Press Releases

    3 June 2002


    NEW YORK, 31 May (UN Headquarters) -- The 15 member States of the European Union (EU) and the European Commission jointly deposited their respective instruments of ratification, acceptance and approval to the Kyoto Protocol on Friday, 31 May at United Nations Headquarters. The event took place at 10:45 a.m. in Room 226, followed by a press conference at 11 a.m. Jaume Matas Palou, Minister of the Environment of Spain -- the country currently holding the rotating European Union presidency -- other European Union environment ministers and the European Commissioner for the Environment, Margot Wallström, traveled to New York for the occasion.

    Secretary-General Kofi Annan then met with the European Union representatives at a luncheon at the residence of the Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations.

    The 1997 Kyoto Protocol is an addition to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which has 186 parties, including the 15 member States of the European Union and the European Community. The treaties seek to stabilize concentrations in the atmosphere of greenhouse gases –- a leading cause of global warming. The Kyoto Protocol establishes quantified commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: over the period 2008 to 2012, worldwide emissions must be reduced by five per cent compared with 1990 levels.

    To enter into force, the Kyoto Protocol will need to be ratified by at least 55 States parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, including specified industrialized countries representing at least 55 per cent of the total 1990 carbon dioxide emissions from this group –- a condition not yet met. So far, 55 countries have ratified the Protocol, all of which are parties to the Convention.

    For further information, please contact Agustin Galan, Mission of Spain, at (212) 661 1050, e-mail:; George Cunningham, European Commission, at (212) 401 0133, e-mail:; or Palita Kohona, Treaty Section, United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, at (212) 963 5048, e-mail

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