The 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will hold for two weeks at Le Bourget, Paris, France from 30th November, 2015. It is expected that about 40,000 people will attend the global forum.
This piece looks at some aspects of the conference that could impact the outcome and usher in a new phase in the management of the global development agenda.
It is said that morning shows the day. Therefore, the starting point should be to hear from the host country, France. President Hollande said last month that COP 21 would be an opportunity for “all nations of the world to take a new step in favour of human rights through the UN Climate Conference. It is our duty to succeed.” This is a profound statement and clearly shows that all of us must work hard in the interest of humanity and generations unborn towards a common goal.
Recently, the French Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy recently presented the detailed plans on the preparation of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference to the world.
The COP 21 will be a crucial milestone with the goal of achieving a new international climate agreement applicable to all countries. The agreement is to limit global warning to less than 2C in accordance with the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCCC) so as to limit human and ecological damage linked to climate change caused by the use of fossil fuel and misuse of natural resources.
The French will Chair the COP and the French government has a duty to ensure the safety of all participants and the success of this historical gathering. The French will be working closely with the current COP President, who is Peruvian.
In preparation for a successful COP the French government is promoting a Paris Climate Alliance in multilateral negotiations based on four aspects – universal legal agreement applicable to all countries national commitments covering control and reduction of emissions, a financial aspect guaranteeing international solidarity with the most vulnerable countries, an “Agenda of solutions” aimed at implementing accelerators to ensure more ambitious progress above and beyond binding commitments.
France is working to be exemplary in combating climate change and it is doing everything possible in this regard. It is holding several informal meetings and bilateral negotiations.
Transition to Green Economy
France is currently processing the bill on the energy transition for green growth which has been adopted by the National Assembly and is currently being debated in the French Senate, The Bill, when passed, aims to achieve environmental excellence with a different facet of the society. The local businesses are making effort to use various financial instruments including the Energy Transition Fund to build a strong market to create green jobs.
France’s commitment to achieving an ambitious agreement at the COP21 in Paris has already contributed to the European Union tacit agreement to a common position. It has also helped in France message of solidarity and interest in global issues. France believes that the most vulnerable countries and population are particularly exposed to the consequences of global warming and a decision in December will help them in the effort to get the world to chart a way out.
The issue of security in the light of recent security challenges in France is being addressed and in this regard the government is working vigorously to ensure that the site Le Bourget provides absolute guarantee of security. The government, the local authorities and others are collaborating to ensure that the delegates have easy access that meets the required requirements for such global events.
The civil society including non-governmental organisations and business are to have their site next to the negotiating area for the delegates of the different countries and accredited observers.
The government is mobilising everyone. The President is fully involved and ensures that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development has the support of the cabinet. A lot of activities are in place to ensure that all the officials see their work as important part of a long chain that must be together and in this regard the mobilisation of the people and the civil society is accorded high priority.
The last sessional meeting of ADP in Geneva ended on a positive note and France intends to follow-up other rounds, effectively participate in the different meetings and an inter-ministerial team has been assembled for this and the “Agenda for Solutions”.
On the whole a lot of work has been done and the French authorities want to put the country on the high pedestal in the global effort to address the challenges of climate change and do everything possible to ensure that COP21 in Paris is successful.
It is evident that the French government and the people are clearly putting across a good lesson in climate diplomacy by their actions and the way they perceive the next COP. After all, if all countries agree to a global agreement in Paris then France becomes a country of global importance in the climate and related issues.
It is suggested that government and the private sector should work together to ensure that Nigeria plays a major role in the pre- and post-COP meetings and activities as it is clear that the paradigm shift to low carbon economy is here and we need to take advantage of turning the different challenges to opportunities.
By Prince Lekan Fadina (Executive Director, Centre for Investment, Sustainable Development, Management and Environment (CISME). He is a member of the Nigeria Negotiation Team, Africa Group of Negotiators and member, AGN Finance Co-ordination Committee)