France hails Ethiopia as the road to Paris gathers momentum

The French minister of state in charge of development and the francophonie Ms. Annick Girardin (ClimateReporters PHOTO: Aaron Kaah)

By Aaron Yancho Kaah

In  December 2015, Paris will host the 21st conference of parties, the biggest UN sponsored international event  to be hosted by that country for decades. (195 countries and 40.000delegates). The French  government has already unveiled the conference logo  which was enugurated  by the french foreign minister Laurent Fabius a month ago in Paris.

Six years after the UN talks failed  to yeild any friuts in Copenhagen, the Paris summit is expected to strike a workable deal that will start from 2020 to 2035 under the new climate policy agreement. The French authorities are now drumming up support  for a globally, universally  and ambitious agreement which will reduce or maintain the 2°C.

Speaking in Addis-Ababa on the forum: Road to Paris’ What kind of Agreement do we Need?, the French minister of state in charge of development and the francophonie Ms. Annick Girardin said any temperature  rise to above 2°C could lead  to uncontrollable climate changes.

The  French diplomat  explained  that the -climate  was a major geopolitical  issue very much attached to peace and security  as  well as justice, equity and development. Ms. Annick averred  that development and climate changes  were major development issues  for countries of the south.

“The poorest countries  are the most affected” she said. The diplomat went further  to quote the IPCC report that profiled how Ethiopia  was threatened by floods and rising temperatures that hampered the coffee production sector as a result of the proliferation of parasites.

“These impacts were a danger to humanity”. She intimated. Ms Annick received standing ovations  when she said ‘We the rich have polluted the underdeveloped.” Please we must seek alternative development models” she said. The French lminister called  for a proper utilization of natural resource mangement  projects so as to prevent emissions and diseases across the African continent.

The Ethiopian model

The  French diplomat applauded the Ethiopian  government for its pro-active  projects aimed at dealing with

A cross-section of participants at the Road to Paris event in Addis Ababa (ClimateReporters PHOTO: Aaron Kaah)
A cross-section of participants at the Road to Paris event in Addis Ababa (ClimateReporters PHOTO: Aaron Kaah)

climate change. After visiting these  projects, the French lady thought it wise to label these projects  as “the most ambitious on the continent that leads to continuous economic growth  without increasing emissions.”

Over  the years the Ethiopians government had also developed  renewable energy  resources considered the largest wind farms in Africa and a good way to fight against deforestation according to Annick . “This is a  sign of an Africa that is getting mobilized”..she continued. The climate change programs of the Horn of Africa Regional Environment center and Network had also increased the adaptive capacity of most vulnerable communities in Ethiopia  to the shocks of the climate changes and to mitigate its impacts.

By promoting sustainable  and participatory interventions  and in investing in research,  the initiative improved livelihoods  and food security across Ethiopia and has enhanced  environmental conservation according to Dr- Araya Asfaw executive director of the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Center & Network.

The issue at stake in Paris 2015
The French diplomat echoed that  the errors of Copenhagen are to be avoided if the Paris summit would achieve anything. She said  a new legal binding document  was in prospect  to replace the Kyoto protocol in a bid to make things work for all the parties involve.

She went further to underline commitments  from all the countries as a must and demanded  a reasonable financial package  for the poor countries  to aid them adapt  in the new development models and projects. Ms. Annick told the participants that concrete commitments  from within the none state actors like the NGOs and the Civil society networks would stir the Paris summit to greater momentum.

However  acknowledging that the Road to Paris  had so many stages , the French lady  stated that the position of the French government and its people was clear. “Each and every one of you should take this road…at each crossroad we should make the right choices” she concluded.

Nonetheless securing a common standing position between the 195 countries will be not piece of cake to swallow come December 2015.  On the heels of all of these never-ending climate talks, France must read the signs of the time to save the credibility of the UN by lobbying  member states to find lasting solutions  to this crisis and to bestow some pride on its name as a country with a strong environmental trackrecord in the eyes of the international community.


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