In a historic moment of international cooperation, more than 160 nations are expected to sign the landmark climate agreement at the United Nations headquarters in New York, coinciding with the celebration of Earth Day on April 22.
The countries are convening to sign what is known as the Paris climate deal developed and agreed upon during the U.N. climate change conference (COP21) in December 2015. The aim is to stave off the worst effects of global warming and other climatic changes.
According to the U.N., this is a record-breaking international agreement, surpassing the previous record set in 1994 by the Law of the Sea in Montego, where 119 countries came together to sign the Law of the Sea treaty.
"From a historical perspective, this will be a great day for the United Nations," said Selwin Hart, director of the U.N. Secretary General's Climate Change Support Team.
On April 21, a day before the signing, another significant meeting was held where civil society leaders discussed a set of 17 global goals, such as annihilating poverty, tackling climate change and fighting inequality in the next 15 years. The debate centered on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The signing ceremony for the climate deal will be attended by more than 60 heads of state and government who will ensure the agreement comes into force at the earliest. It was previously anticipated that the agreement would be implemented around the years 2018-2020.
However, with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon coordinating the pact, it seems plausible that the agreement would come into effect sooner than expected.
A month after at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification with the secretary-general, will the deal be implemented.
The agreement encourages all the countries — big or small, developed or developing, rich or poor — to be part of the action to help reduce global warming and make the world a better place to live in.
The long-term goal of the pact is "to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century, on the basis of equity, and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty."