France optimistic about climate deal in Paris

Paris Climate Conference – Statements to the press by M. Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, President of the Paris Climate Conference

Le Bourget, 11 December 2015

We finished this collective work at six o’clock this morning, and I will resume my consultations with all the groups, as normal, in the coming minutes.

We both, the United Nations Secretary-General and I, wanted to speak because this is an agreement of the utmost importance and the Secretary-General is very committed to it, both personally and in his capacity as leader of the UN.

I will hand over to him now, but allow me to say quite simply that we are almost at the finish line, that I am optimistic, that the conditions for preparing this ambitious agreement have been very good, and that, following the consultations I am going to carry out, I will be able, tomorrow morning at nine o’clock, to present a text to all the parties which I am sure will be approved and will be a great step forward for all mankind./.

Paris Climate Conference/Paris Committee meeting/9.00 p.m. – Speech by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, President of COP21

Le Bourget, 10 December 2015

Dear colleagues and friends, welcome to our Paris Committee session.

Yesterday evening, we held an important session, in which each group and party had an opportunity to give its reaction to the draft text which I had submitted to you early in the afternoon. Your feedback was useful and enabled us to clarify the content of what I hope will be our final agreement.

At the close of yesterday evening’s Paris Committee, and in line with the proposed method, I chaired a meeting in “Indaba” format in order to transparently and inclusively continue the consultations on the three major cross-cutting issues of differentiation, financing and ambition. In parallel, our colleague and friend Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, as well as ministers whom I had appointed as facilitators, were conducting other consultations on several important issues: loss and damage, cooperation measures, the preamble and forests.

At the same time, throughout yesterday night, the French Presidency listened to the opinions of the groups and parties, as part of the “constant availability” provided at my request by the Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, Ambassador François Delattre.

It was a long and intense night’s work. I know that it required efforts from every one of you. But having seen all the work that has been done, I note that it has enabled us to make progress. I would like to thank the many ministers, heads of delegation and negotiators for their involvement. I also know that after those meetings, you continued to hold discussions in order to reach compromise proposals, of which you informed us. And I would like to emphasize that it is largely down to your commitment that these discussions have, from the outset and as everyone agrees, taken place in a constructive atmosphere.

After this important work over the last few days and the whole series of meetings which I have conducted here, I believe that on the eve of the planned close of our conference, we can take a decisive step towards our final agreement. It is for this reason that in a few moments I shall be submitting to you a new version of the draft text, which the Secretariat will provide you with in this room, at the documents counter and on the UNFCCC website.

As you will see, this draft builds on the version submitted to you yesterday, and which you accepted as a basis for our work. We have taken into account as faithfully as possible the opinions expressed at our Paris Committee meeting yesterday evening, the discussions held as part of the “Indaba” meetings last night and the consultations which took place at the same time by the ministers working as facilitators.

The text makes a series of choices. When making them with the Secretariat and in liaison with the facilitators, we made sure we were balanced and impartial and tried to reconcile each party’s positions as best we could. We made these choices when we realized that the discussions were leading to quite a clear compromise. This draft is thus shorter than the previous version and decides between several options, but a few specific points remain in square brackets, namely the most complex points regarding differentiation, financing and ambition, for which there is no alternative but to hold a final discussion in the hours ahead. On these issues, it leaves our options open as I do not yet feel there is sufficient agreement.

I invite you to examine this new version from the perspective of our final agreement.

All of us here are experienced negotiators and political leaders and we all know that compromise, by definition, means giving up each party’s ideal solution in order to achieve what is desirable for all. This is exactly what is required of us today. We want an agreement. We are on the brink of achieving it. So in the remaining hours, we must show the necessary sense of responsibility to find common ground between all of us. It is time for a conclusion.

To this end, having reflected on the situation, I would like to propose that we proceed as follows. When this Paris Committee meeting ends, you will need sufficient time to study the new draft, so I propose that two and a half hours be set aside for that purpose, in groups or in whatever format you wish. After that, we will continue our consultations in a format similar to that which we adopted last night: from 11.30 p.m., I will chair a new “Indaba” meeting, which this time will exclusively focus on seeking compromises – which I will call an “Indaba for solutions”. There will be no general speeches in the room, but rather presentations of compromise wording on the points which remain open for discussion in the text which you will receive in a few moments. What is important now is to find areas of convergence. If there are difficulties on a particular point, I will ask one of my facilitator colleagues to gather the relevant heads of delegation in a quiet corner of the room or in an adjacent room, with an obligation to return with a solution within a given time period, between 30 and 45 minutes. This compromise wording will then be presented in Indaba format. So this working method demands that you show a sense of responsibility. It will, I hope, meet the requirement for results set by the heads of state and government at the opening of our conference. It will combine the necessary transparency and the effectiveness which, at this stage, is especially crucial. Furthermore, I would like to remind you that Ambassador François Delattre will remain at your disposal for the duration of our work.

Based on the progress made on the text as a whole this evening and tonight, I believe that tomorrow I will be able to submit my final proposed text to the Paris Committee.

