News

Informal Climate Ministerial Outlines Expectations for 2015 Agreement

European Union 30 April 2014: Connie Hedegaard, Member of the European Commission in Charge of Climate Action, and Tine Sundtoft, Norwegian Minister for Climate and Environment, co-chaired an informal climate ministerial roundtable to discuss key aspects of the 2015 climate change agreement and ways to raise pre-2020 ambition.

Roundtable participants included: representatives from approximately 35 countries; climate envoys from Poland, Peru and France, the hosts of the UNFCCC conferences in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively; and the Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).

The meeting aimed to prepare the ground for the next rounds of UNFCCC negotiating sessions in June 2014 and December 2014, as well as the UN Secretary-General's climate summit in September 2014.

Addressing the press after the roundtable, which took place on 30 April 2014, in Brussels, Belgium, Hedegaard emphasized that countries around the world, whether developed or developing, are trying to mainstream climate change into their development and growth strategies. She also expressed the view that the key message leading into the 2015 Paris agreement is differentiated responsibilities with an emphasis on every country doing its fair share.

Speaking alongside Hedegaard at the press conference, Fatou Ndeye Gaye, Gambian Minister for the Environment, Parks and Wildlife, stressed that ministers present at the meeting must do the necessary "homework" in their respective countries, especially informing negotiators of what had been discussed at the roundtable and preparing them for upcoming talks.

Tony A. de Brum, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Marshall Islands, noted that roundtable participants worried that the deadline for securing a treaty in Paris is "too close for comfort." He outlined roundtable participants' expectations for the 2015 agreement, noting that it should: be designed to build political momentum and secure ambitious participation by all, particularly all the major emitters; set the long-term vision to decarbonize the world economy; and require that all political leaders "come back to the table on a regular basis to ratchet up their commitments."

Sundtoft stated that ministers left the roundtable with a sense of one another's priorities and shared common ground. Hedegaard characterized the roundtable as "a constructive meeting, with sincere dialogue." Gaye attributed this frankness to the relaxed atmosphere of the meeting, often absent from the tense formal negotiations. [EU Announcement of the Roundtable] [Press Conference Video Footage] [Press Conference Video Excerpts] [ADP Co-Chairs' Corner]