Countries in Geneva lay down draft text for Paris climate deal

The first round of 2015 UNFCCC negotiations closed on Friday (Feb. 13) with a negotiating text for the global climate agreement expected to be signed in Paris at the end of this year and to come into effect in 2020.

Delegates from 194 countries gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sunday (Feb. 8) and after six days of works adopted the 86-page draft that will serve as the basis for negotiations during the COP21.

The document grounds on the key-elements agreed at the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP20), held in Lima from December 1 to 13, 2014. Following an “inclusive” approach, the Co-Chairs supervising Geneva climate talks, Mr. Ahmed Djoghlaf and Mr. Daniel Reifsnyder, collect proposals from all participating countries into a single, multiple-choice text. This strategy resulted in a huge summary of different (and sometimes diverging) options on the table regarding all the issue at stake: mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, capacity-building and more.

The increase in the size will make the next negotiating session scheduled in June in Bonn, Germany, “a little bit more difficult” but it maximized transparency and participation to the process, according to the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres.

“I am extremely encouraged by the constructive spirit and the speed at which negotiators have worked during the past week”, Figueres said in an official statement at the end of Geneva round. “We now have a formal negotiating text, which contains the views and concerns of all countries. The Lima Draft has now been transformed into the negotiating text and enjoys the full ownership of all countries. The text was constructed in full transparency. This means that although it has become longer, countries are now fully aware of each other’s positions”, she added.

“It’s an everybody text”, the chair of the Least Developed Countries group Giza Gaspar Martins told RTCC. “We have achieved putting together a text with which every party is comfortable in terms of it reflecting their respective positions. That has been achieved and that is very important”. Satisfaction for the achived results is counterbalanced by the realistic awareness that extracting a shared, coherent and unambiguous agreement from a draft reflecting different and even contrasting positions will be more demanding. It’s just a compilation of text ideas with options that everyone owns. Now we need to negotiate it”  said Gaspar Martins.

According to UNFCCC release, the draft negotiating text will be edited, translated into the UN’s official languages and then communicated to the world’s capitals in the first quarter of 2015. The next formal key-dates to advance the text are the Climate Change Conference in Bonn in June and two further sessions later in the year in Bonn (31 August to 4 September and 19 to 23 October). Other high-level meetings throughout the year (such as the Major Economies Forum, the Petersburg Climate Dialogue, the African Ministerial Conference of the Environment, the G7 and G20 meetings) will include the Paris agreement in their agenda, UNFCCC said.


(Image: UNFCCC Executive Secretary briefs the press on closing day of ADP Geneva Climate Change Conference, Feb. 13, 2015. Photo credit: UNclimatechange/Flickr)