The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) successfully concluded the mandate that had been agreed upon at COP17 in Durban, South Africa in 2011, by all Parties. There, the Ad-hoc Working Group on Enhanced Action under the Durban Platform (ADP) was created and the year 2015 was set as last possible deadline to establish a new climate regime for the post 2020 period.

The Comité de Paris established by COP21 at the closure of ADP convened for the last time in the evening of Saturday 12 December 2015 to forward the final text of the Paris Agreement and associated decision to COP 21 that successfully adopted both instruments at 7:29 pm of the same day. The Paris Agreement annexed to decision 1/CP.21 includes 16 preambular clauses and 29 operative clauses (annexed to FCCC/ CP/2015/L.9/Rev.1).

The Paris Agreement is composed of the following elements: Global objective (article 2); Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) (article 3); Mitigation and ambition (article 4); REDD+ (article 5); Market (article 6); Adaptation (article 7); Loss and damage (article 8); Finance (article 9): Technology development and transfer (article 10); Capacity building (article 11); Transparency (article 13); Global stocktake (article 14); Compliance (article 15); Institutional framework (articles 16 – 19); Final clauses (articles 20 -29).

The Paris Agreement undoubtedly forms a milestone in the fight against climate change. It sets the framework for the first global common action against greenhouse gas emissions, by both developed and developing countries. The upcoming period will tell whether the structure and rules of the new treaty form a workable framework to tackle climate change and keep the global temperature rise well below 2C above pre-industrial levels. One of the first challenges in this respect will be to strenghten the commitments of the parties, as the combined effect of their current contributions would bring up the temperature far more than 2C.
This seminar will discuss the main elements of the Paris Agreement.