Mixed emotions in Paris

COP21 ParisBill Ronan had a busy day yesterday in Paris – full of mixed emotions…

“In the morning the CIDSE team took us through how they felt the conference was going .

“There was some disappointment at the ways in which the latest draft of the final agreement had been weakened, but it was also stressed that this shows how important it is for civil society to step up the pressure and maintain it over the post-Paris period so that what is agreed will actually delivered and governments will be encouraged to set themselves more ambitious targets in the course of the review process.

“A more detailed analysis then followed from members of the Trocaire and CAFOD teams. This indicated some good progress, like the establishment of a “Bottom-Up” process with individual countries responsible for setting their own nationally agreed targets and the establishment of common but differentiated responsibilities which will allow developing countries a degree of flexibility in achieving their goals.

COP21“It was clear, though, that the initial document had been significantly weakened, with a lack of clarity over the proposed review mechanism and the apparent weakening of the text on human rights, land use and food security in the context of action to deal with climate change.

“Again, CAFOD’s Neil Thorns emphasised the need for increased and sustained pressure by civil society to push governments forward in taking the actions that are now necessary.

“In the afternoon the group took part in workshops exploring the small but powerful local initiatives that are already taking place in communities to combat climate change and the group found this a┬ápositive, uplifting and inspiring exercise.

“Finally in the evening I attended a session at the COP21 Climate Generations Centre dealing specifically with the problems encountered by negotiators in ensuring that human rights are given due recognition in the legally-binding parts of the final agreement.

“Again, there was concern from the negotiators who were present but also inspiration from delegates from some of the areas most immediately affected by climate change and who are taking it upon themselves to take action now; the delegate from the Maldives who introduced herself saying “I come from somewhere that has no future” and the delegate who is organising local people in the Lake Chad area, working on the basis that “you can’t protect humans without protecting the environment and you can’t protect the environment without protecting humans”.

“It is easy to become dispirited and cynical by the way in which these international negotiations grind their way forward, but it is impossible not to be inspired by the courage and positivity of those already engaged in the front line of the battle to make sure that every child, everywhere, has a future.”

Pray for world leaders in Paris.

Follow the progress of CAFOD campaigners in Paris.

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