What are the expected actions following the adoption of the Paris agreement on climate change? CUHK Conference (01/21/2016) [fr]
The COP21, the climate change summit held in Paris from 30 November to 12 December 2015, resulted in the adoption by the 196 Parties meeting (195 countries and the European Union) of an historic agreement to fight global warming. As repeatedly stressed Mr Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, President of the Conference of Parties (COP) until November 2016, the adoption of this agreement is not a final goal but a starting point from which everything remains to be done.
After an introduction to the conference by Prof. Gabriel LAU, Director of the Institute for environment, energy and sustainability, Mr Eric Berti, initially adressed the various facets of the success of COP21, outlining features of this successful agreement: universal, ambitious, dynamic, legally binding and including differentiated responsibilities. Secondly, Mr Berti explained that if 2015 was the year of discussions and negotiations, 2016, must be the year of implementation:
The process of signature and ratification, with the opening of the Agreement for signature at United Nations Headquarters in New York, April 22, 2016;
Clarification of the agreement as well as the decision and implementation modalities. This will be the main focus of the Bonn meeting in May 2016;
Period Pre-2020: beyond the implementation of the agreement, it will be necessary to follow up on commitments made in the framework of the Action Plan Lima Paris and encourage the implementation of initiatives to develop innovative technologies;
Preparation of the COP22, in conjunction with international partners and Morocco, the COP22 hosting country; there will be many formal and informal meetings, using the method used for preparing the Paris conference.
Finally, Mr Berti returned to the question of the inclusion of air and maritime international transport in the overall effort. Not mentioned in the final treaty this topic is a big issue for Hong Kong, one of the biggest hubs in the Asia-Pacific region.
Mr. Albert Lai, with its rich experience of participating in numerous COP, then gave his opinion on the Paris negotiations and congratulated the French diplomacy for the very positive outcome of these negotiations. Before a detailed review of the Paris Agreement, he recalled the crucial importance of representatives of islands in the discussion and gave some examples of initiatives and innovations presented in Paris during the COP21. He introduced what would be, from his point of view, the Top 10 agenda "from Paris to Hong Kong" to be conducted by the Hong Kong government.
Mrs Christine Loh finally took the floor to reaffirm the willingness of Hong Kong to participate actively in the global fight against climate change, as mentioned by the "climate change report 2015" published a few weeks before the COP21. After recalling the reality of Hong Kong in terms of climate risks, she highlighted the commitment of Hong Kong to make 2016 a year of implementation. The Hong Kong government intends to mobilize all departments in a "bottom-up" approach.
The event concluded with a short session of Q&A. Among other questions, the most recurrent regarded the transparency, the willingness of the 196 COP21 participants to pursue their own commitments and the positive influence of civil society on governments.
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.
Albert Lai is the CEO of Carbon Care Asia, a social business in carbon strategy and sustainability innovation. He is the founding chairman of The Professional Commons, an independent public policy think tank, and the Hong Kong People’s Council for Sustainable Development. He has also served as the Vice-chairman of the Civic Party, a member of the Strategy Sub-Committee, Council for Sustainable Development, HKSAR Government.
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.