With 6 months to go until the COP 21, The Shift Project is surprised to see that several documents issued by the IPCC have not been translated into French.
IPCC reports are crucial for climate negotiations to succeed. They are the link between science and climate negotiations. They provide a strong and legitimate basis for negociators.
Translating these documents into French is therefore vital at a time when France is preparing to welcome negotiators from around the world. It is also important for French citizens arrested by COP 21 to take ownership of the work of the IPCC.
The IPCC in climate negotiations
The IPCC does not participate directly in negotiations. However, states and negotiators draw on IPCC reports. Indeed, these documents put on the table available options and possible future scenarios.
Among other things, they analyze the negotiation process and its historical bottlenecks. They identify the co-benefits and adverse side-effects of climate policies. They take stock of the States’ past commitments and their consequences. They provide insights into international politics, ethics and fairness. They highlight the unavoidable and scientifically objective nature of the need for North-South transfers. Finally, they evaluate the height of the distribution of the effort, as well as the costs of the action, and those of the inaction.
French, one of the official languages of the UN
The French language is spoken fluently in nearly 60 states and the official language of 13 of them. It is also the official language of the UN, and hence of the IPCC. This lack of translation is an obstacle for any French-speaking country that does not have a large pool of English-speaking national negotiators and / or a large budget. Similarly, it makes it more costly for Francophone civil society to appropriate and use these reports.
In general, the three Full Reports are not translated into the official languages of the United Nations, but their Technical Summaries (TS) and Summary to Decision Makers (SPM) are. The Synthesis Report (Longer Report) is translated, as is its Summary to Decision Makers (SPM).
Here are the translations that are not available yet in every official language of the UN (english, arabic, chinese, french, russian, spanish), and should be made and published as soon as possible.
History of publications and translations of the 5th IPCC Report in English and French