Filipino solidarity on last mile of Paris climate negotiations

Pia Ranada
Filipino solidarity on last mile of Paris climate negotiations
The Philippine delegation opens a crucial meeting of negotiators to media for the first time during the landmark UN climate summit in Paris

LE BOURGET, France – Things got real, and they got real fast.

Days into the second week of UN climate change negotiations here in Paris, I only had a working understanding of what it means for a country to fight for its interests in what will be a global climate deal.

But an hour ago, I was able to sit in an actual meeting of the Philippine delegation, minutes after the release of the latest version of the draft UN climate deal.

FOCUSED. Philippine negotiator Val Roque of the Department of Foreign Affairs pours over new draft of UN climate deal

It was the first time such a crucial meeting was opened to Philippine media. All the other journalists and I could do was keep quiet so as not to disrupt the crucial exchange of ideas.

Negotiators stood up to report on each of their assigned issues, which in the draft agreement take on the form of sets of paragraphs called articles. They got to the nitty-gritty.

This paragraph is not preferable…We would rather it say this…This option is acceptable…This line might compromise our agricultural sector…This is what we can propose…

I had a soft copy of the agreement in front of me so I could follow the discussion. Despite only a few minutes of pouring over the text, the negotiators appeared ready and on-point to report on updates from their end.

There were even rounds of applauses for negotiators whose wording remained in the draft agreement, meaning a possible win for the Philippines if that wording were to appear in the final agreement.

HUNKERED DOWN. With only a few hours to go and not enough chairs, some Philippine negotiators don't hesitate to sit on the floor to finish reading the latest version of the climate change agreement draft

As far as coverages go, a climate negotiation is not exactly the most visually exciting. There are no flying roofs as in disaster coverage, no profusely cursing politician, no heart-stopping 3-point shoots in a glittering basketball court.

But there was a tension and electric charge in the air I can only describe as excitement.

It was good to be in that room.

We were told that it was Climate Change Commissioner Manny de Guzman’s idea to open that meeting to media. Even NGOs (non-governmental organizations) would be able to join certain meetings at this point in the negotiations.

The point is transparency, we were told. But I believe the decision has something to do with solidarity.

We are all Filipinos here in Paris to participate in the creation of a global agreement that will impact our country and fellow countrymen.

Though we all have our own jobs to do here in Paris, at the end of these gruelling weeks, we’re all going home. –

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at