The need for a fair and collective solution to fight climate change and the difficulty of achieving that was underlined at the ‘Road to Paris Regional Dialogue’ hosted by the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network, at the Gullele Botanic Garden, in Addis Ababa from April 7 to 9. Former Ambassador of France to Ethiopia, Stephane Gompertz in his new role of Ambassador for Climate Change (Africa and Indian Ocean) was in Addis Ababa as part of the COP 21 pre-conference build up led by Annick Girardin, State Minister of Development and Francophony.
“Our aim is to arrive at a carbon neutral global economy by the end of the century,” says the Climate Change Ambassador explaining the ambitious role that COP21 has set for itself for achieving a balance between mitigation and adaptation to new energy policies and protection of the most vulnerable people among others. Capital’s Teguest Yilma talked to him about the COP21 scheduled to be held in Paris, France in December 2015, the expected outcome and why this time it would be any different. Excerpts:
Capital: Tell us about ‘The Road to Paris’ campaign’s mission, and your visit to Addis?
Stephane Gompertz: Our aim is to help pave the way for a positive outcome in Paris. The Paris Alliance should consist of four elements: a comprehensive, binding agreement; national commitments; financial mechanisms; and a whole set of technical, institutional, societal and political solutions (what we call the “solutions agenda”). All this has to be prepared, technically, politically, but also, and perhaps above all, psychologically. We are all on the same vessel the Earth. We should all cooperate in creating the conditions for a good agreement: our governments, public and private companies, but also public opinions, you, me, your readers.
It is thus necessary to involve public opinion in the preparation of the event and to hear suggestions from our partners. The “Road to Paris” conference and workshops, organized by Horn of Africa Regional Environmental Center and our embassy, have involved various partners from African governments and civil society, particularly young people. We, as representatives of the future Presidency of COP 21, have explained our expectations; but, above all, we have listened to the other participants, particularly the young, and learnt from their experience and suggestions. I have personally found this experience illuminating.