Petersberg meeting closes on positive note as Merkel and Hollande push for ambitious Paris deal

France and Germany are “firmly decided to take all efforts to reach an ambitious, comprehensive and binding UN climate agreement by the end of this year in Paris”, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and France’s President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday (May 19) in their closing statement of the annual informal meeting in Berlin designed to accelerate progress towards a new climate agreement at COP21. About 35 Ministers and representatives participated in the sixth Petersberg Climate Dialogue from 18 to 19 May, chaired by German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. The Co-chairs of the ADP, as well as the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, and high-level representatives of the UN Secretary General also attended the two-day gathering.

According to official releases, the two co-chairs noted that “the political will to deliver such an agreement is greater than ever before” but “we have no time to lose”: they highlighted the need “to clarify as many questions as possible as early as possible”.” We need a basis for political decisions by October”, Hendricks said.

Participants discussed several aspects of the planned agreement of Paris: the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) which each country is to formulate and submit; the role of climate finance and the rules needed to ensure efforts to be comparable, binding and honest. Positions and messages by ministers and envoys were listed in a final document.

Fabius outlined four key elements to be considered in order to deliver effective outcomes in Paris, the first being the agreement which, he said, must be built to last. Concerning the national pledges of individual countries, Fabius noted that INDCs had to be published well before Paris and in order to address to the possible gap between the aggregated impact of INDCs and the 1,5 or 2°C ceiling, a mechanism to increase ambition over time should be included in the agreement. The third condition consists in increasing public and private climate finance for mitigation and adaptation projects in developing countries, including for short term action on distaster risk reduction, in particular for small island states, and clean energies, notably for Africa. The fourth point deals with building an action agenda to advance initiatives from non-state actors, including civil society, business and local government.

The Petersberg Climate Dialogue was launched in 2010 by the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel with the aim of giving momentum to the climate negotiations following COP 15 in Copenhagen. Since then, it has become established as a key date in international climate diplomacy. Each year, the Dialogue is co-chaired by the country hosting the next UN climate summit.


(Image: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande at the conclusion of the 6th Petersberg Climate Dialogue, May 19, 2015. Photo credit: BMUB/Adam Berry on German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety website)