The Paris Agreement came out of the COP21, the 21st Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), held in Paris from November 30th to December 12th, 2015. The agreement was adopted on December 12th, 2015.
The Paris Agreement, like the Kyoto Protocol and the Doha Amendment, falls under the framework of the UNFCCC. Article 7 of the UNFCCC established a Conference of Parties (COP), which acts as the supreme body of the convention, and meets annually unless otherwise decided. It is at these annual meetings, the UN Climate Change Conferences, where negotiations and decisions on behalf of the state parties are made.
Negotiations for the Paris Agreement started in Durban, South Africa at the COP17 with the establishment of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, commonly known as the Durban Platform, in which the Parties to the UNFCCC agreed to establish a working group to negotiate “another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force” by 2015 at COP21 (the Paris Conference) and to come into effect and be implemented by 2020.
The Paris agreement was open for signatures from the April 22nd, 2016 to April 21st, 2017. In accordance with article 21(1), it came into force on November 4th, 2016, the 30th day after the date on which at least 55 Parties, accounting for an estimated 55 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions, have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.
Parties may withdraw from the agreement after three years of the agreement entering into force; however, they cannot make reservations to the agreement.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the Depositary of the agreement. Therefore, the text and status of the agreement, including information about which parties have signed and ratified the agreement, can be found on the UN Treaty Information website, in the MTDSG Status of Treaties Database.