The agreement achieved at the climate summit in Cancun was a "big step" that exceeded expectations, a top UN official on climate change has said, asking nations to get to the task of quickly implementing the measures with credible accountability systems.
All nations, particularly the industrialised ones, must follow up the successful UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun with higher global emission cuts and the rapid launch of new institutions and green funds, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) said.
"Cancun was a big step, bigger than many imagined might be possible. But the time has come for all of us to exceed our own expectations because nothing less will do," said Figueres.
The Cancun Agreements, reached on December 11 in Mexico call for countries to list under the UNFCCC the emission reduction targets and actions which they announced in 2010, forming the collective basis for the largest mitigation effort the world has ever seen.
They also agreed to build a comprehensive system of mutual accountability towards these goals.
"It needs to be implemented as fast as possible, and it needs to be accompanied by credible accountability systems that will help in measuring real progress," she said.
Figueres said if all the Cancun targets and actions are fully implemented, UN estimates show they could deliver only 60% of the emission reductions that science says will be needed to stay below the agreed two degree rise in average temperatures.
A two-degree rise does not guarantee the survival of the most vulnerable peoples.
The Cancun Agreements also include the most comprehensive package ever agreed by governments to help developing nations deal with climate change, including new institutions, funding channels and a technology transfer mechanism to help build its own sustainable, low-emissions future, adapt more effectively to climate change, and preserve and protect forests, the official said.
Figueres said that she expected in particular to see rapid decisions on appointing the board of the new Green Fund and the Committee of the Technology Mechanism.
"All countries, but particularly industrialised nations, need to deepen their emission reduction efforts and to do so quickly," she said.