Negotiators from nearly 200 countries on Saturday agreed on a package of the implementation guidelines, or a common rulebook of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
The 24th Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), stretched beyond official closing time on Friday evening and overran deep into Saturday in the southern Polish city of Katowice.
Heads of the delegations react at the end of the final session of the COP24 summit on climate change in Katowice, Poland, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018. [Photo: AP/Czarek Sokolowski]
"This was not an easy task. It was hard and daunting, but we pushed it through," said Michal Kurtyka, president of the COP24 and state secretary of Poland's Ministry of Energy.
"Through this package, you have made a thousand little steps forward together," said Kurtyka,
"We will all have to give in order to gain," he said. "We will all have to be courageous to look into the future and make yet another step for the sake of humanity."
The agreed guidelines mean that countries can now establish the national systems that are needed for implementing the Paris Agreement starting from 2020. The same will be done at the international level.
Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) also hailed the achievement.
"Katowice has shown once more the resilience of the Paris Agreement - our solid roadmap for climate action," she said.
The agreed "Katowice Climate Package" includes guidelines that will operationalize the transparency framework, setting out how countries will provide information about their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that describe their domestic climate actions.
The rulebook spells out mitigation and adaptation measures as well as details of financial support for climate action in developing countries.
The package also includes guidelines that relate to the process for establishing new targets on finance from 2025 onwards to follow-on from the current target of mobilizing 100 billion U.S. dollars per year from 2020 to support developing countries.
The guidelines also include how to assess progress on the development and transfer of technology to developing countries to help them adapt to climate challenges.
Under the rulebook, the participating countries shall update their voluntary goals of carbon emission reduction by 2020 with the pledges by the countries reviewed at a UN climate summit to be held in September 2019.
Xie Zhenhua, China's special representative on climate change affairs, said the comprehensive, balanced and strong package of guidelines adopted by the conference laid a policy foundation for implementing the Paris Agreement.
The conference marked the success and effectiveness of multilateralism, Xie said, adding that the rulebook is in accordance with the principles of equity, "common but differentiated responsibilities" and respective capabilities while taking actual conditions of each country into account.
The UN climate conference came as latest reports show that climate challenges remain undeterred and global carbon emissions are set to hit an all-time high in 2018.
A report by the World Meteorological Organization shows that the impacts of the long-term global warming trend remains undeterred in 2018, following the 20 warmest years recorded in the past 22 years, with the top four in the past four years.