End of the Bonn session: we know the negotiating text that will be discussed in Paris

Séance en plénière lors de la dernière session de négociations à Bonn (Allemagne), du 19 au 23 octobre 2015.
Séance en plénière lors de la dernière session de négociations à Bonn (Allemagne), du 19 au 23 octobre 2015.

21 Oct End of the Bonn session: we know the negotiating text that will be discussed in Paris

There was relief in Bonn, Germany, on Friday evening, when a negotiating text was approved by the 195 countries that had gathered since Monday. Discussions proved difficult and intense throughout the week but, faced with the urgency of reaching an agreement in December, negotiators worked up to the last moment to finalize the text, which increased from 20 pages at the start of the session to 55 pages (30 pages only for the agreement) at its closing (read the text). While the structure of the text that was proposed as a working document was retained, each section was supplemented with alternative articles or, within a single article, with different options to be decided in Paris.

The French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius welcomed a “longer, but more balanced” text and emphasized that, as COP21 President, he would “listen to all countries in a spirit of transparency and dialogue, with the firm determination to arrive at an ambitious agreement.” The pre-COP to be held in Paris from 8 to 10 November will be an opportunity “to make progress, given there is little time left,” he pointed out.

It was possible for this document to be approved by all, but much work remains to be done to reach an agreement. As affirmed by Peru, which holds the COP20 Presidency, “If we want to transform this text into a legal agreement, we will have to work differently in Paris.” The UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres declared that the draft text contained additional options that reflected the concerns of developing countries. “We now have a balanced and complete Party-owned text. The challenge facing governments is to bring it down to a much more concise, clear and coherent structure with a view to its adoption in Paris.” Further information

That week of negotiations has made it possible to clarify positions on a number of points, such as the monitoring of national commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Work remains to be done on issues such as the financing by Northern countries of climate policy in Southern countries. “We didn’t really engage in a negotiation this week, we clarified options, but we cannot repeat that next time, and you must be prepared to negotiate in Paris from the first day,” as was pointed out by Laurence Tubiana, Ambassador for climate change negotiations and Special representative for the Paris Climate 2015 conference.

Illustrating the urgency of combating global warming, the Mexican Delegate Roberto Dondisch Glowinski made a moving call when speaking at the closing session of the Bonn Conference, as his country was about to be struck by Hurricane Patricia: “I don’t think I have to say more about the urgency of getting this deal done,” he said. “We ask you all to put aside your differences, come together so we can start working on this issue,” he said as he was applauded by the audience.

COP21 is scheduled to open on 30 November in the presence of Heads of State who have been invited to give “a political impulse”. The negotiators will then resume work on the text, before handing over to Ministers in the last week.

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