French President Emmanuel Macron promised on Saturday to play an active role in a campaign aimed at securing a global pact to protect the human right to a clean and healthy environment. He made the pledge at a meeting at Sorbonne University where politicians, legal experts and activists presented him with draft proposals for such a pact. Macron has been pushing to maintain momentum generated by a global agreement to combat climate change reached in Paris in 2015, after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out, drawing condemnation from other leaders.
“On the basis of this draft proposal, I pledge to act …so that the work initiated continues, so that we reach a text, convince our partners, place these efforts under the aegis of the U.N … and from September have the basis of a world environment pact,” Macron told his audience. The pact should eventually be put to the United Nations for adoption and impose legally-binding obligations on signatory states, its drafters – comprising legal experts from several countries – have said.
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Attendees at the Sorbonne included former California governor turned green activist Arnold Schwarzenegger and former United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. It was chaired by former prime minister Laurent Fabius, who chaired the 2015 conference on climate change. Under the Paris accord, countries committed to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases generated by burning fossil fuels that are blamed by scientists for warming the planet.