Official speeches and statements – November 16, 2021

1. European Union – M. Jean-Yves Le Drian’s participation in the Foreign Affairs Council (Brussels, 15 November 2021) – Statement by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs spokeswoman (Paris, 14/11/2021)

M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will take part in the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council, which is to meet in Brussels on Monday 15 November 2021.

On the Sahel, the Minister will argue that the European Union should support the action of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in relation to Mali and swiftly adopt a legal framework in order to take restrictive measures similar to those taken by the African regional organization against those hindering the implementation of the transition. He will speak of the Coalition for the Sahel’s multidimensional strategy and will recall our strong collective concern about the Malian transitional authorities’ possible use of Wagner mercenaries, whose atrocities, committed with complete impunity in other countries, have been widely documented.

Jean-Yves le Drian will report to his European counterparts on the discussions that he and the Minister for the Armed Forces held in Paris with their Russian counterparts on 12 November, which, in addition to the Sahel, focused in particular on Belarus and Ukraine. At the Council, the Minister will meet his Ukrainian counterpart, Mr Dmytro Kuleba, together with his German counterpart, Mr Heiko Maas.

On Belarus, the Minister will express in particular France’s full solidarity with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia in the face of the Belarusian regime’s unacceptable exploitation of migratory flows. France will confirm its agreement with the adoption of a fifth package of European Union sanctions against Belarus.

Jean-Yves Le Drian will emphasize France’s commitment to the Eastern Partnership, during a ministerial meeting aimed at preparing the summit to be held on 15 December 2021. He will reiterate the European Union’s commitment to the Western Balkans, following the discussions by heads of State and government on 6 October.

The Minister will also inform his counterparts of the results of the International Conference for Libya, held in Paris on 12 November.

With the security and humanitarian situation in Ethiopia severely deteriorating, he will signal the importance of the mediation efforts under way to achieve a ceasefire.

The Minister will take part in a joint meeting of European Union foreign and defence ministers, who will discuss the work under way on the Strategic Compass, a document that will help consolidate the European strategic culture and set the framework for the EU’s European Security and Defence Policy./.

2. Multilateralism – Paris Peace Forum – Presentation of the International Observatory on Information and Democracy (13 November 2021) – Statement by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, 14/11/2021)

Following on from the first Summit for Information and Democracy, held in New York on 24 September 2021, M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, chaired a working group to present the future International Observatory on Information and Democracy, at the Paris Peace Forum on 13 November. The working group was led by M. Christophe Deloire, Chair of the Forum on Information and Democracy, in the presence of German Foreign Minister Mr Heiko Maas, European Commission Vice-President Ms Věra Jourová, and Ms Maria Ressa, winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

Now that information has become a common good, all the participants stressed the need for concerted responses to establish democratic rules for regulating content and to fight information manipulation, promote independent, pluralist, high-quality, financially sustainable journalism, and strengthen people’s information and media literacy in the digital age.

The Observatory, which will operate according to the IPCC model for the climate, will be responsible for assessing developments in the global information space and publishing regular reports, particularly for the 43 member States of the Partnership for Information and Democracy and for civil society. It will help public officials take the decisions necessary to address the root causes of the failures of the information space and develop automatic procedures so we can defend our freedoms and our principles in the digital information age.

The preparatory work for launching the Observatory was presented by Mr Angel Gurría, former OECD Secretary-General, and Ms Shoshana Zuboff, Professor Emerita at Harvard Business School./.

3. Climate – Adoption of the Glasgow Climate Pact at COP26: building on the momentum – Communiqué issued by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition (Paris, 15/11/2021)

The 26th Conference of the Parties, COP26, held in Glasgow (United Kingdom), brought together nearly 200 world leaders, as well as tens of thousands of representatives of governments, cities, regions and non-State actors (companies, investors, NGOs etc.) for two weeks of negotiations from 31 October to 13 November 2021.

This COP was especially important because, as recalled in the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in August 2021, the world is not on track to stay below 2°C or even 1.5°C of global warming compared to the pre-industrial era, the long-term target of the Paris Agreement. The two weeks of negotiations led to the adoption of the Glasgow Climate Pact on 13 November, which finalizes the rules for implementing the Paris Agreement but does not fully live up to the ambitions that were set.

The Glasgow Climate Pact led to agreement on several important points that were under discussion:

- Finalization of the Paris Agreement, making it fully operational, six years after its adoption, through robust rules:

- Adoption of Article 6, which provides for mechanisms authorizing the Parties to exchange emissions reductions in order to achieve their NDCs, without double counting;

- Adoption of the Enhanced Transparency Framework (Article 13): the Parties will now have to report their greenhouse gas emissions in the most detailed possible manner and in a comparable way.

- Mitigation: the Glasgow Climate Pact asks the Parties to raise their ambition from 2022 onwards if their Nationally Determined Contributions are not on the trajectory of the Paris Agreement. All national contributions will now be passed on to the United Nations Secretariat and be the subject of an annual summary report.

