The Paris Agreement


The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted the Paris Agreement on December 12, 2015. The Agreement came into force on November 4, 2016.

It is a global treaty on climate change that commits its 195 Parties to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to work towards limiting global increase in temperature to 1.5-2°C compared to pre-industrial levels. (In UN documents, a ‘Party’ to a treaty is a country that has ratified or acceded to that particular treaty and is therefore legally bound by the provisions in the instrument).

India signed the Agreement on April 22, 2016, and ratified it on October 2, 2016. (Signatories are qualified to ratify, accept or approve a treaty. Ratification is an 'international act' whereby a State indicates its consent to be bound to a treaty.)

The Agreement makes provisions for recurring evaluations of the member countries’ commitments towards combating climate change. It requires the countries to submit a national climate action plan called a Nationally Determined Contribution every five years. It also plans for a ‘global stocktake’ in 2023 to assess the progress made on the goals set under the Agreement in 2015. 

The following are excerpts from 10 of the 29 Articles highlighting different aspects of the Agreement: 

Article 2: This Agreement, in enhancing the implementation of the Convention [UNFCCC], including its objective, aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by:

(a) Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change […]

(c) Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development. 

Article 4: In order to achieve the long-term temperature goal set out in Article 2, Parties aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that peaking will take longer for developing country Parties, and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with best available science, so as to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century […]

Each Party shall prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions that it intends to achieve. Parties shall pursue domestic mitigation measures, with the aim of achieving the objectives of such contributions.

Article 5: Parties should take action to conserve and enhance, as appropriate, sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases as referred to in Article 4, paragraph 1 (d), of the Convention, including forests. 

Article 6: A mechanism to contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and support sustainable development is hereby established under the authority and guidance of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Agreement for use by Parties on a voluntary basis. It shall be supervised by a body designated by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Agreement, and shall aim:

(a) To promote the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions while fostering sustainable development;

(b) To incentivize and facilitate participation in the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions by public and private entities authorised by a Party 

Article 7: Parties acknowledge that adaptation action should follow a country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory and fully transparent approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems, and should be based on and guided by the best available science and, as appropriate, traditional knowledge, knowledge of indigenous peoples and local knowledge systems, with a view to integrating adaptation into relevant socioeconomic and environmental policies and actions, where appropriate. 

Article 8: Parties recognize the importance of averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including extreme weather events and slow onset events, and the role of sustainable development in reducing the risk of loss and damage.

Accordingly, areas of cooperation and facilitation to enhance understanding, action and support may include: (a) Early warning systems; (b) Emergency preparedness; (c) Slow onset events; (d) Events that may involve irreversible and permanent loss and damage; (e) Comprehensive risk assessment and management; (f) Risk insurance facilities, climate risk pooling and other insurance solutions; (g) Non-economic losses; and (h) Resilience of communities, livelihoods and ecosystems. 

Article 9: Developed country Parties shall provide financial resources to assist developing country Parties with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention. 

Article 10: Parties share a long-term vision on the importance of fully realizing technology development and transfer in order to improve resilience to climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Parties, noting the importance of technology for the implementation of mitigation and adaptation actions under this Agreement and recognizing existing technology deployment and dissemination efforts, shall strengthen cooperative action on technology development and transfer. 

Article 12: Parties shall cooperate in taking measures, as appropriate, to enhance climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information, recognizing the importance of these steps with respect to enhancing actions under this Agreement. 

Article 14: The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Agreement shall periodically take stock of the implementation of this Agreement to assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of this Agreement and its long-term goals (referred to as the "global stocktake"). It shall do so in a comprehensive and facilitative manner, considering mitigation, adaptation and the means of implementation and support, and in the light of equity and the best available science.

The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Agreement shall undertake its first global stocktake in 2023 and every five years thereafter unless otherwise decided by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Agreement. 

Focus by Daanish Narayan.


United Nations


United Nations


12 Dec, 2015