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Paris Climate Conference/meeting of the Paris Committee/3.00 p.m

Published on December 9, 2015
Statement by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, President of the Paris Climate Conference

Le Bourget, December 9, 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 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./.

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