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Can Paris Enshrine the Margarita Declaration’s Legacy?

The last days of the Climate Talks in Paris might serve as icing on the cake for the Margarita Declaration’s Legacy as negotiators enter the final stage of the conference and tackle the “purpose” of the expected agreement.

18 months after global civil society gathered in Venezuela at a people’s COP to put forward their vision of a climate deal, it looks like the human rights foundation of that meeting’s resulting document will be upheld here in Paris.

Venezuela's Lead Negotiator Claudia Salerno.

Venezuela’s Lead Negotiator Claudia Salerno.

For the past two weeks, human rights have been facing strong opposition on several sides, but we are hearing that Venezuela’s facilitation during the preamble discussion last Tuesday makes it more likely that they move forward to the final deal and might propel human rights on article 2, which holds the text’s purpose.

Claudia Salerno, Venezuela’s lead negotiator –and our favorite late-hour speaker on second Friday nights– is putting the pieces into place for this. The South American was commissioned by the French Presidency to facilitate the informal consultations on issues related to the preamble and, as always, went full throttle.

Tuesday’s discussion on the Paris Agreement preamble went smoothly, with the Venezuelan Ambassador handling the dialogue with expertise. Negotiators inside the meeting told us that she waved the debate with craft, making sure climate justice sits right in the middle of the text guidelines.

It’s likely that she’s propelled by the idea of seeing core elements within the Declaration, such as the protection of human rights in climate action, reflected in the preamble. But that was just a starter: the other big fight for human rights will come in the purpose article.

After the French Presidency releases the final draft this afternoon and negotiators dive into the (hopefully) final discussion before the text moves to the linguists for its translation, Salerno can play a key role in upholding human rights as part of the purpose of the agreement and thus solidifying the Margarita Legacy.

Diego Arguedas Ortiz

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