The Kyoto Protocol and the Marrakesh Accords

The Kyoto Protocol By Ms.Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Professor of International Law

The Kyoto Protocol introduces innovative market-based mechanisms that are available to Annex I Parties to help them meet the new rigorous commitments. These mechanisms enable parties to achieve compliance through climate friendly investments in other countries and through emission trading.

Yet, the mechanisms outlined in the Protocol required further specification of their operational rules, guidelines and procedures. Many of the 84 States which had signed the Protocol and declared their intention to ratify were reluctant to actually do so before they had a clearer picture of the Protocol’s detailed implementation procedures.

The Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention therefore started negotiating the terms of implementation of the Protocol that had been left open for further specification. Due to the large stakes at play once the Protocol would enter into force, negotiations hit major roadblocks and came to a near breakdown in December 2000.

Yet, when in addition the largest GHG emitter declared its withdrawal from the process, this galvanized the determination of the supporters of the Protocol and negotiations of implementation procedures were successfully resumed in the following year and concluded at the seventh session of the COP with the adoption of the Marrakesh Accords in  November 2001.

The Marrakesh Accords consist of thirty-nine decisions by the COP and provided the much needed framework of modalities and implementation rules that led to the subsequent ratification of the Protocol. The Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005; on the ninetieth day after “at least 55 Parties to the Convention, incorporating Annex I Parties which accounted in total for at least 55 per cent of the total carbon dioxide emissions for 1990 from that group” deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.  (article 25 (1)).


The Kyoto Protocol By
Ms.Laurence Boisson de Chazournes,
Professor of International Law
Director of the Department of Public International Law and International Organization

Faculty of Law, University of Geneva


International Law, Dispute Settlement, International Organizations, International Economic Law, Environmental Law and Water Law.


Read The Kyoto Protocol

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