Notwithstanding the mitigation objective envisaged in the Convention, the first COP, held in Berlin in 1995, concluded that the vast majority of the developed countries would not succeed in reducing their emissions to pre-1990 levels by around 2000, as they were committed to do under the Convention. It was therefore necessary
to review these commitments and a resolution known as the Berlin Mandate was approved in order to do so.
The Berlin Mandate declared that the developed countries, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities laid down by the Convention, should establish, by means of a Protocol or other legal instrument, quantitative emission reduction targets, as well as a description of the policies and measures needed to achieve these targets. The deadline was COP 3, which was to be held in 1997.
Following two years of intense negotiations, COP 3, held in Kyoto in December 1997, adopted a Protocol to the Convention, known as the Kyoto Protocol, which established quantified anthropogenic GHG emission reduction or limitation commitments for the developed countries.
It should be emphasized that these commitments depended on the political disposition of each country. At that time, there was no consensus on a criterion or criteria governing the allocation of the burden of mitigating climate change in line with the historic responsibility of each nation for the high concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere. It is also worth noting that the Protocol did not establish additional commitments for the developing countries.
The Kyoto Protocol defines legally binding emission targets for the Annex I Parties and establishes mechanisms for meeting them. However it did not enter into international force until February 16, 2005, after ratification by the Russian Federation at the end of 2004.
In accordance with Article 3.1, the Annex I Parties undertook not to exceed their assigned limits and to reduce their GHG emissions by at least 5% over their 1990 levels. These targets should be achieved between 2008 and 2012, known as the first commitment period. Thus, the phase of recognizing and accounting the reductions by the Annex I Parties began on January 1, 2008. As mentioned previously, the targets were attributed exclusively to the Annex I Parties and it will be up to them to lead the process, initiating the fight against climate change and its impacts, in accordance with the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.
Should the Annex I Parties fail to comply with the targets established in the Protocol, they will be subject to the legally binding consequences in accordance with Article 18.
The Kyoto Protocol established three Additional Implementation Mechanisms to complement the domestic GHG reduction targets implemented by the Annex I Parties: the Clean Development Mechanism (Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol), Joint Implementation (Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol) and Emissions Trading (Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol).
The CDM is the only additional implementation mechanism that permits the participation of non-Annex I Parties (so-called because they are not included in Annex I of the Convention), which do not have reduction targets and are made up of the developing nations, such as Brazil. This economic instrument aims to make it easier for the Annex I countries to meet their targets since it is frequently more cost efficient to reduce or remove GHG emissions outside their frontiers. The basic regulations needed to implement the CDM formed part of the Marrakesh Accords, established in November 2001 during COP 7. Small-scale projects were regulated during COP 8, forestry projects during COP 9 and small-scale forestry during COP 10. Since the Kyoto Protocol entered into force, further additions to and detailing of CDM-related issues have taken place within the scope of the COP/MOPs.