The annual climate negotiations are actually a highlight for the Swiss delegation leader – but this year he is very concerned.
Franz Perrez gave everything in Egypt – physically and verbally. The chief negotiator of the Swiss delegation is seen as someone who is always on the move. He runs quickly from appointment to appointment, rarely resting. Even when he’s sitting down, negotiating, organizing, or discussing contracts, he seems driven.
«The most important thing in negotiations is a personal relationship, even with partners who don’t have the same opinion. A lot is about trust.” Then you can find a solution with the other party that scratches the original position, according to the 55-year-old. Franz Perrez has been on the international stage for 12 years.
The environmental ambassador of Switzerland
Franz Perrez has represented Switzerland’s international environmental policy to the outside world since 2010 and heads Swiss delegations in international environmental negotiations. In this function, he also leads the Swiss delegation in the climate negotiations and represents Switzerland at high-level meetings.
Swiss delegation helps design
As with other climate conferences, not only big names but also smaller countries are represented in Sharm-el-Sheikh.Negotiators, like the Swiss lawyer Perrez, play a key role in such conferences. Of course, the small Swiss delegation also wants to help shape it.
«My need is not to be loved by others. The goal must be to be respected, »says Perrez. And he will. Perrez is always friendly, but doesn’t take his position with niceties. “You shouldn’t be afraid to offend.” He also maintains good contacts with countries with strongly differing opinions. Again and again he manages to convey trust and thereby promote an agreement.
We built up pressure. That is why there is talk of a 1.5 degree target.
The most important thing for Perrez these days is not to lose sight of the 1.5 degree target. Many countries already want to bury it because it is unrealistic. But: The Swiss delegation continues to hold the bar high: “We have succeeded in not only talking about other topics here, but also about the 1.5 degree target. We put the pressure on.”
In Egypt, the climate compensation payment was made a big issue. A rescue fund for countries affected by climate change is under discussion. Perrez does not reject this. But there is a risk that one only looks at the new fund and forgets other important measures, such as support for migration caused by climate change.
Attention to closing statement
Unlike in previous climate conferences, neither an agreement nor important climate rules will be passed in Sharm El-Sheikh. The focus will therefore be on the final declaration: the more ambitious it is, the stronger the signal to the international community, but also to cities and private companies. Last year in Glasgow, the delegations wrestled for hours over the wording of whether the countries should just phase out the use of coal (“phase down”) or phase it out completely (“phase out”).
Concerns about the common climate goal
His many years of experience and his gut feeling tell him that things are not going well this year:“I am very concerned that at the end of the conference we will either have no result or an insufficient one.”
“Because if a few countries with the largest emissions are not willing to get involved, we will not be able to achieve the 1.5 degree target,” said the environmental ambassador.
If the countries that are among the richest are not prepared to support the poorest in their fight against climate change, we will not find a satisfactory solution.
But that’s not the only problem: the goal of providing $100 billion a year to finance ecological transition in the poorest countries could also fail. “If the countries that are among the richest are not willing to support the poorest in their efforts to combat climate change, we will not find a satisfactory solution.” Even Franz Perrez’s trusting negotiating skills cannot compete with that.