- Knowledge Centre
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- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global warming and the resulting climate change, and to cope with its inevitable impacts. Five years later, they adopted the Kyoto Protocol, which strengthens the Convention by setting legally binding emission reduction requirements for 37 industrialized countries. There are now 196 Parties to the Convention and 192 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.
The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. In 2010, governments agreed that emissions need to be reduced so that global temperature increases are limited to below 2 degrees Celsius. The Kyoto Protocol runs until 2020, and the Parties to the UNFCCC are getting ready for enhanced action after that point, including a new universal, legal agreement to deal with climate change beyond 2020, where all will play their part to the best of their ability and all will be able to reap the benefits of success together.
Climate change is a complex problem, which, although environmental in nature, has consequences for all spheres of existence on our planet. It either impacts on, or is impacted by, global issues, including poverty, economic development, population growth, sustainable development and resource management. It is not surprising, then, that solutions come from all disciplines and fields of research and development.
The secretariat of the UNFCCC, or Climate Change Secretariat, is located in Bonn, Germany. Lead by the Executive Secretary, the around 500 Climate Change Secretariat staff from all around the world support governments and stakeholders from all disciplines in their work towards these solutions.
The UNFCCC secretariat supports all institutions involved in the international climate change negotiations. Between two and five negotiating sessions are held each year. The largest and most important is the Conference of the Parties (COP), held together annually with the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP), hosted alternately by countries from the United Nations regional groups. It is the largest annual United Nations conference, attended by 10,000 people or more from all over the world. In addition, the regular and ad-hoc subsidiary bodies which advise the COP/CMP meet once a year in May/June and more often if needed, mostly at the seat of the secretariat in Bonn. Aside from these major conferences, meetings of dedicated bodies constituted by Parties to serve certain aspects of the process as well as other meetings, workshops and events take place during the year – up to 180 altogether.
The Climate Change Secretariat supports all of these events not only by providing conference logistics but also by preparing substantive input.
Consequently, a major part of the secretariat’s work involves the collection, analysis and review of climate change information and data reported by Parties, and the provision of tools to collect, store, view and analyze such information. There is also a trend towards increased technical expertise within the secretariat on all related aspects and issues that are considered by governments, ranging from reporting guidelines, to the land use and forestry sector, climate finance, gender and climate change, etc.
The secretariat supports the monitoring, review, assessment and verification of the implementation of the Convention by Parties at national level. Since the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol in 2005, the secretariat has also been supporting the implementation of the Protocol by servicing its governance and oversight arrangements and administering its market-based mechanisms, which help stimulate green investment world-wide and help Parties meet their emission targets in a cost-effective way.
Last not least, throughout the year, the Climate Change Secretariat strives to keep people informed of what is going on both within the negotiating process and outside in the climate change arena through the full variety of communications products, including social media.
The UNFCCC secretariat procures goods and services to support the above areas, mainly:
- HQ requirements, incl. IT-equipment (hardware, software), diverse services, office supplies etc.
- Conference/Workshop requirements, incl. venues, webcast, conference equipment and related services, catering as well as graphic design and printing services
General Terms and Conditions
UNFCCC adopts the UN General Conditions of Contract.