I hope you will find this to be an appropriate working method. In the next few hours, it must help us to take those final few steps separating us from the universal, legally binding, ambitious, balanced, fair and sustainable agreement the world is waiting for. We must do it, and we can do it. And I believe, dear friends, that we will succeed.

Before closing this session, I am pleased to announce that all members of the open group of legal and linguistic experts have been appointed and that the group was able to begin work early this afternoon on articles 12, 13, 14, 16, 21, 23, 25 and 26 of the draft agreement.

Thank you all.

As there are no objections, this session is now closed./.

Paris Climate Conference/meeting of the Paris Committee/3.00 p.m. – Statement by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, President of the Paris Climate Conference

Le Bourget, 9 December 2015

Dear friends, I am now opening the session.

Welcome, all of you, to our new meeting of the Paris Committee. We are starting this session slightly late – please forgive us, as we had a long night of work. As I announced yesterday, in a few moments the secretariat will distribute a new version of the draft agreement and draft decision, which we have planned to adopt on Friday.

As agreed, this text is based on the ADP draft presented to the COP on Saturday. It also incorporates both precise and more general recommendations from the facilitators, and I would like to thank them a great deal because their work and their contributions are invaluable. It also draws on the suggestions and experience of the ADP co-facilitators, as we decided it should be so.

The ministers and heads of delegation who have facilitated talks on the various themes have worked intensely – albeit very swiftly – with you to identify possible compromises and the political choices that remain to be made. I would like to thank them – and all of you – most warmly for these efforts.

The text that will be submitted to you in a few moments aims to reflect the emerging compromises faithfully. The rule is not to pre-empt the settlement of the most political points, and to maintain a balance between the various options that remain open in the text. The aim of the text is to enable us to have an overview of the progress that has been made and to concentrate on the open issues that still need to be settled at political level.

We have therefore taken care to map out the progress and convergences that still need to be built. We will now have to continue talks on this basis to find real compromises that will allow us to conclude the legally binding, ambitious, balanced and durable agreement that we are calling for.

This text is not, of course, the final version of the agreement, and there must be no ambiguity on that point. It is possible, moreover – I warn you – that it still contains certain imprecisions or errors of interpretation. If so, please excuse us. We will, of course, be able to remedy such points.

This text is a step forward compared to Saturday’s ADP text. It is shorter, with 29 pages instead of 43, including the draft agreement and draft COP decision. Compared to the previous version, the number of bracketed points has been reduced by three-quarters – yes, that’s right, three-quarters. So that is a lot better, but it is still too many.

On several subjects, we have nearly finished our efforts, thanks to the constructive engagement of the parties:

-  a compromise has been identified on capacity-building for mitigation and adaptation, based on national needs;

-  the work is almost concluded on the major subject of adaptation to the impacts of climate change. That will allow us to focus on the issue of loss and damage, an issue on which I understand that views have come closer together;

-  we are also very close to concluding on the drawing up of the transparency framework, which will be essential to enable climate action efforts and support to be followed up;

-  we have moved forward together significantly on technology development and transfers;

-  lastly, some initial progress has been made on the issues of forests, means of cooperation, and the preamble.

On all these subjects, upon which the parties have built consensus in recent days, we therefore propose a text that I will colloquially describe as “clean”. Of course, the rule amongst us is that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

However – and I want to be transparent, as I have always been – certain major political points still need to be decided. They have now been very clearly identified. I note that three cross-cutting issues in particular will have to be discussed in depth in the coming hours: differentiation, finance and the agreement’s level of ambition. This is no surprise, but now things have been clearly stated. On these subjects, we have tried to offer clearer options that reflect, I hope, the diversity of the positions expressed.

I therefore ask you to intensify your consultations on these issues in particular, to help build compromise solutions rapidly.

Together, we need to make these key choices and strike a balance that will enable us to pursue the objective of our Convention, in accordance with the principles of equity and cooperation.

Dear colleagues and friends, this meeting will be very short, as we planned.

I will sum up the situation in a few words: we have made progress, but there is still quite a lot of work to do. I believe that the best solution, as many groups have asked, is that, in a few moments, I get the text handed out to you, that I adjourn the session and that you then take the time to study this document closely and start consultations – by country or by group, as you wish – immediately after our session. I have been asked to give you sufficient time to meet before I convene our Paris Committee again. I think the Paris Committee will meet again in the early evening, at 8.00 p.m. It must not be any later, or else your work will be pushed back. You therefore have several hours to study the text. That will, I hope, leave you enough time for your consultations. In our Paris Committee session at 8.00 p.m., you will have the opportunity to express your reactions to the text. I will then make precise proposals concerning the working method but we already need to start preparing to move forward during the night and tomorrow in order to adopt the agreement by the set deadlines.

Dear friends, I know how determined you are to make progress as early as this evening on the points that still need discussion, and I am fully convinced that we can achieve an agreement, but that requires us, more than ever, to unite our forces and be guided by the need for compromise.

So that is what I wanted to say about the method. If you agree, I will now have the text handed out to all of you and adjourn the session. We will resume the Paris Committee at 8.00 p.m., which will be very useful. I think that is the best way forward.

If you agree, I will now adjourn the session so that you can work, each of you and in your groups.

Thank you very much./.

Published on 15/12/2015

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