Kyoto Protocol Procedures

The text of the Protocol to the UNFCCC was adopted at the third session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 3) in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997; it was open for signature from 16 March 1998 to 15 March 1999 at United Nations Headquarters, New York. By that date the Protocol had received 84 signatures. Those Parties that have not yet signed the Kyoto Protocol may accede to it at any time.

The Protocol is subject to ratification, acceptance, approval or accession by Parties to the Convention. It entered into force on 16 February 2005 - the ninetieth day after at least 55 Parties to the Convention, incorporating Annex I Parties which accounted in total for at least 55 % of the total carbon dioxide emissions for 1990 from that group - deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

The list to the right contains the latest information concerning dates of signature and ratification received from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as Depositary of the Kyoto Protocol. The dates in the column entitled \"ratification\" are those of the receipt of the instrument of ratification (R), acceptance (At), approval (Ap) or accession (Ac). (For an explanation of these legal terms, visit the UN's Treaty Reference Guide).

Amendment to Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol

At the second session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 2), held in Nairobi, Kenya, in November 2006, Parties to the Kyoto Protocol adopted an Amendment to Annex B to the Kyoto Protocol by decision 10/CMP.2. The decision was adopted in accordance with Article 20 and 21 of the Kyoto Protocol, based on a proposal from Belarus to amend Annex B to the Kyoto Protocol, which was submitted in March 2006.

The Notification of the Amendment was communicated on 17 April 2006, to all Parties to the Kyoto Protocol by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, acting in his capacity as Depositary.

The amendment is subject to acceptance by Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. It will enter into force for those Parties having accepted it on the ninetieth day after the date of receipt by the Depositary of an instrument of acceptance by at least three fourths of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

The list to the right contains the latest information concerning acceptances received from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as Depositary of the Amendment to Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol. The dates in the column entitled \"acceptance\" are those of the receipt of the instrument of acceptance (At). (For an explanation of these legal terms, visit the UN's Treaty Reference Guide).
Parties which have accepted the Amendment to Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol
List of Parties which have accepted the Amendment to Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol (120 kB) (as at 29 November 2008)

The Conference of the Parties (COP) serves as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. This is referred to as the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP).

The CMP meets annually during the same period as the COP. Parties to the Convention that are not Parties to the Protocol are able to participate in the CMP as observers, but without the right to take decisions. The functions of the CMP relating to the Protocol are similar to those carried out by the COP for the Convention.

The first meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol was held in Montreal, Canada in December 2005, in conjunction with the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11).

Decisions were adopted that outline the path to future international action on climate change. The Parties to the Kyoto Protocol also formally adopted the “rulebook” of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the so-called ‘Marrakesh accords’, which sets the framework for implementation of the Protocol.

The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI)
These two permanent subsidiary bodies established under the Convention also serve the CMP.

The Bureau
The Bureau of the COP also serves the CMP. However, any member of the COP Bureau representing a non-Party to the Kyoto Protocol has to be replaced by a member representing a Kyoto Protocol Party.

Constituted Bodies under the Kyoto Protocol

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Executive Board
The CDM Executive Board supervises the CDM under the Kyoto Protocol and prepares decisions for the CMP. It undertakes a variety of tasks relating to the day-to-day operation of the CDM, including the accreditation of operational entities.

Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee
The Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee (JISC), under the authority and guidance of the CMP, inter alia, supervises the verification of emission reduction units (ERUs) generated by JI projects following the verification procedure under the JISC.

Compliance Committee
The compliance regime consists of a Compliance Committee made up of two branches: a Facilitative Branch and an Enforcement Branch.

The Mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol:
Emissions Trading, the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation


Countries with commitments under the Kyoto Protocol to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions must meet their targets primarily through national measures. As an additional means of meeting these targets, the Kyoto Protocol introduced three market-based mechanisms, thereby creating what is now known as the “carbon market.”

