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UNFCCC, Secretariat: 84 countries now signed on to Kyoto Protocol

Bonn, 16 March 1999 - One year after the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was officially opened for signature at LIN Headquarters in NY, 84 countries (plus the European Community) have signed the legally binding agreement.

"This rapid progress is a positive signal that governments are taking climate change seriously," said Michael Zammit Cutajar, the Convention's Executive Secretary. 'With talks on how to reduce greenhouse gases as cheaply as possible due to conclude late next year, signatories will be well-positioned to quickly complete the process of becoming Parties to the Protocol."

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted on 12 December 1997 and opened for signature from 16 March 1998 to 15 March 1999. Governments are now working on a two-year Action Plan to finalize the Protocol's outstanding details so that the agreement will be fully operational when it enters into force sometime after the year 2000.

After signing the agreement a government must ratify it, often with the approval of its parliament or legislature, Thus far, 7 countries -- all small island or low-lying states which are particularly concerned about by rising sea levels --have ratified.

The Kyoto Protocol will enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified by at least 55 Parties to the Convention, including developed countries representing at least 55% of the total 1990 carbon dioxide emissions from this group.

Governments that did not sign the Protocol during the signatory period may still become Parties through the procedures of acceptance, approval or accession, The Kyoto Protocol was adapted by consensus at the third session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-3), to the Climate Change Convention in December 1997. It commits developed countries to reduce their collective emissions of six key greenhouse gases by at least 5% by the period 2008-12.

Note to journalists:
An up-to-date list of signatures and ratifications can be found via the Internet at

For interviews or additional information please contact:
Michael Williams
at (+41-22) 917 8242/44, fax (+41-22) 797 3464,

Axel Wustenhagen
at (+49-228) 815 2770, fax (+49-228) 815 1999,

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 260 124,
D-53153 Bonn,

Office Location:
Haus Carstanjen,
Martin-Luther-King-Strasse 8.
D-53175 Bonn,
Tel. (Switchboard): (49-228) 815-1000 Fax: (49-228) 815-1999

Thursday 18 Mar 1999
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