175 Parties Sign Paris Agreement, 15 Ratify Agreement on Earth Day
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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During the High-Level Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change held at the UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 22 April 2016, 175 Parties to the UNFCCC signed the Paris Agreement (174 countries and the EU), the largest ever number of first-day signatures to an international agreement.

Of the 175 Parties that participated in the ceremony, 15 States deposited instruments of ratification.

The signature ceremony was preceded, on 21 April, by the High-Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which highlighted the interlinkages among climate action and sustainable development, and a briefing on forest conservation and restoration that discussed the implications of the formal signing of the Paris Agreement.

iisdrs_paris_agreement22 April 2016: During the High-Level Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change held at the UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 22 April 2016, 175 Parties to the UNFCCC signed the Paris Agreement (174 countries and the EU), the largest ever number of first-day signatures to an international agreement. Of the 175 Parties that participated in the ceremony, 15 States deposited instruments of ratification. The signature ceremony was preceded, on 21 April, by the High-Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which highlighted the interlinkages among the actions necessary to address climate change and foster sustainable development, and a briefing on forest conservation and restoration that discussed the implications of the formal signing of the Paris Agreement.

The High-Level Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which took place on Earth Day, was organized by the UN Secretary-General. Ban Ki-moon welcomed the 175 participating countries, stressing that the ceremony constituted the largest number of world leaders in history signing an international agreement in one day.

The 15 countries that ratified the Paris Agreement are: Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Grenada, Maldives, the Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nauru, Palau, Palestine, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Somalia and Tuvalu.

After signing the Paris Agreement, Heads of State and government delivered national statements addressing, among other issues, their intention to ratify and outlining their national climate change policies and actions. Several countries, including Australia, Argentina, Cameroon, Canada, China, France, Mali, Mexico, the Philippines and the US, announced plans to ratify the Agreement in 2016. Others, including Brazil, the EU and the Russian Federation, pledged to work swiftly towards completion of the necessary steps for ratifying the Agreement.

In a statement delivered at the signature ceremony, Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, stated that: “We cannot deliver sustainable development without tackling climate change, and we cannot tackle climate change without addressing the root causes of poverty, inequality and unsustainable development patterns.”

Several high-level events also highlighted interlinkages between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and climate action.

A high-level special event themed, ‘Taking climate action to the next level: realizing the vision of the Paris Agreement,’ which took place immediately after the signing ceremony, highlighted the role of all stakeholders in the acceleration of climate actions, and in replicating and scaling up successful initiatives and activities to ensure successful implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

During the High-Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the SDGs, which brought together global political, business and civil society leaders to focus on kick-starting SDG implementation, many speakers outlined the links between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and climate action.

In his message on the occasion of the International Mother Earth Day and the signature ceremony of the Paris Agreement, Braulio Ferreira De Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), highlighted the role of forests in mitigating and adapting to climate change, as well as the links between sustainable forest management (SFM) (Target 5.2) and other SDGs.

The briefing on forest conservation and restoration featuring Helen Clark, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator and Alec Baldwin, actor and activist, among others, addressed new research on how forest conservation and restoration on a global scale can help limit the global temperature rise to 2°C above pre-industrial levels and achieve global carbon neutrality.

The Paris Agreement was adopted by the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UNFCCC on 12 December 2015. The Agreement will enter into force on the 30th day after the date on which at least 55 parties to the Convention accounting for at least 55% of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions deposit their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. [IISD RS Coverage of High-Level Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change] [IISD RS Coverage of High-level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals] [UN Press Release on Advancing SDGs in Light of Paris Agreement] [UN Press Release on High-Level Signature Ceremony] [UNFCCC Press Release on High-Level Signature Ceremony] [List of Signatures and Ratifications of Paris Agreement] [UNFCCC Press Release on High-Level Thematic Debate] [UN General Assembly President Press Release] [UNDP Press Release] [Message of CBD Executive Secretary] [UN Secretary-General’s Remarks] [President of the UN General Assembly’s Remarks] [UN Press Release on “Historic Day”] [UN Press Release on Signing Ceremony] [GEF Press Release on Earth Day] [GEF Press Release on Signing Ceremony]


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