Interview with Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle, managing Director of the DGPE

Crédit ci-après
Cheick Saidou /

What are the issues involved in this agreement?

The goal of COP 21 is to identify a universal and legally binding agreement signed by all, and applicable to all countries. It will need to be ambitious in order to keep the average temperature increase caused by global warming below 1,5 or 2°C and give economic players the necessary cues for the transition to a low-carbon economy. This agreement will be flexible, to take into account national circumstances, needs and capacities of each developing country and the specific features of some countries. It will be divided equally between mitigation and adaptation, to provide appropriate means of implementation. It must take account of the specific characteristics of the land (agriculture and forests) in the accounting principles for emissions and greenhouse gas removals, and in the necessary protection of food security.

What tools does COP 21 have to reach this goal?

All member countries of the Climate Convention were asked to publicly announce their contribution during 2015. National contributions cover two types of objectives. On the one hand, mitigation targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, adjustment targets to reduce the vulnerability of natural and human systems to climate change effects. The combined effect of these contributions will be regularly assessed and countries will be encouraged to make more ambitious commitments. This innovative process helps to create a knock-on effect aimed at demonstrate that all the States are moving forward, on the basis of their national circumstances, in the same direction. To date, 155 contributions have been publicly announced (covering 87% of emissions), in which agriculture and forestry are very often at the forefront.

How to finance this effort?

The funding issue of the fight against climate change is one of the most sensitive topics in the negotiations. Developed countries have committed to contributing $100 billion per year by 2020 through public or private funds to support mitigation and adaptation efforts in the developing countries, which are set out in their contributions. To this end “the Green Climate Fund“ is intended to become the main multilateral fund to finance developing countries’ transition to low-carbon and resilient economies, thus limiting the fragmentation of the numerous climate funds. Due to their ability to store carbon and produce renewable energy and material, agriculture and forestry will play a key role in this transition.

What are the other initiatives?

The “Action Agenda”, created in 2014, identifies initiatives that complement the international agreement expected at the Paris Climate Conference, COP 21, and that bring together governments and non-state actors (businesses, local authorities, international organizations, NGOs and investors). Today the “Action Agenda” is driven through the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA), set up by the Peruvian Presidency and the upcoming French Presidency. It aims to accelerate action by all for mitigation and adaptation to climate change through more additional concrete sectorial initiatives which are complementary to UN negotiations. The Lima-Paris Action Plan is a tremendous driving force for action. The aim is to send out a clear message ahead of the entry into force of the future agreement in 2020: an agreement that a broad coalition of actors, including non-State actors, are willing to work together for this common cause.

How is agriculture involved in this initiative?

The French Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry has been designated as the official organizer of the « agriculture » chapter of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, to be presented to the world on 1st December during COP 21. For the occasion, it launched a call for expressions of interest to identify ambitious and concrete initiatives of different actors that could be integrated into the LPAA, such as the “4 for 1000 Initiative: Soils for food security and climate”. These initiatives will therefore be developed during the day devoted to agriculture and climate.

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