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

What Governments
will do in 2011

It is also important to keep in mind that, as UN analysis shows, the emission reduction targets and actions announced in Cancun, although they are the most ambitious global effort to date, are inadequate in the longer term to keep the world under the agreed maximum global temperature rise of two degrees. It is therefore essential to keep raising the global level of ambition to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, if the agreed goal of limiting the temperature rise is to be achieved successfully over time.

To this end, in Cancun, Governments agreed to continue work on identifying a goal for substantially reducing global emissions by 2050. They also agreed to work towards identifying a time frame for the peaking of global emissions. Both are important to keep the world on a viable timetable to address climate change. The first review of progress to identify whether the world is meeting the necessary timetable, or whether it will require stronger action, will start in 2013 and be completed by 2015. The review will be based on the latest scientific information and on progress made in combatting climate change.

Parties meeting under the Kyoto Protocol agreed to continue negotiations in 2011. The Protocol is the existing international agreement that commits industrialized countries to reduce emissions under a framework of commitment, transparency and compliance.

The Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period, the time period in which industrialized countries made specific commitments to reduce emissions, runs to the end of 2012. The overall aim of Governments is to complete their work and ensure no gap in effort between the end of the first commitment period and a second commitment period under the treaty, which is yet to be agreed.

Governments will have the opportunity to capture further progress this year and make further decisions on all these aspects at the end of 2011, at the next Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa.

Following is a more detailed overview of what Cancun agreed, as well as the key work on each issue that will be done going forward.


Parties meeting under the Kyoto Protocol agreed to continue negotiations. The Protocol’s first commitment period ends in 2012.

January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012