France urges legally-binding Global Pact for Environment

By Lu Wen'ao Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/5 23:28:39

French Constitutional Council President Laurent Fabius said Wednesday he hoped a legally-binding Global Pact for the Environment could boost the implementation of the Paris climate agreement.

"To implement sustainable development, we need a legally-binding pact," Fabius, who was the chair of the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference where the Paris Agreement was reached, said through an interpreter when briefing Chinese ­media at the French Embassy in Beijing on Wednesday.

"For decades, law experts have been hoping to reach a legally-binding text, which could help set a framework for an international law on environmental protection."

The pact, aimed at strengthening the framework of global environmental protection, was launched on June 24 by legal think tank Le Club des Juristes.

French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to present the draft to the UN General Assembly in September for ratification, which could impose legally-binding obligations on signatory states.

If adopted, the pact will be in stark contrast to earlier declarations such as the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which was not legally binding.

The new text, obtained by the Global Times on Wednesday, outlines the rights and duties, provides reparations for breaches, and introduces a "polluter-pays" principle.

The initiative comes just weeks after US President Donald Trump announced that the US would withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

"The US withdrawal will create problems for us, such as financial aid to poor countries," Fabius said. "But we are glad to see that no other country has followed suit."

He praised China for its role in helping the Paris Accord, and noted that the Belt and Road initiative could help promote environmental awareness.

"France hopes the Belt and Road initiative, which connects China, Asia, Europe and Africa, could be a green one," he said.

He also called the pact an effort toward international recognition of a "third generation" of human rights, building on the UN's two existing international human rights covenants on civil and political rights, and on economic, social, and cultural rights.

"A legally-binding pact does not mean we want to bring any leader who breaches it to court," Fabius said. "This is about moral pressure."



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