Delegates representing more than 195 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, attended the Conference of the Parties, or COP-19, in Warsaw, Poland. Business leaders participated in a separate forum held in conjunction with the talks, marking the first time the private sector has been involved in the climate talks.
Delegates reached a number of agreements during the talks, including a broad outline of a proposed system for pledging emissions cuts as well as establishing an international mechanism to provide most vulnerable populations with better protection against loss and damage caused by extreme weather events and slow onset events such as rising sea levels.
They also agreed on ways to help developing countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and the degradation of forests, which account for around one-fifth of all human-generated emissions.
Negotiators agreed that developing nations will only receive funding under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program when the governments can prove that they have reduced emissions without hurting biological diversity or communities. They also agreed rules on how to measure and verify emissions reductions.
Governments also provided more clarity on using finance to support developing country action to curb emissions and adapt to climate change, the UN says. This includes requesting developed countries prepare biennial submissions on their updated strategies and approaches for scaling up finance between 2014 and 2020.
The talks also produced a milestone after 48 of the world’s poorest countries finalized a set of plans to better assess and deal with impacts of climate change. Developed countries including Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland paid or pledged more than $100 million to add to the adaptation fund, which has now started to fund national projects, the UN says.