On 5th December 2015, 221 parliamentarians attending the GLOBE COP21 Legislators Summit in Paris from 67 parliaments, adopted GLOBE’s COP21 Communiqué calling for more integrated action on the climate and 2030 Agenda, and greater parliamentary engagement in implementation.
The GLOBE COP21 Legislators Summit (4-5 December), organized by GLOBE International and the National Assembly, was hosted at the magnificent French National Assembly during COP21 in Paris.
With more than 300 delegates from 67 countries ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, the event counts as the most successful GLOBE summit at a COP in the organisation’s 25-year history. No effort was spared by the French hosts, despite heightened security concerns in the wake of recent terror attacks, and every measure was taken to provide support and comfort to Summit delegates.
The uniquely integrated design of the Summit programme - bringing together the major international processes of 2015, on disaster risk reduction, the Sustainable Development Goals, finance, gender and climate change – centered on the need for coherence, impact and delivery of these agendas in a concerted way by legislators in 2016. The progamme’s gender balance and strong complement of women leaders from Dr Naoko Ishii, (CEO, Global Environment Facility) to Minister Amina Mohammed from Nigeria and many others, brought high praise from delegates; as did the inclusion of leading judges in the programme for the first time, bringing their views on environmental governance and the rule of law in the context of COP21 and the 2030 Agenda.
The role of parliaments in ensuring implementation of an integrated 2030 Agenda was the focus of stirring keynote speeches by Helen Clark, Adminstrator, United Nations Development Programme; Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General, OECD; Margareta Wahlstrom, Special Representative fo the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction; Lakshmi Puri, Dy Executive Director, UN Women.
While the pressure of negotiations at Le Bourget prevented COP21 President, French foreign minister Minister Laurent Fabius, and Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, from attending in person, Summit delegates received a first-hand account of the negotiations at Le Bourget from Daniele Violetti, chief of staff to Ms Figueres.
Deputy Jean-Paul Chanteguet, President of GLOBE France, and host of the GLOBE Summit, provided an example of parliamentary best practice with the recent adoption by the French National Assembly of Resolution 3219 on COP21 and climate action, enacted under his leadership. The French government’s support of the World Wide Views project on climate and energy, the largest ever global citizen consultation with almost 10,000 citizens in 76 countries, was presented by Yves Matthieu, and underscored the universal themes of urgency and action on climate change.
The President of the National Assembly, Deputy Claude Bartolone, hosted a memorable banquet for Summit delegates in the splendid and historic surroundings of the Palais Bourbon. His presidential welcome speech to delegates provided keen analysis of the risks of dangerous climate change, coupled with the economic opportunity and the moral imperative of urgent action. His address underscored the close alignment between the approach of the French government host of COP21, and that of the French parliament in seeking to secure an ambitious outcome.
Leading GLOBE legislators and climate champions such as Senator Ed Markey from the USA, and Jairam Ramesh, former environment minister of India, brought their insider experience to bear and offered fresh glimpses into why a Paris Agreement could be closer in sight than some feared. Brazil’s Senator Jorge Viana, vice-president of the Senate and recent initiator of a major event in the Brazilian Senate on the Papal Encylical, Laudato Si, spoke passionately of the need to protect nature and the consequences of ignoring climate risks, of great concern in his own Amazonian state of Acre. Ms Kenza El-Ghali, Vice president of the Moroccan Chamber of Representatives, and host of next year’s COP22 Summit in Morocco, spoke of the impact of climate change on her country and the need for leadership by all nations and peoples.
Prof Jacqueline McGlade, Chief Scientist at UNEP, foregrounded the latest climate science in her presentation, providing grounds for hope that with advances in technology and greater engagement by state and non-state actors, the ‘emissions gap’ could be bridged and global temperature rise limited to under 2° C by 2050.
