In response to the emerging evidence that climate change could have a major global impact, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro.

The ultimate objective of the Convention is the stabilization of greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human-induced interference with the climate system. The Convention recognizes that developed countries are responsible for the largest share of historical and current global emissions of GHGs and hence, should take the lead in combating climate change. 

The Convention also recognizes that developing countries are vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, and that their responses to climate change should be coordinated with their social and economic development needs for the achievement of sustained economic growth and the eradication of poverty.

The Republic of Lebanon ratified the UNFCCC in 1994 with Law No. 359 as a Non-Annex I Party.

Paris Agreement

The historical Paris Agreement was finalized at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015, and its ultimate aim is to keep the average global temperature increase "well below" 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C in order to avoid, as much as possible, the dangerous impacts of climate change. The key points of the agreement include:

1. Peaking the greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, to be reduced rapidly in the second half of the century. The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which Parties have put forward and will update every 5 years are the essential component to achieve the agreement’s goal;

2. S
atisfying the global adaptation goal: “enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, with a view to contributing to sustainable development and ensuring an adequate adaptation response in the context of the temperature goal”;

Reporting national inventories, mitigation and adaptation efforts, support provided, received and needed is paramount to inform on progress achieved, and the gaps and needs to ramp up ambition;

Establishing a global stocktake which will assess efforts every 5 years starting 2023;

USD 100 billion a year will be financed to developing countries by 2020, in addition to further climate financing in the future.

The Paris Agreement has come into force in November 2016. For more information and updates, click here

Lebanon has signed the Paris Agreement at the UN ceremony in New York in April 2016. As for ratification, the Paris Agreement has been approved by the Council of Ministers and has been forwarded to Parliament. 

Kyoto Protocol 

Recognizing the need for an effective instrument to provide confidence in addressing the climate change challenge, the Kyoto Protocol was established in 1997 as a legal instrument where future action can be intensified. For the first time, it calls for legally binding commitments from the developed countries to reduce, individually or jointly, emissions of six GHGs (CO2, CH4, N2O, HFC, PFC and SF6) by more than 5% in the period 2008 to 2012, below their 1990 level. The European Union (EU) and its Member States at the time agreed to an 8% reduction.

During the second commitment period, Parties committed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18% below 1990 levels from 2013 to 2020; however, this amendment has (as of November 2013) not entered into legal force. The Kyoto Protocol was ratified by Lebanon in 2006  (Law No. 738).  

Lebanon and Negotiations

The Ministry of Environment (MoE) is the focal point to the UNFCCC and the Lebanese delegation has been participating in international climate change talks since 2006.

Lebanon is officially part of the Group of 77 and China and the Arab Group. Lebanon is also a member of the Cartagena Dialogue for Progressive Action which is an unofficial group of Parties that convene to render the negotiation process more ambitious. Lebanon also hosted the 21st Meeting of the Cartagena Dialogue in Beirut in September 2017, welcoming over 60 delegates from 35 countries. 

Lebanon has been a member of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) since COP22 in Marrakech in November 2016. The CVF “is an international partnership of countries highly vulnerable to a warming planet. The Forum serves as a South-South cooperation platform for participating governments to act together to deal with global climate change.” (CVF Website). As part of their regional activities, Lebanon hosted the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Since spring 2017, Lebanon has been a member of the V20 economies which are most threatened by climate change. 

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