The Montreal Action Plan

Notes for an Address
by the The Honourable Stéphane Dion, President,
UN Climate Change Conference

Closing of Joint High-level Segment,
Montreal 2005

December 10, 2005


Minister Stéphane Dion
Speech delivered by the
Hon. Stéphane Dion , President,
UN Climate Change Conference

Check against delivery

Distinguished delegates, you have upheld the trust the people of the world have placed in us.

Facing the worst ecological threat to humanity, you have said: the world is united, and together, step by step, we will win this fight.

Over the last months, I listened to you carefully. And I saw that we all had different views, different approaches, and different economic conditions.

But at the same time, beyond these differences, everywhere I went, I found the same good will, the same concerns and the same sense of urgency.

And then I understood that Montreal 2005 had the potential to be a significant step forward in our campaign to protect the climate and achieve sustainable development.

Indeed, what we have achieved is no less than a MAP for the future - the Montreal Action Plan. With this roadmap, we are charting a forward course, based on the three "Is".

It is through my consultations with you that the three objectives of this Conference emerged -- the three "I's": implement the Kyoto Protocol; improve the Kyoto Protocol and the Convention; and innovate for the future.

Allow me as President to congratulate you, because you have fully met the three objectives. We now have a plan for the future: the Montreal Action Plan.

The Montreal Action Plan will build on the accomplishments of this conference.

Now that we adopted the Marrakech Accords, including the Compliance regime, Ladies and gentlemen, Kyoto is fully implemented; it is up and running!

Now that the Clean Development Mechanism has been strengthened, streamlined and better funded, we will be able to handle the increasing demand for project approvals.

Thanks to our work these past two weeks, the CDM will become one of the best instruments for North-South solidarity and for our joint fight to protect the climate and promote sustainable development.

In addition, the launch of the Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee and of its operations opens new business opportunities and brings new players to the emerging carbon market.

We approved the Programme of work on Adaptation, responding to the urgent need to better address the impacts of climate change.

Now we will implement this programme of work, and improve knowledge and information exchange on this critical issue.

We have also agreed on a way forward on the Adaptation Fund, which is critical for helping to meet adaptation needs in developing countries.

This Conference has recognized the fundamental role of technology, both for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

We have begun consideration of promising new technologies, such as Carbon Capture and Storage. I look forward to our discussions with the private sector and international financial organizations on strategies for improving technology development and transfer.
Together, these actions and decisions represent major improvements to the Protocol and Convention.

We are right to celebrate these accomplishments, but the Montreal Action Plan is about the future.

We have successfully initiated discussions of the commitments for industrialized countries in the period beyond 2012. This sends a strong signal to the carbon market and creates incentives for long term investment in innovative climate-friendly technologies.

Under Article 3.9 of the Kyoto Protocol, we will be meeting in May of 2006 to advance the discussion by Parties on Annex 1 commitments for post 2012.

And don't forget, you are invited to submit, by September first 2006, the relevant information and views on how best to carry out the first review of the Protocol under Article 9.

Finally, we have achieved what many claimed was unattainable - a decision launching a dialogue on long-term cooperative action to address climate change by enhancing implementation of the Convention.

This represents a major victory for the global community. Now national governments will have the forum to exchange experiences and analyze strategic approaches, and to free our imaginations to find further innovative solutions that I know we are capable of - governments at all levels, NGOs, industries, experts and others.

We will start this dialogue on the future, beginning with submissions to the Secretariat by April 15th next year, followed by a workshop.

As you see, over the past two weeks - together - we have built the Montreal Action Plan. This Plan provides all of us with a clear roadmap for future work under the Convention. It will guide us as we tackle climate change on multiple fronts.

To sum up, the Agenda for Montreal 2005 was very ambitious - but we delivered. We adopted over 40 significant decisions to improve our efforts to combat climate change!

We all come out of this experience stronger and better equipped to address climate change.

We have learned from the experience of all these young people, mayors, representatives of sub-national governments, activists, business leaders, scientists and Aboriginal people who have enlivened a conference that teemed with debate and events of all kinds.

Speaking more personally, if there is one lesson I have learned from this extraordinary experience, it is that the president of a COP is nothing without a solid team to rely on.

As Minister, I am fortunate to be able to count on an exceptional Deputy Head of Department, my Deputy Minister Samy Watson, who surrounded me with a superb team of climate change experts, seasoned negotiators, experienced diplomats, and accomplished conference organizers.

We will never thank enough the hundreds of Canadians who made this conference a success.

Allow me also to mention the Prime Minister of Canada himself, the Right Honourable Paul Martin, whose inspiring speech, everyone will agree, was a turning point of this conference.

I would also like to thank Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Pierre Pettigrew.

Pierre, my longtime friend, thank you for making your vast experience in international diplomacy available to a beginner like me.

And what can I say about the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat. My recommendation to the president of the next COP will be to give it the fullest confidence.

Richard: you and your team are wonderful, worthy successors to the great Joke Waller-Hunter.

Above all, I thank you, the delegates and participants who have made the United National Conference in Montreal such a success.

Yes, we can celebrate tonight.

But tomorrow, we will have to roll up our sleeves again.

You heard what Claude Mandil, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency,
told us this morning: if we don't do anything more than what we are doing now, greenhouse gas emissions will rise by 50% by 2030, whereas science tells us that we need to reduce them by at least 50%.

Yes, our Montreal marathon is over, but we still have a long road ahead of us.

Thanks to the Montreal Action Plan, we will travel that road together. Yes, we will reconcile humankind with its planet.