- Adaptation: creation of a 2022-2023 work programme to implement the global goal on adaptation. Developed countries commit to doubling finance for adaptation by 2025 compared to 2019 levels.

- Biodiversity: the contribution of ecosystems as sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases, and the importance of protecting them to achieve the 1.5°C target, are firmly rooted in the decisions. France regrets, however, that nature-based solutions – which enable action to be taken to combat climate change or manage natural risks thanks to ecosystems – do not appear in the text.

- For the first time in a Climate Convention document, the reduction of fossil fuels is mentioned in the final declaration. However, France regrets that the term “phase-out” of coal was replaced at the last minute by “phasedown”.

Despite progress on loss and damage (notably the adoption of the Santiago Network functions, which aim to facilitate the implementation of support measures, and access to assistance measures), the most vulnerable countries regard these as insufficient. Further discussions are already on the agenda for COP27.

France also joined several coalitions to speed up its fight against climate change:

Ending finance for fossil-fuel projects abroad which are not backed up by carbon capture and storage, by the end of 2022

France joined the agreement to end the funding of fossil fuel projects abroad which are not backed by carbon capture and storage, by the end of 2022. This declaration relates to both French bilateral official development assistance and export financing. It echoes the drive initiated by France through the international coalition Export Finance for Future (E3F).

France also joined the international Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA). By creating an international community of practice, this alliance helps governments honour their commitments to phase out oil and gas production.

Reducing methane emissions by 30% compared to 2020 by 2030

More than 100 countries have joined the Global Methane Pledge, launched by the United States and the European Union in September 2021. This global pledge – which aims to reduce methane emissions (the second [most damaging] greenhouse gas after CO2) by 30% by 2030 compared to 2020 levels – is the first of its kind. “If we’ve reached the goal that we have set for 30% reduction of methane by 2030, that is the equivalent of taking all the cars in the world, all of the trucks in the world, all of the airplanes in the world, all ships in the world, down to zero” in terms of emissions, said John Kerry.

Financial support for the energy transition in South Africa

South Africa, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union announced the launch of a Just Energy Transition Partnership with South Africa. South Africa commits to decarbonizing its electricity production (closing coal-fired power stations) and investing in electric mobility and hydrogen, while the five partners pledge 8.5 billion dollars in financial support over the next three to five years.

France increases its climate finance contribution to 7 billion dollars a year

With regard to the target of 100 billion dollars a year for developing countries, France increased its contribution to 7 billion dollars (6 billion euros) a year, one-third of it for adaptation. It also announced a 20-million euros contribution to the Least Developed Countries Fund.

Supporting the Glasgow Breakthroughs to make innovation and clean technology affordable for developing countries by 2030

Forty-two countries, including France, pledged to support the Glasgow Breakthroughs, which aim to make innovation and clean technology affordable for developing countries by 2030. They relate to the five highest-emitting sectors: electricity, steel, hydrogen, vehicles and agriculture.

Speeding up investments and international cooperation for green electricity grids

The United Kingdom, India, France, the United States and Australia, in conjunction with the International Solar Alliance, launched the Green Grids Initiative-One Sun One World One Grid to speed up investment and international cooperation for green electricity grids.

Ending deforestation and land degradation by 2030

About 100 heads of State and government adopted a Declaration on Forests and Land Use. In it the signatories, including France, pledge to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. A collective financial commitment of 12 billion dollars over the period 2021-2025, the Global Forest Finance Pledge, has been published (1 billion dollars from the EU, 800 million dollars from France).

Reaffirming support for the Great Green Wall

The Great Green Wall heads of State and government reaffirmed their support for the initiative launched at the One Planet Summit in January 2021. Nearly half of the 19 billion dollars promised for building the Great Green Wall has already been committed.

Third Because the Ocean initiative to speed up efforts to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from international maritime transport

The Because the Ocean (BTO) initiative, which 23 countries, including France, signed in 2015 at COP21, issued its third declaration. In it, it reaffirms among other things that protecting oceans is essential for the fight against climate change and proposes speeding up efforts to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from international maritime transport.

Signing of the Clydebank Declaration to support the creation of green corridors between two ports

France signed the Clydebank Declaration aimed at supporting the establishment of green corridors (zero-emission maritime routes) between two [or more] ports. To achieve this, the declaration draws on international collaboration and the setting-up of partnerships between the stakeholders concerned: shipowners, ports, energy companies etc. The signatories’ collective goal is to set up at least six corridors by 2025.

Joining the International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition to cut emissions in the aviation sector

France joined the new International Aviation Climate Ambition Coalition, launched on 10 November during the day dedicated to transport, with the signing of a declaration on climate ambition. Among other things, the signatories pledge to promote special measures to cut emissions in the aviation sector (sustainable fuel, Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, new technologies).

Signing of a Call to Action on electric-vehicle charging infrastructure with the aim of achieving zero-emission road transport

On 10 November, along with other States, cities, regions and companies, France signed a Call to Action on electric-vehicle charging infrastructure. As part of the shared ambition to achieve zero-emission road transport, the Call should prompt stakeholders to deploy this infrastructure./.

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