The panel on climate change and adjudication, organized in partnership with UNEP, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law and the Foundation Getulio Vargas (FGV), was privileged to host some of the world’s most distinguished judges. It also drew amongst the keenest response from delegates. Justices Antonio Herman Benjamin from Brazil, Lord Justice Robert Carnwath from the UK Supreme, Judge Luc Lavrysen from Belgium and Judge Francoise Nési from the French Supreme Court/ Cours de Cassation, detailed emerging jurisprudence of relevance to addressing climate change and informing the important work of legislators. A case for continued dialogue was made and GLOBE and its partners will work towards a larger such event at the World Commission on Environmental Law meeting in Rio de Janeiro in April 2016.
The second day of the GLOBE Summit was held in the historic chamber of the National Assembly, housed in the Palais Bourbon. The chamber is the oldest parliamentary building in the world following the fire which gutted the British Houses of Parliament in 1834. Following a welcome by the President of the National Assembly, Deputy Claude Bartolone, the morning began with an impressive speech by Dr Naoko Ishii, chief executive, Global Environment Facility, who addressed the theme of city-level action and the difference it was making to on-the-ground mitigation, adaptation and sustainable urbanization. She outlined the specific schemes that the GEF had in place for cities, drawing considerable interest from delegates.
A national perspective on the challenges and opportunities of addressing climate change and the sustainable development agenda, was offered by Minister Amina Mohammed, recently appointed as Environment Minister of Nigeria, following her success as Special Adviser of the UN Secretary General on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Providing a business leadership perspective, the prominent US philanthropist, environmentalist and proud Californian, Tom Steyer, spoke of how California was setting an ambitious pace for climate action by delinking economic growth from carbon emissions and creating jobs in the process. The state’s climate leadership agenda was based on a unique partnership between politicians, business and social justice groups. It included making huge investments in innovation for clean energy and resource efficiency to de-risk the growth agenda; but also prioritizing public health and climate equity, with particular attention to the needs of Californians most at risk of climate impacts, especially low-income and marginalized communities.
Former Swedish MEP and GLOBE champion, Anders Wijkman, went into greater detail on new resource efficiency economic models being adopted across Europe – the new circular economy – and the specific sets of laws, policies and regulations behind them.
The Summit concluded with a vibrant discussion amongst delegates and speakers before a formal closing by Summit chair, Graham Stuart MP, and the adoption of the GLOBE COP21 Communiqué.
The Communiqué calls for greater parliamentary engagement in the delivery of the Paris Agreement resulting from COP21, as well as the 2030 Agenda. There is a core emphasis on pursuing the ‘Coherence & Convergence’ agenda first adopted by GLOBE International at the COP20 Lima Summit in 2014. The Communiqué echoes COP21’s Agenda of Solutions in its emphasis on partnership with non-state actors including cities, regions and companies. It also calls for gender mainstreaming and gender equality as specific objectives, and a dialogue between legislators and the judiciary to provide more effective feedback loops for improved law-making and the environmental rule of law. Specific Communiqué measures call for parliamentary review of government’s INDCs/ national climate change action plans post-Paris; regular oversight and engagement for democratic accountability.
Remarking on the Summit outcome, Graham Stuart MP, Chair of GLOBE International, said: “With 300 delegates from 67 countries, GLOBE’s summit of legislators is now a linchpin of the annual climate talks. Converting countries’ pledges into national law, national budgets and national accountability systems can only be done by Parliaments. GLOBE provides the tools and the knowledge to strengthen, empower and embolden parliamentarians everywhere to raise ambition and hold their governments to account.”
Reflecting on the success of the Summit, Malini Mehra, chief executive, GLOBE International secretariat and programme organizer, said: “2015 is an historic year for international norm-setting on sustainable development and climate change. At this year’s Summit, legislators for the first time discussed an integrated agenda for better disaster risk management, better economic management, improved governance for sustainable development and the need for gender equality. Real success will now lie in delivery by parliaments in 2016. The countdown begins.”
GLOBE International thanks the French National Assembly, GLOBE France and the National Assembly’s Committee for Sustainable Development for their extraordinary efforts in hosting the GLOBE COP21 Legislators Summit. We also extend our thanks to our partners UNEP, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law and the Foundation Getulio Vargas (FGV).
Copies of the GLOBE COP21 Communiqué are available below.