The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change made in New York on May 9 of 1992, and in force since March 21 of 1994, was approved by the Colombian Congress by means of Law 164 of October 27, 1994. This Law was declared constitutional by the Constitutional Court through judgment C-073/95 1.

The Convention became enforceable for Colombia on June 20, 1995 after the Colombian Government deposited the instrument of ratification on March 22 of 1995.

The Convention was enacted for Colombian internal purposes by means of Decree 2081 of November 29 of 1995 issued by the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Kioto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted in Kioto on December 11 of 1997.

The objective of the Convention and it's Protocol is to stabilize the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, which are responsible for climatic changes in the planet.

The Kioto Protocol establishes specific reduction goals of greenhouse gas emissions for the period 2008 - 2012 for Parties included in Annex I 2, which includes industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy.

Developing countries that are not included in Annex I, as is the case of Colombia, but are a Party to the Protocol did not acquire any specific emission reduction obligations.

Item 1 of article 6 of the Protocol establishes the following:

"1. For the purpose of meeting its commitments under Article 3, any Party included in Annex I may transfer to, or acquire from, any other such Party 3 emission reduction units resulting from projects aimed at reducing anthropogenic emissions by sources or enhancing anthropogenic removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in any sector of the economy, provided that:

(a) Any such project has the approval of the Parties involved;(b) Any such project provides a reduction in emissions by sources, or an enhancement of removals by sinks, that is additional to any that would otherwise occur;(c) It does not acquire any emission reduction units if it is not in compliance with its obligations under Articles 5 and 7; and (d) The acquisition of emission reduction units shall be supplemental to domestic actions for the purposes of meeting commitments under Article 3."

In this manner the Protocol establishes a mechanism to reduce impact of the costs involved in emission reduction goals and the promotion of sustainable development in developing countries by creating an economic instrument that allows a Party included in Annex I to invest in emission reduction projects implemented in a developing country Party to the Protocol. wherever these projects are less expensive.

This mechanism of emission compensation becomes a source of foreign investment for developing countries that are a Party to the Protocol, such as Colombia.

In other words, the Kioto Protocol allows developing countries that are not a Party included in Annex I to maximize environmental, economical and social benefits through gas emission reduction projects. These projects allow public and private foreign inversion flows in all sectors. A Party included in Annex I may invest in emission reduction projects in sectors such as energy, mining, industry, transport, agriculture and forests.

Additionally articles 10 and 11 of the Kioto Protocol, which are applicable to every Party to the Protocol, reaffirm commitments related to article 4 of the Convention, such as the provision of new and additional financial resources for national inventories of gas emissions and provisions to finance technological transfers.

It must be noted that the Kioto Protocol is not yet in force for Colombian internal purposes.

The Kioto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was approved by the Colombian Congress by means of Law 629 of December 27, 2000.

This Law must now be subject to a constitutional revision and approval by the Colombian Constitutional Court.

Article 1 of Law 7 of November 30, 1944 establishes that Treaties, Conventions, Arrangements or any other international act approved by Congress will not be enforceable for Colombian internal purposes, as long as these acts are not formalized by the Government by means of a ratification instrument exchange, the deposit of the ratification instrument, or any other equivalent formalization.

Article 2 of the above mentioned Law establishes that once these international acts are formalized they must be enacted by means of a Decree.

This means that after Law 629 of 2000 is constitutionally approved by the Constitutional Court, the Colombian Government must deposit the ratification instrument and afterwards issue a Decree in order to comply with the formalities established by Colombian law.


  1. The declaration by the Constitutional Court to the effect that a law whereby Congress ratifies an international instrument does not contravene the Colombian Constitution is one of the formal requirements established by Colombian Law for the entry into force (for Colombian internal purposes) of the relevant instrument.
  2. "Party included in Annex I" means a Party included in Annex I to the Convention, as may be amended, or a Party which has made a notification under Article 4, paragraph 2(g), of the Convention. (Colombia is not a "Party included in Annex I")
  3. "Party" means, unless the context otherwise indicates, a Party to the Protocol.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.