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Paris Agreement to enter into force as EU agrees ratification

The European Parliament has approved the ratification of the Paris Agreement by the European Union today.

With today’s European Parliament approval of the Paris Agreement ratification – in the presence of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the President of COP 21 Ségolène Royal – the last hurdle is cleared. The political process for the European Union to ratify the Agreement is concluded.

* President Jean-Claude Juncker in his State of the Union Speech on 14 September called for a swift ratification of the agreement.

He said: “Slow delivery on promises made is a phenomenon that more and more risks undermining the Union’s credibility. Take the Paris agreement. We Europeans are the world leaders on climate action. It was Europe that brokered the first-ever legally binding, global climate deal. It was Europe that built the coalition of ambition that made agreement in Paris possible. I call on all Member States and on this Parliament to do your part in the next weeks, not months. We should be faster.” Today this is happening.

President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Today the European Union turned climate ambition into climate action. The Paris Agreement is the first of its kind and it would not have been possible were it not for the European Union.  Today we continued to show leadership and prove that, together, the European Union can deliver.”

The Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said: “The European parliament has heard the voice of its people. The European Union is already implementing its own commitments to the Paris Agreement but today’s swift ratification triggers its implementation in the rest of the world.”

Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Our collective task is to turn our commitments into action on the ground. And here Europe is ahead of the curve. We have the policies and tools to meet our targets, steer the global clean energy transition and modernise our economy. The world is moving and Europe is in a driver’s seat, confident and proud of leading the work to tackle climate change”.

So far, 62 parties, accounting for almost 52 % of global emissions have ratified the Paris Agreement. The Agreement will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 parties, representing at least 55% of global emissions have ratified. The EU ratification and deposit will cross the 55% emission threshold and therefore trigger the entry into force of the Paris Agreement.

The EU, which played a decisive role in building the coalition of ambition making the adoption of the Paris Agreement possible last December, is a global leader on climate action. The European Commission has already brought forward the legislative proposals to deliver on the EU’s commitment to reduce emissions in the European Union by at least 40% by 2030.

Next steps

With today’s approval by the European Parliament, the Council can formally adopt the Decision. In parallel the EU Member States will ratify the Paris Agreement individually, in accordance with their national parliamentary processes.

More information

Conclusions of the Extraordinary Environmental Council from 30 September 2016:

Statement by the Commission following the Ministers approval of the ratification:

Commission’s proposal for the EU ratification of the Paris Agreement from June 2016:

Commission’s assessment of the implications of the Paris Agreement for the EU from March 2016:

Speech by President Juncker at the Leaders Event of the COP21 in Paris:

Commission’s reaction following the historic climate deal in Paris on 12 December 2015:

Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email

Credit: European Commission Press Release Database

UNEP ‘Our Planet’ 2015 Focuses on SDGs


Credit: UNEP

An integrated, universal approach to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda is essential, according to the 2015 issue of ‘Our Planet,’ a publication from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner discusses the importance of integration, universality, climate change mitigation, governance and accountability, and financing. He writes that linking the SDGs with climate change mitigation will help countries build energy-efficient, low-carbon infrastructure and achieve sustainable development.

In an article by Tommy Remengesau, Jr., President, Palau, he explains that healthy, productive, resilient oceans are critical to preserving and restoring the balance between humans and nature, and ensuring economic prosperity, food security, health and culture, particularly in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Remengesau advocates for a stand-alone SDG on oceans, and says Palau’s national conservation efforts must be “amplified and augmented by work at the international level” in order to make a difference.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights should guide the elaboration of the SDGs, writes Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. He stresses that human rights, such as the rights to education, food, health and water, are about empowerment, not charity, and underscores the importance of empowering citizens to be involved in crafting and implementing the SDGs. He adds that “universality applies not just to universal application, but also to universal participation and ownership of the goals.”

UK Environmental Audit Select Committee Chair Joan Walley cautions that reducing the number of SDGs “risks relegating environmental sustainability to a side issue,” and could shatter “the carefully negotiated consensus.” She also argues for communicating the goals to the public, particularly youth.

Other articles address: the European Commission’s (EC) energy and climate framework, which will promote a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy; the UN Environment Assembly’s (UNEA) role in moving towards an integrated, universal approach to the SDGs; the role of central banks in shifting towards inclusive, environmentally sustainable development; a carbon pricing system; national accounting systems and inequalities; and chemicals and hazardous substances, among other issues.

The issue also highlights the Montreal Protocol as an “ozone success” and a model for achieving a green economy and the SDGs, achievements by UNEP’s Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI), and the UNEP Finance Initiative’s work to align the financial system with a low-carbon, carbon resilient green economy. [Publication: Our Planet: Time for Global Action]

Credit: SIDS Policy & Practice

EU Commission Proposes Elements for Global Partnership to Shape Post-2015 Development Agenda

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The European Commission (EC) published a Communication identifying overarching principles and key components of a global partnership to support the post-2015 development agenda, to inform EU positions ahead of the Third Financing for Development (FfD3) Conference and the Post-2015 Summit, and to contribute to the preparation of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Communication, titled ‘Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development After 2015,’ is based on previous Conclusions of the EU Council on a transformative post-2015 agenda. It notes that “the EU and its Member States will continue to develop more detailed common positions during the negotiations, so as to enable the EU to speak with one voice.” It is addressed to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

As overarching principles of a global partnership, the Communication highlights, inter alia: national ownership and leadership; cooperation at all levels and with all stakeholders, building on experience with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on developing a Global Partnership for Development, and with other international partnerships; shared responsibility, mutual accountability and respective capacity; integrating the three dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced manner and making trade-offs between different objectives; and focusing on achieving measurable, concrete and sustainable results.

It calls for the partnership to be based on human rights, good governance, rule of law, support for democratic institutions, inclusiveness, non-discrimination, and gender equality. Emphasizing the need for transparency and information-sharing for all stakeholders, it calls for promoting more effective and inclusive forms of multi-stakeholder partnerships, operating at all levels and involving the private sector and civil society, including social partners, academia, foundations, knowledge institutions and public authorities.

The Communication identifies means of implementation as a key element of the global partnership, and discusses its various components, including: an enabling and conducive policy environment at all levels; capacity development; mobilization and effective use of domestic and international public finance; stimulating trade to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development; using science, technology and innovation as important drivers of implementation; mobilizing the domestic and international private sector; and harnessing the positive effect of migration. It also stresses the need for a strong framework for monitoring, accountability and review at all levels.

The Communication conveys strong EU support for the UN Secretary-General’s call for all developed countries to meet the UN target of 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) for official development assistance (ODA), and expresses its agreement on concrete timetables to meet these commitments. It remarks that high-income countries should respect the UN target of 0.15% of GNI for development assistance to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and that upper-middle income countries and emerging economies should commit to increasing their contribution to LDCs, and set targets and timelines accordingly.

The Communication highlights the need to provide a stable enabling environment for the private sector, “including establishing a level playing field for competition” and encouraging sustainable investments. It also mentions the primary responsibility of each country to maximize the potential of trade for inclusive growth and sustainable development through good governance, sound domestic policies and reforms, so as to create a stable regulatory environment that is favorable to the private sector and investment.

The annex of the Communication lists a series of possible actions that could contribute to the effective implementation of the post-2015 agenda, and proposed actions to be carried out specifically by the EU.

Credit: Climate Change Policy & Practice

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