Senator the Honourable Arnold J. Nicholson Q.C.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
The Twenty-first Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Eleventh Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP), Paris, France
29th November – 12th December 2015
Global Significance of the Climate Change Conference
From 29th November to 12th December 2015, the eyes of the world were riveted on Paris where the Twenty-first Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was unfolding. The Conference was widely seen as the final opportunity for the international community to conclude a global agreement to effectively tackle climate change and its nefarious effects, after several previous attempts.
Against the backdrop of the fifth assessment report (AR5) of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which set out incontrovertibly the negative impact of climate change on both planet and people, there were those who believed that the fate of the planet was hanging in the balance. The science was undeniable and there had been a sea-change in thinking which had marginalised those who sought to deny the voluminous evidence of climate change and its wide-ranging effects. Small island developing states, in particular, viewed it as an existential threat and saw themselves as the principal hostages of a crisis that they had done very little to provoke and from which they could not extricate themselves without global action.
It was clear, then, that success at COP21 would represent a powerful symbol of the capacity of the international community to use the multilateral system to tackle the most pressing global challenges. That this Conference was coming at the end of a series of international engagements which began earlier in the year and which cumulatively set the stage for the sustainable development agenda for the coming decades, could not be ignored. Given the stakes, it was essential for Jamaica to be a present and active participant at the Summit…READ MORE