Historic climate agreement adopted

Yesterday evening, delegates from 195 states adopted a universal climate agreement. The adoption of the agreement marks a new era of multilateralism, bridging the divide between developed and developing countries and uniting them in the common fight against climate change and its adverse effects.

The agreement builds on the notion of diversified differentiation between countries based on different national circumstances. Accordingly, all Parties shall communicate national climate plans (so-called nationally determined contributions) every 5 years and increase their ambition over time according to a new legal principle of “progression”. 

Importantly, all Parties will employ their highest possible level of ambition – a notion resonant of a due diligence standard in international law.

Further, the agreement establishes a transparency system according to which Parties’ efforts will go through a system of reporting and review in accordance with common methodologies (which still need to be established).

For lawyers, attention should also be drawn to the establishment of a mechanism to promote compliance with and facilitate the implementation of the provisions of the agreement. The mechanism will funtion through a committee with 12 members. 

This post is not exhaustive in its description of elements in the Paris agreement. Especially, the articles on the privision and mobilization of financial support, adaptation, loss and damage, response measures etc. would merit deeper legal analysis.

Having been in plenary Le Seine at the UN conference center at Le Bourget last night, feeling the world keeping its breath for a moment, hearing the gavel go down to the thundering applaus of hundreds of delegates, I feel deeply grateful to all those that relentlessly put their efforts behind this cause.

It truly is victory of multilateralism, making the collective effort greater than the sum of the individual parts.

Christina Voigt

Legal advisor to the Norwegian delegation

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