Laurent Fabius talks to CEMUNE about COP26 in exclusive interview

Delegates are more likely to trust a facilitator that they perceive as being capable in the role. Since the role is primarily procedural, a mastery of the rules of procedure and a good understanding of the multilateral process are key.

Date: 1.11.2021

“It is not only to achieve consensus, it is to achieve an ambitious consensus.“




These are the words of Laurent Fabius, President of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) President, when he was interviewed by CEMUNE’s Kai Monheim and Hayley Walker for the “Summits Unplugged” series on how to successfully run multilateral negotiations.




Ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Fabius explained the process that led to the successful adoption of the Paris Agreement. Congruent with CEMUNE’s Seven Dimensions for Effective Negotiation Management, he goes on to stress the importance of listening and trust for ensuring progress and acceptance of an ambitious outcome such as the one agreed to in Paris. He also underscores the roles of the different actors, including non-party stakeholders within the multilateral negotiation process, to drive the ambition of the agreement.




Ahead of the Glasgow summit, Fabius argues that while the COVID-19 pandemic “will go away,” the climate crisis is a long-term problem that needs to be addressed with the same swiftness and decisiveness that was marshalled by world leaders to address “the virus crisis.” COP26, he notes, faces many additional challenges in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement, including lack of financing; and lack of sufficiently ambitious nationally determined contributions (NDCs). What it will come down to, Fabius suggests, is ensuring a focus on implementing the Agreement.




The Paris Agreement is a legally binding agreement adopted by parties at COP21 in Paris in 2015. The Agreement facilitates a pathway for countries, both developed and developing, to cut their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by allowing for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which are submitted once every five years; each new submission is expected to be more ambitious than the last. The Agreement commits countries to substantially reduce GHG emissions to limit global temperature increases to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels, while making every effort to limit the increase in global temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.




COP26 in Glasgow, hosted by the UK, will take place from 31 October to 12 November 2021. It is expected to focus on implementing the Paris Agreement, by finishing negotiations on how to operationalize the “Paris Rulebook”, and by raising the ambition of governments NDCs to keep 1.5° alive.