Opening of Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21)

Everything you need to know about the arrival of the Heads of State on 30 November.


The President of the French Republic, François Hollande, and the French Minister of Foreign Affairs and future President of COP21, Laurent Fabius, wanted to invite all Heads of State and Government to the opening of the Conference on 30 November in order to generate political momentum ahead of the negotiations, which will take place first at a technical level, then at ministerial level. By 28 November, 150 Heads of State and Government had accepted this invitation. This level of participation makes COP21 one of the largest diplomatic conferences ever organized, aside from the United Nations General Assembly sessions in New York. It has been described by Laurent Fabius as “a first” for France.

The day will begin with the official opening of the Conference at 10 a.m., when Laurent Fabius will be elected as President of COP21 by the 196 Parties. Meanwhile, the Heads of State and Government will be received at the Le Bourget site by the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, and the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

The Leaders Event will start at 11 a.m. with speeches by François Hollande, Ban Ki-moon and Laurent Fabius. After a family photo, each of the 150 Heads of State and Government will make a short speech. Although the invitations were sent by France, the order of speakers will follow the United Nations rules in this regard, based on order of precedence and the order in which the responses to the invitation were received. List of speakers in PDF format: here.

Given the large number of Heads of State present, the speeches will be given simultaneously in the two plenary rooms of the Conference Centre, named “Seine” and “Loire”, from 12 p.m. to 1.15 p.m. A lunch will then be hosted by the President of the French Republic and the President of COP21. The speeches will resume from around 2.45 p.m. until the end of the day.

  • 4 p.m.: launch of the Mission Innovation (Clean Tech) initiative. This is a commitment by States to double their research and development budgets by 2020 and by private investors to increase their own investments.
  • 5 p.m.: launch of the Solar Alliance. This is a shared platform for cooperation between the countries with considerable solar resources that are leading the project: Brazil, Peru, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Nigeria, the Netherlands, Indonesia, UAE and Fiji.
  • 6 p.m.: carbon pricing panel, chaired by the World Bank and the IMF, in the presence of the American and Chinese Presidents in particular. This event will enable committed world leaders to encourage their peers to support carbon pricing on an international scale. It will be the first meeting on the subject among leaders at this level.

The American President, Barack Obama, will then join François Hollande for dinner at the Élysée Palace.

Useful link - COP21 website.

Last modified on 09/12/2015

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