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Paris Climate Conference/Paris Committee meeting/9.00 p.m

Published on December 11, 2015
Speech by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, President of COP21

Le Bourget, December 10, 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./.

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