United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

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Over a decade ago, most countries joined an international treaty -- the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) -- to begin to consider what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable. Recently, a number of nations have approved an addition to the treaty: the Kyoto Protocol, which has more powerful (and legally binding) measures.

The UNFCCC secretariat supports all institutions involved in the climate change process, particularly the Convention of the Parties, the subsidiary bodies and their Bureau.

The Convention on Climate Change sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. It recognizes that the climate system is a shared resource whose stability can be affected by industrial and other emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The Convention enjoys near universal membership, with 189 countries having ratified. The Convention entered into force on 21 March 1994.

Under the Convention, governments: - gather and share information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies and best practices - launch national strategies for addressing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to expected impacts, including the provision of financial and technological support to developing countries and - cooperate in preparing for adaptation to the impacts of climate change.