The Cancun Agreements

An assessment by the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

key steps of the United Nations Climate Change Conference


The Cancun Agreements are a set of significant decisions by the international community to address the long-term challenge of climate change collectively and comprehensively over time and to take concrete action now to speed up the global response.

The agreements, reached on December 11 in Cancun, Mexico, at the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference represent key steps forward in capturing plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to help developing nations protect themselves from climate impacts and build their own sustainable futures.

  • establish clear objectives for reducing human-generated greenhouse gas emissions over time to keep the global average temperature rise below two degrees
  • encourage the participation of all countries in reducing these emissions, in accordance with each country’s different responsibilities and capabilities to do so
  • ensure the international transparency of the actions which are taken by countries and ensure that global progress towards the long-term goal is reviewed in a timely way
  • mobilize the development and transfer of clean technology to boost efforts to address climate change, getting it to the right place at the right time and for the best effect
  • mobilize and provide scaled-up funds in the short and long term to enable developing countries to take greater and effective action
  • assist the particularly vulnerable people in the world to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change
  • protect the world’s forests, which are a major repository of carbon
  • build up global capacity, especially in developing countries, to meet the overall challenge
  • establish effective institutions and systems which will ensure these objectives are implemented successfully

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