By Jaime Salazar – Student of the School of General Studies
Treaties have upheld an important role in human history, world peace, and global development. Although there have been numerous disasters caused by disagreements between different populations, it is important to recognize what was accomplished after those disasters to prevent them from happening again. Treaties are one of the many ways in which peace and prosperity have emerged from such catastrophes. However, the development of those treaties took much effort from many different parties to reach a settlement that all could agree on. A nation’s sovereignty is esteemed most highly, and developing an agreement that could potentially limit or alter that autonomy is no easy task. This essay hopes that, by demonstrating the collaboration that was required to develop the Paris Accord in 2015, it is possible to believe that numerous countries can work towards a common goal in agreement, while also maintaining their own sovereignty.
The Paris Accord is an agreement that was made in 2015 between numerous countries to combat climate change and global warming in joint efforts. As stated by the United Nations, “The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change… Additionally, the agreement aims to increase the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change, and at making finance flows consistent with a low GHG emissions and climate resilient pathway.” (UNFCCC, n.d.) To be able to accomplish these goals, the Paris Agreement requires that each country provide “nationally determined contributions” or NDCs. These nationally determined contributions are set plans that each country develops for themselves in order to be able to adapt to the impacts of climate change, lower greenhouse gas emissions, protect food production, and amplify and elaborate more sustainable ways to develop in the future (UNFCCC, n.d.).
There are many benefits to having this system of NDCs establish their own criteria on how they wish to follow through with their commitment to the Paris Agreement. This method allows each of the parties to assess the best methods that would work for them, as opposed to every party having to follow the same methods. This system also allows for a dynamic of transparent reporting from the parties on the progress they are making. This autonomy given to each of the parties to decide for themselves what course of action they would want to take to decrease the effects of climate change preserves the sovereignty of all the countries involved. Multilateral organizations are important to accomplish larger goals that one country alone cannot accomplish. However, it is important that each individual country as a member of those multilateral organizations feel respected and not forced to relinquish their autonomy. (Makinda, 2009).
As previously mentioned, there are numerous reasons why the Paris Accord can be considered a milestone in human history. Although there is still much work to be done regarding climate change and developing sustainable means of growth, acting on the need to work in conjunction with other parties was a good first step these countries did in making a difference. The Paris Agreement recognizes the need for global collaboration, while at the same time respects the autonomy each country has to make a positive impact in the best way they can. Hopefully in the future more treaties and international relationships can be handled in this manner.
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• Makinda, S. (2009, February 16). Changing Concepts of State Sovereignty. World Politics Review. Retrieved from https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/3295/changing-concepts-of-state-sovereignty
• UNFCCC. (n.d.). National Decarbonization Plan. Retrieved from https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/NationalDecarbonizationPlan.pdf
• UNFCCC. (n.d.). Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Retrieved from https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement/nationally-determinedcontributions-ndcs#eq-5
• UNFCCC. (n.d.). What is the Paris Agreement? Retrieved from https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/what-is-the-paris-agreement