The Kyoto mechanisms are:

Emissions Trading
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
Joint Implementation (JI)
The Kyoto mechanisms:

Stimulate sustainable development through technology transfer and investment
Help countries with Kyoto commitments to meet their targets by reducing emissions or removing carbon from the atmosphere in other countries in a cost-effective way
Encourage the private sector and developing countries to contribute to emission reduction efforts

JI and CDM are the two project-based mechanisms which feed the carbon market. JI enables industrialized countries to carry out joint implementation projects with other developed countries, while the CDM involves investment in sustainable development projects that reduce emissions in developing countries.

The carbon market is a key tool for reducing emissions worldwide. It was worth 30 billion USD in 2006 and is growing.

Annex I Parties must provide information in their national communications under the Protocol to demonstrate that their use of the mechanisms is “supplemental to domestic action” to achieve their targets. This information is assessed by the facilitative branch of the Compliance Committee

Eligibility requirements

To participate in the mechanisms, Annex I Parties must meet, among others, the following eligibility requirements:

They must have ratified the Kyoto Protocol.
They must have calculated their assigned amount in terms of tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions.
They must have in place a national system for estimating emissions and removals of greenhouse gases within their territory.
They must have in place a national registry to record and track the creation and movement of ERUs, CERs, AAUs and RMUs and must annually report such information to the secretariat.
They must annually report information on emissions and removals to the secretariat.

Detailed eligibility requirements

Detailed eligibility requirements can be found under the respective decisions agreed by the CMP, as follows:

ET eligibility requirements are reflected in in the Modalities, rules and guidelines for emissions trading under Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol ( decision 11/CMP.1);
CDM eligibility requirements are reflected in section F in the modalities and procedures ( decision 3/CMP.1);
JI eligibility requirements are reflected in section D in the Guidelines for implementation of Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol ( decision 9/CMP.1);
Businesses, non-governmental organizations and other legal entities may participate in the three mechanisms under the authority and responsibility of governments.

Key Decisions
Clean Development Mechanism
Decisions related to clean development mechanism (CDM) adopted by CMP (Dec. 2/CMP.1 to 7/CMP.1)
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Further guidance relating to the Clean Development Mechanism -Decision by CMP more >>

Joint Implementation
Decisions related to joint implementation (JI) adopted by CMP (Dec. 9/CMP.1 to 10/CMP.1)
more >>

Emissions Trading
Decisions related to emissions trading (ET) adopted by CMP (Dec. 11/CMP.1 to 13/CMP.1)
more >>

Key Links
Clean Development Mechanism

Joint Implementation

Emissions Trading

News, 22 October 2008

The UNFCCC secretariat is pleased to announce the successful linking of the national registries of Liechtenstein and Norway with the International Transaction Log (ITL).

The national registries of Norway and Liechtenstein joined thirty national registries that were already “Live” with the ITL together with the CDM registry, expanding further the Kyoto Protocol registry system.

Registry systems under the Kyoto Protocol

Emission targets for industrialized country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol are expressed as levels of allowed emissions, or “assigned amounts”, over the 2008-2012 commitment period. Such assigned amounts are denominated in tonnes (of CO2 equivalent emissions) known informally as “Kyoto units”.

The ability of Parties to add to their holdings of Kyoto units (e.g. through credits for CDM or LULUCF activities) or move units from one country to another (e.g. through emissions trading or JI projects) requires registry systems that can track the location of Kyoto units at all times.

Two types of registry are being implemented:

Governments of the 38 Annex B Parties are implementing national registries, containing accounts within which units are held in the name of the government or in the name of legal entities authorized by the government to hold and trade units.

The UNFCCC secretariat, under the authority of the CDM Executive Board, has implemented the CDM registry for issuing CDM credits and distributing them to national registries. Accounts in the CDM registry are held only by CDM project participants, as the registry does not accept emissions trading between accounts.
In addition to recording the holdings of Kyoto units, these registries “settle” emissions trades by delivering units from the accounts of sellers to those of buyers, thus forming the backbone infrastructure for the carbon market.

