The Evening When Paris Agreement is Adopted

PANO_20151212_180345On 12 December 2015, the Paris Agreement was adopted. That day might be a wonderful day for some people, but might not for others. It certainly is not easy for 196 countries to come together and have a common agreement that everyone will adopt, compromise will surely needed.

During the closing plenary of the Comite de Paris, something happened.

At the final hour before the meeting of Paris Agreement adoption started, a typographical error was noticed. In the Article 4.4 (“Developed country Parties should continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets….”), the initial wording should be “ developed countries shall…” but the “shall” was changed to “should”, which diluted the principle of “Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR)”. “Shall” word will grant the developed countries a stronger legal obligation while “should” is considered as guidance only.

That night the Malaysian Delegation was very down, some of them were red-eyed when they left the hall. No intervention giving by Malaysia after the adoption of the agreement. In fact, they had been fighting very hard at the last minute after the error was spotted. However, the correction never happened because if they need to change the wording, another Comite de Paris need to be called and the arguments may continue and there might not be any Paris Agreement reached.

After seeking opinion and explanation from other people, I comprehend that in the formation of LMDC is “interesting”. Big countries like India and China would have many “friends” in the negotiation table, but why they choose to group with Malaysia? It is because that Malaysia has good relationship with many countries, our negotiators are sharp, vocal and respectable in the field. While the purpose of Malaysia forming alliance with the big developing countries is to get support for certain stand. Some of the LMDC members probably hoping Malaysia stay firm on the CBDR demand.

This is politics. Though the Paris Agreement is not perfect, but for now we should work together and ensure elements included in the Agreement are achieved accordingly.

Written by Elaine

Photo credit: www.cbc.ca

Photo credit: www.cbc.ca

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