Mozambique among first States that signed new Climate Change Agreement

Apr 23, 2016

Ban Ki-moon meets Youth Representatives at the Paris Climate Agreement Signing Ceremony. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Mozambique is among the first States that have signed the Paris Agreement and deposited their instrument of ratification at the Ceremony for the Opening for Signature, on 22 April 2016. The Paris Agreement was open for signature by the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on 22 April and will remain open for signature for one year.

Over 170 world leaders gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Friday April 22, to sign the agreement on climate change — the landmark accord that sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous global warming.

The signing ceremony formalized the agreement member countries reached in Paris last December as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC. The deal committed world leaders to taking national actions in their countries to reduce emissions by 2020, toward the collective goal of limiting global temperature rise to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on member states to move quickly to sign the accord so that it could enter into force as early as possible.

“This is a moment in history,” Mr. Ban said in his opening remarks. “Today you are signing a new covenant with the future.”

The Secretary General told the audience: "Paris will shape the lives of all future generations in a profound way - it is their future that is at stake. He said the planet was experiencing record temperatures: "We are in a race against time. I urge all countries to join the agreement at the national level…let us never forget — climate action is not a burden; indeed, it offers many benefits.”

“The era of consumption without consequences is over. We must intensify efforts to decarbonize our economies. And we must support developing countries in making this transition. The poor and most vulnerable must not suffer further from a problem they did not create,” said the UN Chief, in an impassioned plea for action to reverse climate change.

The French President Francois Hollande was the first leader to put his signature to the accord, and was followed by leaders from island-states hardest hit by climate change. He called on governments to quickly ratify the Paris deal and singled out the European Union, saying the 28-nation bloc should “lead by example” and give final approval before the end of the year.

China and the United States have said they will ratify this year and are pushing for others to follow suit so that the agreement becomes operational possibly as early as late 2016 or 2017. The participation of the U.S. and China is significant, as the two account for more than 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement goes into force once 55 countries accounting for at least 55 percent of global emissions officially sign.

The Paris agreement will come into force as soon as 55 countries responsible for 55 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases have ratified it.  The target date for the agreement to begin is 2020, but momentum is building to ensure the accord enters into force much earlier.

The ceremony, held on the 46th Earth Day, was the largest ever single-day signing of an international accord. The agreement, reached in Paris in December 2015, can now require countries to fulfill the promises they made to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

While significant, the signing ceremony is only another step toward the agreement taking effect. Parties to the agreement will still have to go through the process of joining the agreement, which for most will require processes of approval in their home countries.

Moving quickly, 15 countries, mostly island states, have already fully approved the agreement and will formally present the completed ratification to the United Nations.

The UN's former climate agreement, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, came into force in 2005. It dictated cuts in greenhouse gas emissions only for developed countries, unlike the Paris Agreement that involves both developed and developing countries, and allows all states to set national targets.

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