Cancun Agreements

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A set of significant decisions made by the global community at the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico to address and speed up the global response to climate change.


Establish clear goals and a timely schedule for reducing human-generated greenhouse gas emissions over time to keep the global average temperature rise below two degrees;

Encourage the participation of all countries in reducing these emissions, in accordance with each country’s different responsibilities and capabilities to do so.

Review progress made towards two-degree objective, and a review by 2015 on whether the objective needs to be strengthened in future, including the consideration of a 1.5C goal, on the basis of the best scientific knowledge available.

Transparency of actions

Ensure international transparency of the actions which are taken by countries, and ensure that global progress towards the 2C goal is reviewed in a timely way.


Mobilize the development and transfer of clean technology to boost efforts to address climate change, getting it to the right place at the right time and for the best effect on both adaptation and mitigation.


Mobilize and provide scaled-up funds in the short and long term to enable developing countries to take greater and effective action.

Set up the Green Climate Fund to provide support to developing countries to assist them in mitigating climate change and adapting to its impacts.


Assist the particularly vulnerable people in the world to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change by taking a coordinated approach to adaptation.


Protect the world’s forests, which are a major repository of carbon. Governments agreed to launch concrete action on forests in developing nations, which will increase going forward. The full financing options for the implementation of such mitigation actions in the forest area will be addressed during 2011.

Capacity building

Build up global capacity, especially in developing countries, to meet the overall challenge;

Establish effective institutions and systems which will ensure these objectives are implemented successfully.
All the details of the Cancun Agreements may be found here.

All industrialized countries and more than 40 developing countries had submitted official emission reduction targets and actions by COP17. But, in the big picture, the international response was still lacking in a critical area.

The sum total of official emission reduction pledges from all countries amounted to only around 60 percent of what was needed to limit the temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, the temperature ceiling that would give us a reasonable chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.

Note: The following year, in Durban, South Africa, countries launched a work plan on deepening mitigation ambition, as part of the path they charted towards a new future climate agreement.

The Cancun Agreements also included a timely schedule for nations under the Climate Change Convention to review the progress they make towards their expressed objective of keeping the average global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius. Governments agreed to review whether the objective needed to be strengthened in future, on the basis of the best scientific knowledge available. This was fleshed out further at COP17 the following year in Durban.


Introduction to the United Nations Cancun Agreements