Parties prepare for Paris Agreement

Parties prepare for Paris Agreement

19084165 - main square of marrakesh in old medina. morocco.Steven McNab, partner and head of the environment and climate change practice at Simmons & Simmons in London, looks ahead to the twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with additional comment from Greg Harris, an associate with the firm in Beijing.

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What is the purpose of the Conference of the Parties (COP), and what is likely to be on the agenda at COP 22?

Steven McNab (SM): The COP is the supreme decision-making body for the UNFCCC. The UNFCCC is an international treaty that was negotiated at the ‘Earth Summit’ in Rio in 1992. It provides the framework for international cooperation to tackle the issue of climate change through reduction in manmade greenhouse gas emissions. The countries that have ratified the UNFCCC are called Parties to the Convention and they are part of the COP.

The twenty-second annual Conference of the Parties (COP 22) will take place in Marrakech, Morocco from 7–18 November 2016. The focus of COP 22 will be to kick-start the development of the so-called ‘rule book’ of the Paris Agreement—that is the rules, methodologies, mechanisms and guidance regarding how the agreement will operate. The provisional agenda for COP 22 can be found here.

What preparations have been made for the entry into force of the Paris Agreement, which was agreed at COP 21?

SM: The Paris Agreement will enter into force on 4 November 2016 and there will be some celebrations about this in Marrakesh. The speed at which the Paris Agreement will have come into force is unprecedented and because of this, the vital ‘rule

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