COP21 debrief at the Asia Society on December 15, 2015 [fr]
On December 15, 2015, three days after the conclusion of the Paris climate conference (COP21), the Asia Society Hong Kong Center hosted a COP21 debrief co-presented by the Consulate general of France in Hong Kong & Macau, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, RECAP Hong Kong, the Hong Kong-America Center and Asia Society Hong Kong.
During this event, distinguished speakers – including Mr. Eric Berti, Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau and Dr. Christine Loh, Under Secretary for the Environment in Hong Kong – shared their views on the outcome of the conference and the agreement reached in Paris and specified what would be the next crucial steps in the fight against global warming.
The historic summit on climate change - known as the 21th "Conferences of the Parties" or COP21 – was held in Paris from November 30, 2015 to December 12, 2015. The aim of the conference was to reach a new agreement against global warming. The negotiations resulted on December 12, 2015, in a historic agreement to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in order to prevent even worse consequences than those already happening. 150 heads of states and governments attended the opening of the talks.
On December 15, 2015, the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, invited representatives of the European Union, the United States and Hong Kong (For more information about the speakers below) to discuss what was achieved at COP21, including the agreement on climate, and how countries can now work together against global warming.
This event was the third and final stage of the simulation exercise "COPING WITH COP21". This simulation of COP21 by local students, co-organized by the "Hong Kong American Center" (HKAC) of the "Chinese University of Hong Kong" (CUHK) and the Consulate General of France, involved 55 students from 9 universities in Hong Kong and Macau.
The first stage took place on October 24 and the event was extended by the simulation exercise on November 14 and 15, 2015; it ended December 15, 2015 by this panel discussion on the conclusion of COP21 at the Asia Society Hong Kong where more than 75 people attended, including 24 students.
Click here for more on simulation of COP21 with students in Hong Kong and Macao.
After a welcoming speech by Mrs. Alice Mong, Executive Director of the Asia Society Hong Kong, and an introduction by Mr. Tim Summers, Senior Consulting Fellow with the Asia Programme at Chatham House, the audience watched a video of the closing remarks from Mr. François Hollande, President of the French Republic, Mr. Laurent Fabius, President of the COP21, and Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the UN, after the final draft of the agreement was presented.
The screening of this video was followed by a discussion, moderated by Tim Sumner, between Mr. Eric Berti, Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, Mr. Nikolaus Graf Lambsdorff, Consul General of Germany in Hong Kong and Macau, Christine Loh, Under Secretary for Hong Kong Environment Bureau, Mr. Frederic Maerkle, former councilor for the environment, science, technology and health at the US Embassy in Paris (via Skype) and Mr. Vincent Piket, Head of the Office of the European Union (EU) in Hong Kong and Macau.
The main topics covered during these discussions were:
The successful management and the involvement of France in the organization of COP21;
The positive recognition of the agreement reached between the 195 nations and the historical turning point that it drives in the fight against global warming;
The importance of the duo USA / China in international negotiations;
Future actions that Hong Kong has to undertake to align its efforts with those of mainland China;
International perceptives post-COP21.
Following the discussion, the floor was opened to the public for a session of questions and answers and discussion with the panelists.
Mrs. Alice Mong concluded the evening by thanking all stakeholders and the public, and recalling that the fight against climate change is everyone’s business and each could act at its level.
Eric Berti is Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau. Prior to this, he was the Consul General of France in Sydney, Australia and Head of Internal Legal Affairs Service at the French Foreign Ministry. Previous postings include the embassies in India, Turkey, Pakistan and Vietnam. He received a master’s degree in law from the University of Paris.
Nikolaus Graf Lambsdorff is Consul General of Germany in Hong Kong and Macau. He was previously Ambassador and Special Envoy for Southeast Europe, Turkey and the EFTA States and Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, Head of Division for Public Diplomacy in Europe, North America and the former Soviet Union. He received a master’s degree in economics and political science from the University of Hamburg.
Christine Loh is Under Secretary for the Environment in Hong Kong. Prior to joining the government, she was Chief Executive Officer of the non-profit policy think tank, Civic Exchange. Dr. Loh was a member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, straddling the transition years from British to Chinese rule and founder of several NGOs in Hong Kong.
Frederic Maerkle served as Counselor for Environment, Science, Technology and Health at the US Embassy in Paris until his 2011 retirement. He was US Consul General in Osaka, Japan, where he supported the 1997 Kyoto Protocol negotiations, working with former Vice President Al Gore. Mr. Maerkle was a Division Chief in the Department of State’s Economics Bureau, and participated in several international committees concerning climate change.
Vincent Piket is Head of Office of the European Union (EU) in Hong Kong and Macau. He was EU Ambassador to Malaysia and Head of Unit for Regional Cooperation for Asia and Central Asia at the European Commission. Mr. Piket previously worked at the Netherlands Organisation of International Cooperation in Higher Education. He holds a doctoral degree in arts from the University of Nijmegen in Netherlands.
Tim Summers is a Senior Consulting Fellow with the Asia Programme at Chatham House and also teaches at the Centre for China Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). He also consults commercially on China. Prior to this, Mr. Summers was the British Consul-General in Chongqing, China. He holds a PhD in Chinese studies from CUHK and an MA from Queens’ College, Cambridge. (Moderator)