UNFCCC ("the Convention")

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. An international treaty adopted in 1992 in Rio, setting the overall framework for international cooperative efforts by governments to tackle the challenges posed by climate change. The treaty itself does not provide any legally binding limits on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and has no enforcement mechanism. Instead it provides the framework for negotiating specific international treaties (see Protocol). It recognizes that the global climate system is a shared resource, whose stability can be affected by industrial and other emissions of GHGs such as carbon dioxide and others. The main goal of the treaty is to "prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system", requiring a stabilization of GHGs in the atmosphere (i.e. limiting average global temperature rise). It was joined by Parties to develop the necessary measures and targets to achieve this goal, and tackling whatever the impacts of climate change would be in the future. Since its adoption many negotiations have followed at the annual meetings of the COP, reviewing progress made on its implementation. In 1995, the countries realized that emission reductions provided in the Convention were inadequate, resulting in the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. There are now 195 Parties to the Convention and 192 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. At COP17 in Durban in 2011, governments recognized the need to draw up the blueprint for a new universal, legally binding agreement to deal with climate change after 2020. This new agreement, that will be applicable to all Parties, is expected to come out from the negotiations at COP21 in Paris.

(United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)

Learn more about the Convention:
unfccc.int (including text of the Convention available in the six offical UN languages)