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Brussels, 10 November 2001

EU hails Marrakech agreement on operational rules to combat Climate Change

The EU objective has reached its objective to make the Kyoto Protocol - the international framework to cut greenhouse gas emissions - operational. After two weeks of difficult negotiations, the 7th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Climate Change (COP7) in Marrakech has ended with an agreement on the operational rules to fight climate change. The package agreed upon includes decisions on compliance rules, the so-called "flexible mechanisms" and monitoring and reporting obligations for Parties. All Parties agreed that the package would be sufficient for the timely ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol has to be ratified by 55 Parties representing 55% of industrialised countries' greenhouse gas emissions.

Olivier Deleuze, head of the EU delegation declared: "the Kyoto Protocol is saved. We have been able to remove initial reluctance by certain countries to recognise and preserve the Bonn agreement. We can now go back to citizens and tell them that, finally, action can start on the ground to put an end to the dramatic consequences of climate change, which are threatening the whole planet. The success at the Conference in Marrakech demonstrates that, despite the tragic events of 11 September, the international community is able to produce positive responses to global challenges. It provides evidence of the confidence of citizens and political leaders in the capacity of all countries to continue to work together to build a more sustainable future. "

Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström stated: "This is a milestone in the global fight against climate change. I am pleased to say that the long and bumpy road from Buenos Aires, via The Hague and Bonn, led to a success in Marrakech, despite the loss of a very important passenger on the way. We have now concluded four years of tough negotiations since the Kyoto Protocol came into existence in 1997. Now, we can commence a new journey to make the Protocol enter into force and pave the way for real action to cut greenhouse emissions. We need to travel at high speed. This is what people expect. Like the European Union, all other Parties should now take steps to bring the Protocol into force by the World Summit for Sustainable Development in September 2002."

Olivier Deleuze said: "Once again, the European Union has provided leadership in the international negotiations on the fight against climate change."

Commissioner Wallström declared: "Peoples across the globe have demonstrated that, facing the global threat of climate change, they want to join forces."

The most important achievements of COP7 are:

  • The Political Agreement of Bonn in July was made operational. All its provisions were translated into legal texts.

  • A solid compliance system has been established that will be put in place after entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol.

  • Rules and modalities on the Kyoto Mechanisms were decided that would allow the prompt start of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the start of Joint Implementation (JI) projects.

  • The international emissions trading can start as of 2008.

  • Monitoring and reporting procedures were established providing transparency and certainty for the operation of the Kyoto mechanisms.

  • Rules were set for the transfer of credits from sinks activities (i.e. in forestry and agricultural land-use).

  • Support will be given to Least Developed Countries for the adaptation to climate change.

The Accord reached in Marrakech proves that multilateral co-operation at the level of the United Nations can successfully address one of the most important global challenges at the beginning of the 21st century. The overall result also means that the fight against climate change has entered a new phase. The EU stands ready to take further steps after the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol in order to achieve the ultimate objective of preventing irreversible environmental damage from greenhouse gas emissions of the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The European Union was instrumental in securing the deal in Marrakech. The negotiations underpinned the leadership role of the European Union in the fight against climate change, working together with the Accession countries and other economies in transition, and, in particular, the developing countries of the Group of G77 and China. The accord of Marrakech will also send a positive message to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg in September 2002.

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