PH team dives into marathon climate negotiations
LE BOURGET, France – It’s crunch-time for the Philippine delegation after the release of a new version of the draft Paris climate change agreement around 3 pm here in the UN climate summit in Paris, France (10 pm Manila time).
The draft’s release signaled the beginning of marathon negotiations that could last for several days straight, given that the conference is slated to end on Friday, December 11. (EXPLAINER: How is the world's climate action deal being negotiated?)
“We are very close already to having an agreement,” said head of Philippine delegation Emmanuel “Manny” De Guzman around an hour after the release of the updated draft.
“This agreement is very important to us because the Philippines is looked up to as the leader of vulnerable countries. We would like this negotiation process to succeed,” he added.
The latest draft was presented during a 3 pm Comité de Paris (Paris committee) meeting, a gathering of negotiators from the over 190 countries forging the climate agreement.
After the meeting, Filipino negotiators rushed to the the Philippine delegation office to pore over the new draft and check on the status of provisions the Philippines badly wants to see in the final agreement.
Preparing the PH position
In a one-hour delegation meeting opened to Philippine media for the first time, De Guzman and Philippine delegation spokesman and lead negotiator Tony La Viña asked key negotiators to explain crucial changes to important articles in the draft agreement.
Articles that concern the Philippines the most include those on climate finance, adaptation (preparing for climate impacts), mitigation (reducing carbon emissions), differentiation, and loss and damage.
Negotiators gave a run-down of the good news and the bad news in developments in their respective articles of focus.
The team was given two hours to prepare short statements on the Philippine reaction to the new draft, statements which will be given during meetings with other countries that night.
These meetings, in which other countries are also expected to convey their reactions to the new text, will likely last until midnight, said La Viña.
At 8 pm, another meeting of the Comité de Paris will be convened. This is a chance for Philippine negotiators to suggest new options they deem more satisfactory or to suggest rewordings of important provisions.
Given the possibility of a final agreement being made in the next few days, La Viña said they will likely email President Benigno Aquino III after the evening plenary session to brief him on the latest developments.
“We have to make sure the president is prepared in case other presidents call him up,” said La Viña.
This will also allow Aquino to give instructions or provide any input on what position the Philippine delegation will make on the final agreement.
'Please be with us'
The team is also preparing a speech for the end of the landmark summit.
“We are already developing the speech to accept or reject the agreement which may be [given] on Friday. We have ideas so that, by tomorrow, we have that,” he said.
De Guzman, who serves as Climate Change Commissioner aside from heading the delegation, had a message for Filipinos back at home.
“Essentially, our message to our fellow Filipinos is we don’t want another Yolanda. We don’t want more people dying from super typhoons. We want less losses, less deaths because we want real genuine sustainable development, and continuous progress for us.”
He ended with a challenge: “Please be with us until the end of the process. Walang tulugan (we will not sleep).” – Rappler.com