Each registry will operate through a link established with the International transaction log put in place and administered by the UNFCCC secretariat. The ITL verifies registry transactions, in real time, to ensure they are consistent with rules agreed under the Kyoto Protocol. The ITL requires registries to terminate transactions they propose that are found to infringe upon the Kyoto rules.

In verifying registry transactions, the ITL provides an independent check that unit holdings are being recorded accurately in registries. After the Kyoto commitment period is finished, the end status of the unit holdings for each Annex B Party will be compared with the Party’s emissions over the commitment period in order to assess whether it has complied with its emission target under the Kyoto Protocol.

EU emissions trading

Domestic or regional emissions trading schemes that use Kyoto units also undertake their settlement through these registry systems. For example, under the second phase of the European Union emissions trading scheme, EU allowances are specific Kyoto units which have been designated as being valid for trading under the scheme. Transactions in EU allowances are therefore recorded automatically as transactions under the Kyoto Protocol.

As EU trading legislation sets in place rules over and above those agreed for the Kyoto Protocol, a supplemental transaction log has been implemented by the European Commission. The Community Independent Transaction Log has been in place since the start of the scheme in 2005 and EU registries are now operating with it.

For the start of the Kyoto commitment period in 2008, EU registries are to switch their connections from the CITL to the ITL. The ITL will conduct “Kyoto checks” on transactions proposed by both EU and non-EU registries. In the case of transactions involving EU registries, the ITL will forward information to the CITL so that it can conduct “supplementary checks” defined under the EU scheme.

Previous news

22 September 2008

The European Commission (EC), EU member States and the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have completed the last preparatory phases of setting up a live connection between the Community Independent Transaction Log (CITL), the UNFCCC International Transaction Log (ITL) and member State registries. The final connection process between the ITL and CITL will start on 6 October at 8:00 am CEST and is expected to take at least 10 calendar days. During this period no transactions will be possible through the CITL.

Once complete, the connection will enable account holders to import and use Certified Emission Reduction units (CERs) and Emission Reduction Units (ERUs) from non-EU registries. Member State registries will also be able to issue ERUs and export those ERUs to non-EU ETS registries. After completion of the ITL-CITL link, a notice period of at least 12 hours will be given before transactions are processed through the CITL, ITL, and EU member State registries. In this regard, the EC and the UNFCCC secretariat will issue an update on 16th October 2008 which will be displayed on this website.

August 2008

The UNFCCC secretariat, in close cooperation with the European Commission, has completed successfully a major round of extensive technical tests relating to the linking of UNFCCC's International Transaction Log (ITL) and the Community Independent Transaction Log (CITL). These tests took place from 18 July to 4 August 2008. In addition to the ITL and the CITL, the national registries of the member States of the European Union (EU), the registry of the European Community and three registries of non-EU countries took part in the tests. The UNFCCC secretariat confirms that the preparations are on schedule and, following satisfactory completion of the remaining preparatory work, the linking of EU's registries and CITL to UNFCCC's ITL can start in the first half of October this year.

Key Documents
Checks to be performed by the International Transaction Log
Data Exchange Standards
(1393 kB) Technical Specification

Key decisions
Decision 13/CMP.1 on assigned amount accounting under the Kyoto Protocol
Decision 3/CMP.1 on guidelines for the CDM (Appendix D on CDM registry)
Decision 5/CMP.1 on afforestation and reforestation CDM project activities


The Kyoto Protocol’s effectiveness will depend upon two critical factors: whether Parties follow the Protocol’s rulebook and comply with their commitments; and whether the emissions data used to assess compliance is reliable. Recognizing this, the Kyoto Protocol and Marrakesh Accords, adopted by CMP 1 in Montreal, Canada, in December 2005, include a set of monitoring and compliance procedures to enforce the Protocol’s rules, address any compliance problems, and avoid any error in calculating emissions data and accounting for transactions under the three Kyoto mechanisms (emissions trading, clean development mechanism and joint implementation) and activities related to land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF).

