PARIS AGREEMENT: What it means for the Pacific

“I SEE the room. I see the reaction is positive, I hear no objection. The Paris Climate Accord is adopted.” As the French Foreign Minister and President of COP21, Laurent Fabius, gaveled the decision, the huge number of delegates, who still remained in Le Bourget broke out into a spontaneous burst of applause and celebration.

In spite of the meeting running another full 24 hours, with lots of anxiety waiting for the release of the final text, thousands of delegates remained at the venue to be part of history. And they were not disappointed. This was a culmination of 4 years of hard negotiations under the Durban mandate.

The South African Chair of G77&China, the largest negotiating block in the climate negotiations, aptly echoed the words of Nelson Mandela: “it always seems impossible, until it is done.” Just a week before, the prospect of an agreement looked daunting. The first week of negotiations, by the technocrats, resulted in a text with so many brackets and options, that an agreement based on these seemed improbable if not impossible.

It is a credit to the French Presidency and the amazing diplomacy from the world political leadership that a deal was forged, without losing the ownership by the Parties. As Laurent Fabius kept reminding Parties, there will be ‘no surprises’ and the process as well as the final outcome will be driven and owned by the Parties. 

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