United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC)

In 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted as the basis for a global response to the problem. The Convention entered into force on 21 March 1994. With 194 Parties, the Convention enjoys near-universal membership. The ultimate objective of the Convention is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. As a framework convention, the UNFCCC defines general rules, principles and commitments. 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.

Objective: The Convention establishes its objective in Article 2. According to the Article, the ultimate objective of the Convention is “to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic [originating in human activity] interference with the climate system”. This objective is qualified in that it “should be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner”


The Principles: General principles of the Convention are found in the Preamble and Article 3. The principles specified in Article 3 are as follows:


The principle of equity (Article 3.1)

The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (Article 3.1)

The precautionary principle (Article 3.3)

The right, and obligation, to promote sustainable development (Article 3.4)


In addition, the Convention includes references to other principles, such as common concern of humankind (Preamble), free trade (3.5) and cost effectiveness.


Commitments under the Convention

The convention defines two interrelated policy responses to climate change and associated commitments for parties. The first is mitigation of climate change and the second is adaptation to impacts of climate change. In addition to commitments applying to all Parties, the Convention sets different types of commitments for developed and developing country Parties, which can be classified as follows:

1) Commitments applicable to all Parties (Article 4.1)

2) Annex I Party commitments (Article 4.2)

3) Annex II Party commitments (Article 4.3, 4.4., 4.5)

Under the Convention, all Parties are required to gather and share information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies and best practices. The Convention requires Parties to develop national emissions inventories, formulate and implement national programs containing measures to mitigate climate change and facilitate adaptation and communicate to the COP information related to implementation. 

The Convention set more stringent mitigation commitments for developed country Parties listed in Annex I. They are required to adopt policies and measures to limit their emissions and enhance sinks. It also established a not legally binding target for these Parties to return their GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2000.

Developed country Parties included in Annex II are required to provide financial resources to developing countries to help them comply with their commitments and in adaptation, and to take steps for transfer of technologies.



Turkey, as a member of the OECD, was included in Annex-I and Annex-II of the UNFCCC together with the developed countries when it was adopted in 1992. At the COP7 held in Marrakech in 2001, the name of Turkey was removed from Annex-II of the Convention (Decision 26/CP.7) and Turkey remained as an Annex-I Party of the UNFCCC, in a position that is different than other Annex-I countries. Turkey acceded to the UNFCCC as the 189th Party on 24 May 2004.


Turkey became Party to the Kyoto Protocol on 26 August 2009, after the deposit of instrument of accession to the United Nations following the adoption of the Law[1] (No. 5836) approving Turkey’s accession to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 5 February 2009 and adoption by the Council of Ministers of the Cabinet Decree (No. 2009/14979) on 13 May 2009. As Turkey was not a Party to the UNFCCC at the time the Protocol was adopted, it was not included in the AnnexB of the Protocol which defined quantified emissions limitation or reduction commitments for Annex I parties. Therefore, Turkey does not have a quantified emissions limitation or reduction commitment in the first commitment period between the years 2008-2012 under the Protocol.


  • UNFCCC -United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • 26-CP.7

  • [1] No. 5836, "Law of Evidence found appropriate us to participate in Kyoto Protocol for  in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.



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