will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification or acceptance with the Secretary-General.

It is expected that the September event will help efforts to secure early entry into force of the agreement.

In an extraordinary show of support for the Paris climate agreement, 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement at a ceremony in New York on 22 April, far exceeding the historical record for first-day signatures to an international agreement. Signing is the first step toward joining the Agreement, and must be followed by the deposit of the instrument of ratification or acceptance. So far, 19 countries have ratified the Agreement. Many others, including the United States and China, have publicly committed to joining the Paris Agreement this year.

In his invitation letter to world leaders, the Secretary-General said, “The next step in our collective journey to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future is to ensure the rapid entry into force of the Paris Agreement.  Doing so will create incentives for early implementation of nationally determined contributions and build support within markets and societies for increased climate ambition.”

He added, “I urge you to accelerate your country’s domestic process for ratification of the Agreement this year.”

The Paris Climate Agreement, adopted by 195 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) last December in Paris, calls on countries to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future.

Patricia Espinosa, the incoming Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said: “Paris was a landmark and a milestone in our common pursuit of a safe and sustainable world.  But many more milestones need to be added over the months, years and decades to come in order to implement and to realize the full potential of the Paris agreement.

“I would therefore like to congratulate the UN Secretary-General for his leadership in organizing this special event in September for ratification. It will provide a focus and an opportunity for many more nations to step forward so that early entry into force of the agreement can occur sooner rather than later,” she said.

The Paris Agreement marked a watershed moment in taking action on climate change.  After years of negotiation, countries agreed to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, while pursuing efforts to keep temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

Even as the agreement was adopted, countries recognized that present pledges to reduce emissions were still insufficient to reach these goals.  The Paris Agreement mandates regular meetings every five years, starting in 2018, to review progress and to consider whether it is necessary to increase ambition.

Information on the 21 September event on early entry into force can be found at: www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/climatechange

For information on media accreditation for the event, see: http://www.un.org/en/media/accreditation/index.shtml

For further information, please contact Dan Shepard, tel 1 212 963-9495; email: shepard@un.org