Discours devant le NGO Forum sur les enjeux de la COP 21 (25/09/2015)
Excellency Mr Tin Ponlok, General Secretary for Sustainable Development,
Ms Betty Thorgensen, Country Director, DanChurchAid/ChristianAid,
Excellency Joachim von Marschall, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany,
Mr Tek Vannara, executive director of NGO Forum,
Distinguished guests and speakers,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I wish at the outset to congratulate the NGO Forum and DanChurchAid/ChristianAid for organizing this launching event of the Policy Brief on “Climate Negotiation : preparedness to COP 21”. This is a most welcome initiative. I would also like to thank you for inviting me to say a few words about France’s expectations for the upcoming COP 21 that it will host in Paris from November 30.
I was myself in Paris at the end of August to attend our annual French ambassadors’ meeting. This year, we devoted a full day to climate diplomacy with a keynote speech by Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations. At the end of his speech, Mr Ban Ki-moon made the following remarks : “France has a well developed diplomatic machinery. I know you are all doing your part, in the countries where you work, in your contacts with leaders and the general public, to promote the outcome we want. Thank you for those efforts. Between now and the conference in December, I will continue to count on you to raise awareness, mobilize people for climate action, and do everything you can to make the conference a great success. This is one of my top priorities, and your support will be crucial. You might say that I now consider all of you to be climate ambassadors for the United Nations !”
Therefore, it is a great honor to address you this morning with two hats : one as French Ambassador, the other one as “climate ambassador for the UN.”
Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
I think there is no need to convince you that climate change, or rather climate disruption, can already be felt by all of us. As you know, 2015 is going to be the warmest year in recorded history and 13 of the 14 warmest years in recorded weather history occurred in the opening years of the 21st century according to the World Meteorological Organization ! This reminds us of the urgency to reach an agreement in Paris next December to act on climate change.
This is all the more critical since climate disruption affects everyone, but even more vulnerable people and countries like, for instance, Cambodia, or Bangladesh where the foreign ministers of France and Germany paid a joint visit on September 21, focused on climate change. On the other hand, all nations around the world, especially developing countries like, again, Cambodia, that have not contributed to global warming, want to pursue their economic development, which means power generation development, using more cars and in the end more carbon emissions. That is the equation we must resolve in Paris so that the need for continuous economic development does not adversely affect our climate. Otherwise, the risk is that the economic gains achieved over the past 10-20 years, in the developing world and particularly in Cambodia, where poverty has receded remarkably, will be jeopardized by the negative consequences of climate change on agriculture, infrastructure development or food security.
That’s the general backdrop for the upcoming climate change discussions that will take place in Paris from 30 November until 11 December. Let me turn now to what we want to achieve during “Paris Climate 2015”, as we have coined it, which is directly related to the example I just gave. First, we have to be a good host because more than 20 000 people from all walks of life are expected to participate. This is a huge challenge given that the COP meeting will be the largest event ever organized by France. Our second goal, as chair of the Conference, is of course to reach an agreement that enables us to limit the rise of the planet’s average temperature to less than 2ºC above pre-industrial levels.
To achieve this, we are working with all countries and stakeholders, transparently, to support the negotiating process towards an agreement that everyone will be able to own. In our capacity as future Presidency and with the help of Peru which held the COP 20 chairmanship, we are listening equally to all parties, in order to understand the concerns, the national situations and the expectations for each and every one of them, particularly the most vulnerable. This is what our Minister for development, Mrs Annick Girardin, did when she visited Cambodia last May. That is also what is going to happen during the General Assembly of the United Nations, where the UN SG Mr Ban Ki Moon is convening a meeting of heads of States and Government this week in New York.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Our goal is to realize, in December, a “Paris Alliance for Climate” relying on four components :
o The first, and most important one, is a universal and legally binding agreement. This agreement will have to cover equally mitigation and adaptation measures. The agreement will also have to take into account everyone’s responsibilities and capabilities.
o The second component will be the national contributions (iNDCs) that each country must publish before the Paris Conference. These contributions must present commitments on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, and for those willing to do so, include adaptation plans. To date, 59 countries including the European Union member states, have already presented their iNDCs accounting for more than 61% of total emissions (and 95% of developed countries’ emissions). We hope to reach 90% of total emissions by November but it is going to be challenging because, as you all know, there are 196 participating states and only 1/3 of them have already submitted their contributions. On this specific point, I know that the Ministry of Environment has been working hard to finalize Cambodia’s contribution and we have been encouraged to see consultations taking place, the latest last week, with stakeholders and civil society organizations, on the drafting of Cambodia’s iNDC.
o The third component is about finance : to make a global transition possible, we must create confidence that the commitment made in Copenhagen in 2009 to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 for developing countries will indeed be honored. Some of it will go through the Green Climate Fund, to which France has already contributed for an amount of $1 billion.
o Finally, the fourth aspect of the Paris Alliance aims at involving civil society and non-state actors to commit and strengthen the engagement of governments. This is what we call the “solutions agenda”. We have been supporting all kinds of initiatives to that end, including here in Cambodia in June when we organized a citizens ‘debate on Climate change with the support of one leading Cambodian blogger.
Let me underline that this last pillar of the Climate deal is essential because the agreement that we hope to reach in Paris will enter into force only in 2020. So we need to start acting before that date, at different levels. Hence the importance of all the initiatives taken by non-state actors like businesses, communities, local governments and cities to reduce their emissions. A specific venue on the site of the Conference will be provided for delegates and other participants to showcase these projects.
There are initiatives taking place in Cambodia in this area and we hope to see more of them coming, like for instance the Prey Lang Community Network which has been awarded the Equator Prize 2015 recently for its action in forest conservation.
Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
That brings me to my last point, which is the very importance of today’s workshop.
Let’s face it, climate change negotiations are dry, technical and complex. They involve a lot of jargon familiar only to specialists and a myriad of acronyms used by negotiators. As a sort of quiz before the policy brief on climate change negotiations is released later today, let me mention a few : MRV (measurement, reporting and verification), NAMA (nationally appropriate mitigation actions) and my personal favorite LULUCF (land use, land-use change and forestry). This illustrates the need to raise awareness about climate change negotiations so that the people can better understand what is at stake. This can certainly be done in simple words that everybody can understand. I am therefore very pleased to support today’s initiative by NGO Forum and DanChurch/ChristianAid to launch this policy brief on climate change negotiations.
To conclude and in response to the title of this keynote address, I would like to stress that France is trying to build momentum on climate change negotiations so that a fair, equitable, legally binding and ambitious agreement on climate change can be reached in Paris in December. It is in the interest of all member states. But that is not going to be the end of the process and we will need to continue working on national contributions, climate financing, technology transfer and carbon pricing. That’s why it is important that everybody remains committed and engaged on this issue of climate change in order to put ideas on the table and initiatives that will help us preserving the future of our planet.
I thank you for your attention and I wish a very productive workshop.