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UN Climate Change Newsroom


These pages and sections capture news of climate change and stories about the groundswell of climate action by governments, companies, cities, the UN and civil society around the globe. To provide feedback, email us at press@unfccc.int Photo©Naziha Mestaoui

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Photo by: UN Photo

Tomorrow marks a special day in the history of global climate action: it marks the day when the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was open for signing by Governments at the UN in New York.

This followed its adoption a few weeks before by world leaders at the UN Conference on Environment and Development—the Rio Earth Summit.

It signaled a key milestone on the journey to a better, more secure world that 23 years later would see the birth of the universal Paris Climate Change Agreement of 2015.

Over the intervening years, many remarkable foundations were laid and pillars erected that provided the impetus and building blocks towards what became the Paris Agreement.

These include the Kyoto Protocol, the establishment of carbon markets under the Clean Development Mechanism and increasing efforts to bring adaptation and resilience to the fore alongside emission reduction measures.

The world has changed a lot since 1992, geo-politically, economically, technologically, socially and environmentally—but the vision established 25 years ago has endured despite many ups and downs and bumps along the way.

Today, record amounts of renewable energies are being installed world-wide and costs are tumbling; new kinds of carbon markets are expanding; investors are shifting funds into more sustainable investments and issuing new kinds of instruments like green bonds.

Electric vehicles are starting to take off and storage of electricity, generated from clean energies, is perhaps on the cusp of a technological breakthrough.

Increasing numbers of projects and initiatives are factoring the climate but also the wider sustainable development of the natural world into national and global action – from improved management of forests, soils and river systems to coastal ecosystem such as mangroves and sea grasses.

Support by cities, regions, territories and states, alongside major companies; insurers; pension funds and citizens is unprecedented with so many aligning behind the Paris Agreement.

US President George Bush signing the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on behalf of his country. Photo: UN Photo

The UNFCCC entered into force in March 1994. Paris’s entry into force was even more rapid, underlying a higher level of urgency but also optimism to address a phenomenon that will define the future of development and perhaps the human race itself over the coming decades and centuries.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, said: “In marking this 25th anniversary, we are paying tribute to all those leaders from the worlds of politics, science, civil society, local authorities, the private sector and communities who recognized the threats emerging from climate change and laid a fundamental foundation to address this challenge”.

“Over the next 25 years, through the implementation of the Paris Agreement, we must together complete or substantially complete their work and increasingly transform a threat and a major risk into an unprecedented opportunity for every man, woman and child," she said.

“I also look forward to welcoming as many people as can attend the UN climate conference in Bonn, Germany in November 2017, where we can write the next historic chapter on cooperative climate action," Ms Espinosa added.

Bonn will also make history by being the first COP to be presided over by a small island developing state: in this case Fiji.

The UNFCCC is marking the 25th anniversary of the opening for signature in New York with this article, the publication of archival images and other communications products today and tomorrow.

We would like to urge governments, sub-national governments, business, investors, NGOs and citizens to join in on 20 June with their own memories, thoughts, pictures and forward-looking statements.

For social media please use hashtag #UNFCCC (plus #ClimateAction and #COP23 as appropriate).

Please share your contributions by e-mailing Nick Nuttall, UNFCCC Spokesperson and Director of Communications and Outreach, at nnuttall@unfccc.int

See our interactive timeline here.

Image at top of article: Fernando Collor De Mello, President of Brazil, signs the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on 4 June 1992

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