United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Convention (UNFCCC)

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a “Rio Convention” is one of three multilateral environmental agreements that were adopted at the “Rio Earth Summit” in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Its sister Conventions are the UN Convention on Biological Diversity UNCBD) and the Convention to Combat Desertification CCD) and these three are intrinsically linked.

The ultimate objective of the Convention is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human induced) interference with the climate system.” It states that “such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened, and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.

The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994 and currently has near-universal membership with 197 countries that have ratified the Convention.  The countries that have ratified the UNFCCC are called Parties to the Convention. Saudi Arabia ratified UNFCCC on 28 December 1994.

The Climate Change Treaty has 26 Articles which defines amongst many other things the objectives and obligations of Parties to the UNFCCC.

Article 3(paragraph 1) of the Convention states that Parties should act to protect the climate system based on “common but differentiated responsibilities”, and that developed country Parties should “take the lead” in addressing climate change.

Under Article 4, all Parties make general commitments to address climate change through, for example, climate change mitigation and adapting to the eventual impacts of climate change.  Article 4(7) states that:  The extent to which developing country Parties will effectively implement their commitments under the Convention will depend on the effective implementation by developed country Parties of their commitments under the Convention related to financial resources and transfer of technology and will take fully into account that economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of the developing country Parties.

Education Training and Public Awareness under the Convention

Article 6 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change focuses on education, training and public awareness on climate change issues.  It stresses the need for a better understanding of climate change and its associated biophysical and socioeconomic impacts as well as advocating for a greater recognition of the role the society can and must play in adapting the adverse impacts of climate change as well as contributing to efforts to avoid emissions of greenhouse gas emissions.

In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, significant achievement has been made over the past couple of decades in the area of education, training and public awareness, thus providing the citizens and residents of the Kingdom with a range of opportunities to better understand the Saudi Arabia’s strategy for addressing climate change through actions and measures aimed at promoting economic diversification as well as enhancing its adaptive capacities consistent with its socio-economic development priorities.   These actions are clearly outlined in the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) of Saudi Arabia which was submitted to the UNFCCC in November 2015.

Achieving a higher level of education, training and public awareness clearly illustrates how school children and university students, teachers and professors, workers at all levels, including government officials, and business executives can contribute to the attainment of a prosperous Kingdom where the needs for a strong and a growing economy is optimally balanced with the need for a sound and a cleaner environment for the present and future generations.

For a detailed write up of education training and public awareness within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, please click here (Please See Attachment 1 for uploading).

Response Measures provisions under the Convention

In adopting the UNFCCC, Parties agreed that when addressing climate change concerns under the Convention, “Parties shall take into full consideration, in the implementation of the commitments of the Convention, the specific needs and concerns of developing country Parties arising from the impact of the implementation of response measures”.

UNFCCC Article 4.8

In the implementation of the commitments in this Article, the Parties shall give full consideration to what actions are necessary under the Convention, including actions related to funding, insurance and the transfer of technology, to meet the specific needs and concerns of developing country Parties arising from the adverse effects of climate change and/or the impact of the implementation of response measures, especially on: 4.8(h) which refers to “countries whose economies are highly dependent on income generated from the production, processing and export, and/or on consumption of fossil fuels and associated energy-intensive products”.

UNFCCC Article 4.10

The Parties shall, in accordance with Article 10, take into consideration in the implementation of the commitments of the Convention, the situation of Parties, particularly developing country Parties, with economies that are vulnerable to the adverse effects of the implementation of measures to respond to climate change.  This provision applies notably to Parties with economies that are highly dependent on income generated from the production, processing and export, and/or consumption of fossil fuels and associated energy-intensive products and/or the use of fossil fuels for which such Parties have serious difficulties in switching to alternatives.