The Protocol’s monitoring procedures are based on existing reporting and review procedures under the Convention, building on experience gained in the climate change process over the past decade. They also involve additional accounting procedures that are needed to track and record Parties’ holdings and transactions of Kyoto Protocol units - assigned amount units (AAUs), certified emission reductions (CERs) and emission reduction units (ERUs) - and removal units (RMUs) generated by LULUCF activities.

Articles 5, 7 and 8 of the Kyoto Protocol address reporting and review of information by Annex I Parties under the Protocol, as well as national systems and methodologies for the preparation of greenhouse gas inventories.

Article 5 commits Annex I Parties to having in place, no later than 2007, national systems for the estimation of greenhouse gas emissions by sources and removals by sinks (Article 5.1). It also states that, where agreed methodologies (that is, the revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, see decision 2/CP.3) are not used to estimate emissions and removals, appropriate \"adjustments\" should be applied (Article 5.2).
Article 7 requires Annex I Parties to submit annual greenhouse gas inventories, as well as national communications, at regular intervals, both including supplementary information to demonstrate compliance with the Protocol. In addition, Article 7 states that the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (CMP) shall decide upon modalities for the accounting of assigned amounts prior to the first commitment period.
Article 8 establishes that expert review teams will review the inventories, and national communications submitted by Annex I Parties.

What’s new:

Fifth meeting of the plenary of the Compliance Committee

The fifth meeting of the plenary of the Compliance Committee of the Kyoto Protocol will be held in Bonn, Germany from 8 to 10 October 2008. This meeting will be preceded by the sixth meeting of the enforcement branch, which will take place from 6 to 7 October 2008 and the sixth meeting of the facilitative branch, which will take place on 7 October 2008.

more>> (79 kB)

Informal information notes by the secretariat on recent and current compliance cases

Greece>> (84 kB)

Canada>> (81 kB)

An introduction to the Kyoto Protocol Compliance Mechanism

The Kyoto Protocol compliance mechanism is designed to strengthen the Protocol’s environmental integrity, support the carbon market’s credibility and ensure transparency of accounting by Parties. Its objective is to facilitate, promote and enforce compliance with the commitments under the Protocol. It is among the most comprehensive and rigorous systems of compliance for a multilateral environmental agreement. A strong and effective compliance mechanism is key to the success of the implementation of the Protocol.



The last of the bodies established under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the treaty’s Compliance Committee is now fully operational. In November 2006, the first annual report of the Committee was presented to the second session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 2). The CMP approved the rules of procedure for the Committee, as recommended in the report.

At CMP 1, the procedures and mechanisms relating to compliance under the Kyoto Protocol were adopted (in decision 27/CMP.1), and the members and alternate members of the facilitative and enforcement branches were elected. Later at their first meetings in March 2006, the chairperson and vice-chairperson of the branches were chosen.

Article 18 of the Kyoto Protocol calls on the CMP to approve, at its first session, “procedures and mechanisms” to determine and address cases of non-compliance with the Protocol. At COP 4 (Buenos Aires, November 1998), Parties established a joint working group (JWG) on compliance to develop a compliance system under the Protocol, with a view to adopting a decision on this issue at COP 6 (The Hague, November 2000). The “Buenos Aires Plan of Action” adopted at COP 4 called for work on, among other things, the preparations for CMP 1, including the elements of the Protocol related to compliance.



Enforcement Branch

Facilitative Branch

Updated: 4 February 2008

Key Decisions
Decision 27/CMP.1 Procedures and Mechanisms relating to compliance under the Kyoto Protocol

Decision 4/CMP.2 Compliance Committee

more >>

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