United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

General Information

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which aims to “achieve to stop the greenhouse gas accumulations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent the dangerous human-induced impact on the climate system”, was negotiated for a long time at the Intergovernmental Conferences in the late 80s. It was opened for signature at the Earth Summit held in Rio in 1992.

The basis of the Convention is based on the commitments of the parties. Article 4 on the subject regulates the obligations of developed countries and other Parties included in Annex-I regarding greenhouse gas emissions. The same article; regulates the obligations regarding the financial support of “developed countries and other Parties included in Annex-II”.

The expressions “developed countries and other Parties included in Annex-1” and “developed countries and other Parties included in Annex-2” are essentially the spelling demanded by Russia and insisted on separating itself from developed countries. Here, countries in transition economies (EITs-economies in transition) are meant and include countries such as Ukraine and Belarus. Supplementary lists were negotiated in the late 80s.

The most distinctive feature of the Convention, which forms the infrastructure of the climate regime and lays down the basic rules of cooperation, is the distinction made between the parties according to their obligations to operationalize the "Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Relative Capabilities" (CBDR-RC). Based on their different responsibilities in climate change, the Convention has classified the parties into three separate groups in terms of liability types. This classification is regulated in the annexes of the Convention.

Accordingly, the parties in the Annex-I list, which includes OECD member countries and transition economy countries in 1992, are obliged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The parties in the Annex-II list, which includes OECD member countries at that time, have financial and technological assistance obligations to support the measures of developing countries to combat climate change in terms of mitigation and adaptation, as well as emission reduction. The group, which is not included in these two lists and is referred as Non-Annex-I parties, generally includes developing countries. All parties jointly undertake the obligations of cooperating in the fight against climate change and its effects and fulfilling the relevant reporting and notification requirements in line with the purpose of the Convention. Due to the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities, flexibility has been provided in the reporting obligations of developing countries.


Türkiye Becoming a Party to the UNFCCC

Our country joined the UNFCCC as the 189th Party on 24 May 2004, following law no 4990 dated 16.10.2003, published in the Official Gazette dated 21.10.2003 and numbered 25266.

At the time the Convention entered into force, Türkiye was included in both annexes. Türkiye, as the founding member of the OECD, was included in the Annex-I and Annex-II lists of the Convention together with the developed countries when the UNFCCC was adopted in 1992. With Decision No. 26/CP.7 taken at the 7th Conference of the Parties (COP7) held in Marrakech in 2001, Türkiye's different position from other Annex-I Parties was recognized, and its name was removed from the Annex-II list of the UNFCCC, but not in the Annex-I list. remained.

The Conference of Parties (COP) is the highest decision-making body of the UNFCCC, and the decisions are taken unanimously by the parties at the Conference of the Parties, which meets every year.

Since the first Conference of the Parties meetings, Türkiye has brought up changing its position under various agendas. Türkiye has officially stated that its position under the Convention should be changed since the 3rd Conference of the Parties (1997), in which the Kyoto Protocol was adopted.

On the other hand, the deletion of Türkiye from the Annex-II list in 2001 is a decision taken unanimously by all the parties.


Decisions of the Conference of the Parties concerning Turkey

Apart from the above-mentioned decision no. 26/CP.7 about Türkiye, various Conference of the Parties resolutions were taken.

In the 142nd paragraph of the sixth part of the decision numbered 1/CP.16, titled other issues, taken within the scope of the 16th Conference of the Parties held in Cancun, Mexico in 2010, regarding the decision numbered 26/CP.7, which states that our country is in a different position from other Annex-I countries. and our country, which is different from Annex-I countries, was pointed out to be suitable for benefiting from finance, capacity building, and technology transfer opportunities, and it was requested that the Long Term Cooperation Activity Ad hoc Working Group continue to evaluate the issue of finance, capacity building and access to technology.

As a result of the 17th Conference of the Parties held in Durban, South Africa in 2011; Under the decision numbered 2/CP.17, with the decision specified in paragraph 170 regarding the special conditions of our country, it has been decided to continue the negotiations on the determination of the methods of support to be provided to our country in the fields of emission reduction, adaptation to climate change, technology development and transfer, capacity building and finance.

At the 18th Conference of the Parties held in Qatar - Doha in 2012, the importance of providing financial, technology, and capacity-building support to our country, whose special conditions were recognized by the Conference of the Parties, was emphasized in paragraphs 94 to 96 of the decision numbered 1/CP.18; Parties are encouraged to provide financial, technological, technical, and capacity-building support for the development of national climate change strategies, action plans, and low emission development strategies or plans prepared under Decision 1/CP.16.

Under the decision numbered 21/CP.20 taken within the scope of the 20th Conference of the Parties held in Peru-Lima in 2014, the above-mentioned numbers 26/CP.7, 1/CP.16, 2/CP.17, and 1/CP.18 decisions were made, and it was confirmed that Turkey's situation is different from Annex-I countries, and the importance of financing, technology, and capacity-building support was emphasized again.

In the first paragraph of the decision, the countries whose special conditions are recognized by the Conference of the Parties are supported by the contracted bodies and other relevant bodies and organizations for the expansion of reduction, adaptation, technology, capacity building, and access to finance, including our country, in the second paragraph. Encouraging the Parties in Annex-I to use the opportunities mentioned above, and in the last paragraph including the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for developed countries to implement their national strategies, to develop strategies for greenhouse gas emission reduction, adaptation to climate change, and low carbon development It has been encouraged to provide financial, technology, technical and capacity building support through such means as multilateral institutions, international organizations and bilateral funds.

Despite the decisions taken by the Conference of the Parties, Turkey could not benefit from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which was negotiated in 2010 and started its work in 2012, which is accepted as the institution of the Convention to provide financial support to developing countries. However, it can benefit from the GEF, as the basic condition to benefit from it is to be eligible for funding from the World Bank. The conditions for benefiting from the GCF are regulated differently.