Official speeches and statements - November 11, 2016
1. United States of America - American election - Bilateral relations - Climate - Reply by M. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to a question in the National Assembly (Paris - November 9, 2016)
You recalled the American people’s decision: after an intense, bitter campaign which may at times have surprised us—but that’s American democracy—Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. It is, of course, a decision we respect. The French President has extended his congratulations and recalled France’s desire to remain a partner of the United States. We are the United States’ oldest ally and we intend to remain so. At any rate, that’s the message we’re sending the American people.
At the same time, it’s true that a new president is arriving having made pledges, some of which require clarification. Clearly, the American administration is going to be profoundly transformed and 4,000 people are going to change jobs: it’s the spoils system, it’s the American system.
The President will take office on 20 January 2017—I’m merely reminding you of that—, which leaves us a little time. We didn’t wait for the election to contact the teams—both Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s—to try and understand what the candidates’ strategies were and, if they were elected, what their policies were.
The questions we want to ask and clarify are, in particular, the ones you mentioned: the Paris Agreement, which is a historic agreement, and Donald Trump has said he wants to renege on it; the nuclear agreement with Iran, which is a peace agreement, a multilateral agreement, and he’s said he wants to renege on it too. That won’t be without consequences. You also recalled NATO and the free trade treaties. What will the economic consequences of all this be?
So we must talk to President Trump; there are clarifications to be obtained. But France wants to remain itself, with its principles, its values, its strategy and its independence. It wants to continue its mission as a permanent member of the Security Council and an active member of the European Union.
2. Climate - Paris Agreement - COP22 opening ceremony - Speech by Mme Ségolène Royal, Minister of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs, responsible for International Climate Relations (Marrakesh - November 7, 2016)
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends in the climate battle,
My thanks first of all to His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco and his government, and particularly Salaheddine Mezouar, who will be chairing COP22 in a few moments’ time.
Thanks for their exceptional welcome here, to Marrakesh. I thank them also for lighting up the Hassan Tower in Rabat on 4 November, at the same time as the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Elysées.
Today, as this COP22 opens, I feel proud and excited:
- excited because I remember the first Earth Summit in Rio 24 years ago, in which I took part as environment minister,
- proud to be sharing with you this magnificent news: today, the opening day of COP22, 100 countries have ratified the Paris Agreement.
Yes, we’ve made possible what people said was impossible: through determination, obstinacy and drive, without ever letting up our efforts.
It’s a historic moment in the history of mankind.
I’m issuing an appeal to the 93 countries that haven’t yet ratified to do so before the end of this year.
We can be proud of the work done, of this solid foundation on which we must continue building low-carbon strategies to bring global warming below 2ºC and curb the disasters and calamities that blind inertia would lead to. From now on, our eyes are wide open!
Time is running out. The past year has been the hottest on record. The melting of glaciers is speeding up. Desertification is wreaking havoc. Massive urban populations demand a new model of urban development.
Three major principles guided my COP21 action, under the aegis of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
- The sense of climate urgency.
- A concern for climate efficiency, because tackling this huge challenge also provides an opportunity to design the coming world with new jobs, through green growth.
- And above all, climate justice: the richest countries are living as if there were three planets.
The poorest countries as if there were no longer any.
So I’m once again urging climate justice, and in particular for Africa.
That’s the big challenge for COP22.
COP22 is an African COP, and it’s where the priority and the hope lie.
In his speech in Dakar yesterday evening, King Mohammed VI issued an appeal for COP22 to be a success.
He clearly set out the priorities of the Moroccan presidency: in particular to take African challenges into account, through active efforts on access to funding and to technology transfers.
I put the maximum effort into this continent during my presidency, with—as I had pledged—the three reports submitted to the UN Secretary-General:
- The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, with hydroelectric, wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and marine energy projects.
- Women and the climate.
- Security and the climate.
Climate change in Africa is cruel and unjust. It’s the African continent which is suffering it the most—without being responsible for it—, with disasters and desertification.
Of the 50 countries most devastated by global warming, 36 are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Between now and 2050, the population will double, reaching more than two billion.
A race against the clock is now under way to provide the African continent’s citizens with access to light and electricity, of which 700 million inhabitants are currently deprived.
Therefore, as a symbol, I’m offering you these little solar lamps in the shape of the flower of Ethiopia, which—when Patricia Espinosa, the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, gives us the signal—we’ll all light together shortly to denote the African continent’s right to light.
The African summit of heads of state on 16 November, [convened] on the King of Morocco’s initiative following the same summit organized by the French President at COP21, will be a key moment to secure concrete pledges for the $10 billion promised, through decisions for Africans and by Africans.
I’m going to let you into a secret. Throughout this year, I traveled extensively around the African continent, which I know well and where I was born.
Well, the African countries are among the most mobilized, the most creative, the most committed. They’re designing tomorrow’s world (the Noor solar plant) so as not to repeat the mistakes of economies which pollute and which plunder natural resources. Each time, in each country, what I saw and heard filled me with hope, gratitude and admiration.
And this is why, to conclude, I’d like to mention Wangari Matthai, a major figure from Kenya, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, founder of the Green Belt Movement, and a courageous woman, a fighter and a spokeswoman for this brilliant idea, which is so true: the battle for the environment and the battle for women’s rights are two sides of the same coin.
I’d like to share with you these wonderful words from this committed woman, spoken when she received the Nobel Prize: «In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now.»
So let’s heed this message. Let’s mobilize and win the battle for the climate. I have confidence in you.