Heads of State and Government attending the Leaders Event on the first day of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 21) addressed, inter alia: the inclusion of gender for ensuring climate justice; the importance of differentiation; the legal form of the agreement; the periodicity of the review process; transparency and accountability rules; whether or not to anchor loss and damage in a permanent mechanism; the role of natural capital accounting; the link between climate change and development; balancing mitigation and adaptation finance; technology transfer in providing mitigation support; and the need to address the degradation of forests, desertification, and biodiversity loss.
30 November 2015: Heads of State and Government attending the Leaders Event on the first day of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 21) addressed, inter alia: the inclusion of gender for ensuring climate justice; the importance of differentiation; the legal form of the agreement; the periodicity of the review process; transparency and accountability rules; whether or not to anchor loss and damage in a permanent mechanism; the role of natural capital accounting; the link between climate change and development; balancing mitigation and adaptation finance; technology transfer in providing mitigation support; and the need to address the degradation of forests, desertification, and biodiversity loss.
Switzerland announced a 75% increase in its annual contribution to the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF). Norway said her country will double its contribution to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) by 2020 in the context of verifiable emissions reductions from REDD+. Spain said it will increase its annual climate finance for developing countries, doubling contributed funds by 2020. New Zealand announced support of NZ$200 million for climate-related actions over the next four years, primarily for Pacific nations. China, Egypt and several other countries warned against denying the legitimate needs of developing countries to improve living standards and develop economically.
In addition to over 140 statements by Heads of State and Government and other officials, Parties elected Laurent Fabius, France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, as President of COP 21/CMP 11, by acclamation. Fabius outlined three conditions for success in Paris: mobilizing heads of state and government; bringing together and obtaining commitments from non-governmental actors; and reaching a universal, ambitious climate agreement that is differentiated, fair, lasting, dynamic, balanced, legally binding and ensures that temperature increase stays below 2°C over pre-industrial levels.
In the evening, spin-off groups under the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2-12) took place on: preamble, purpose (Article 2) and general (Article 2bis); technology development and transfer (Article 7); capacity building (Article 8); implementation and compliance (Article 11), the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Agreement (CMA) (Article 12) and final clauses (Articles 13-26); and workstream 2. [Earth Negotiations Bulletin COP 21 Coverage]
Events organized by the Africa Pavilion on 30 November commenced with one titled ‘Gender, Climate Change and Sustainable Development in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities Post 2015 Agreements’, during which participants highlighted gender desegregation as a missing link in the UNFCCC process, and called for integrating gender into the negotiations. During the ‘Financing Climate Change in Africa – NEPAD Climate Fund’ event, participants stressed the need to mobilize national and local resources, harness international finance to catalyze local action and utilize African financial institutions such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The ‘10 Million Trees, 10 Million Souls’ event focused on a project in Benin that aims to plant ten million trees, one for each inhabitant of Benin. [Earth Negotiations Bulleting Coverage of the Africa Pavilion at COP 21]
Among the side events that convened around the COP 21 venue at Le Bourget, Paris, France, was an event to launch the ‘Because the Ocean’ Declaration, during which a number of high-level representatives signed the Declaration, stressed the need to “break down the communication silos” between climate and oceans practitioners, and called for countries to commit to an oceans action plan under the UNFCCC. During the event titled ‘Investing in Resilience – Responding to the Adaptation Needs of the Most Vulnerable’ and organized by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), countries pledged new commitments to the LCDF totaling US$248 million, including: France (€25 million in 2016); Canada (CAD$30 million over the next two years); Denmark (US$22 million in 2016); UK (£30 million in 2016); US (US$51 million in 2015-2016); Italy (US$2 million by the end of 2015); Ireland (€6 million by 2020); and Germany (€50 million in 2015-2016). The event titled ‘Sustainable Transformation – Nordic Experiences of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) as Building Blocks for Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)’ focused on Nordic financed NAMAs in Asia, Latin America and Africa, and provided insights on how NAMA development helps achieve sustainable impacts and contributes to sectoral transformation.
During the event titled ‘COP 21: The Key Issues’, participants discussed the feasibility of a 1.5˚C target, the feasibility of a proposal of an international criminal tribunal for climate justice, and whether there is still time to craft an ambitious agreement. At the event titled ‘The Potential for Crediting Mitigation Actions Across Countries with Different Types of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)’, panelists discussed how to move toward a more streamlined system for crediting mitigation actions across countries. During the event titled ‘Impacts and Indigenous Adaptation Strategies from the Amazon and Canada,’ participants expressed concern about: invasive species and changing hunting patterns; how to effectively access climate finance such as funds for REDD+ and those in the Green Climate Fund (GCF); and how to build constructive cooperation between indigenous communities and government agencies.
At the event titled ‘Justice and Future Generations: Achieving Intergenerational Equity in Paris and Beyond,’ participants called for including a strong reference to intergenerational equity in the expected Paris agreement. During the event titled ‘Results of World Wide Views on Climate and Energy,’ participants discussed how the consultation that took place on 6 June 2015, collecting the views of 10,000 citizens who took part in 97 debates in 76 countries, showing how citizens are mobilized and committed to climate and energy issues. The event titled ‘Sustainable Use of Natural Resources: An Essential Solution to Climate Change’ focused on synergies between decarbonization and the decoupling of natural resource use from economic growth, and presented policy-relevant messages on how to select clean, safe and sustainable low-carbon energy technologies. The event titled ‘China’s Forestry Actions and Creative Risk Management Methods for Climate Change’ presented forest action on climate change in China.[Earth Negotiations Bulletin – COP 21 Side Events Coverage] [IISD RS Coverage of COP 21] [IISD RS Story on Opening Segment]