The latest meeting of the Paris Committee at 8 p.m. on Wednesday 9 December was eagerly awaited, with the “La Seine” plenary room filling up quickly. The 196 Parties had to say if they would agree to work on the new text set out a few hours earlier by COP21 President Laurent Fabius. This was a shorter version (29 pages instead of 43), with less items between square brackets (three-quarters were deleted).
Before handing the floor over to the parties, COP21 President Laurent Fabius proposed that after the plenary, they meet in “indaba”* format, one on the three key cross-cutting issues: differentiation, ambition and financing; the other on subjects on which less progress has been made (loss and damage, the preamble, forests and cooperative mechanisms). Further information. “I encourage all parties to be represented at the level of Head of Delegation, as it is tonight that we must strike the overall balance for this text and make progress to resolve the political points with a view to the final agreement”, declared Laurent Fabius.
All parties recognized that the French Presidency’s text formed a solid basis for negotiations, despite a number of weaknesses and the need for rebalancing. All parties commended the work achieved and the leadership of Laurent Fabius.
After a short break, the parties thus reconvened to negotiate until 7 a.m. This all-night session was necessary in order to agree on a new version today, which will be “as close as possible to what will be the final agreement on Friday”. To achieve this, the COP21 President called on the parties “not to re-examine compromises which have already been reached”. Because time is running out: the new text must be submitted sufficiently in advance to the group of experts for legal and linguistic verification, before the text is adopted in a plenary session at 6 p.m. on Friday 11 December.
The negotiations are continuing today. The French Presidency and the facilitators will continue the consultations until the Paris Committee scheduled for this afternoon.
*Indaba: a Zulu term widely used in South Africa, which has been part of the negotiators’ jargon since the Durban Climate Conference in 2011 and describes meetings between the heads of communities to get to know one another and move forward.