Article / 04 May, 2018
Talanoa Dialogue: Opening Meeting Ushers In Pacific Approach To Raising Ambition

UN Climate Change News, 4 May 2018 - The opening meeting of the Talanoa Dialogue took place this week, inviting all participants to share stories around climate ambition and to have solutions-oriented conversations on contributions to the Paris Agreement’s goals at the ‘May talanoas’ on Sunday 6 May.

The Talanoa Dialogue is an important international conversation around ambition now, before 2020 and in the future. It will take place throughout 2018 and was launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) held in Bonn at the end of last year under the presidency of Fiji.

The dialogue was introduced by Ambassador Daunivalu of the COP23 presidency, as well as by Mr. Chruszczow, Special Envoy for Climate Change of the incoming Polish presidency for COP24, to be held in Katowice, Poland in December this year.

The dialogue will aim to check progress, reaffirm the goals of the Paris Agreement and aim to find solutions for how countries can increase their ambition now and in the next round of their national climate action plans, officially termed ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’.

At the opening meeting, Ambassador Daunivalu invited all participants to register for the 6th of May talanoas and to engage in the dialogue in good will, being bold yet respectful in their story-telling and to use this opportunity to increase ambition.

As per tradition in the Pacific region, the goal of a ‘talanoa’ is to share stories to find solutions for the common good. The Talanoa Dialogue in the context of the international climate change process will invite participants to share stories of 3 minutes each to find solutions for the global common good.

To illustrate this tradition to delegates gathered in Bonn, Fiji’s Climate Change Champion, Mr. Seruiratu told a 3-minute story of how Fiji had been battered by three cyclones in a period of about 2 months. Tragically, the cyclones had claimed lives and in one region, it had rained more in 4 hours than usually falls in the period of a month. “Many Fijians now live in constant fear of the weather and worse to come,” he concluded.

Ms. Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, reminded delegates of the urgency of raising ambition in her opening remarks. “A 3 degrees Celsius rise will lead to nothing less than global destabilization. It will cost lives. It will increase instability and conflict, especially in places already undergoing economic, political and social stress”, she warned.

“Put another way, climate change will take every challenge we currently face and multiply them. The Talanoa Dialogue can help boost ambition”, she added.

The dialogue is structured around three questions:

  1. Where are we?

  2. Where do we want to go?

  3. How do we get there?

This first phase of the Fiji-led dialogue will write history when countries and non-Party stakeholders including cities, businesses, investors and regions engage in interactive story-telling around these three questions for the first time on 6 May. This important event can be followed via webcast

Additionally, since the beginning of 2018, countries and non-Party stakeholders have had the opportunity to provide written submissions around these three questions. These submissions are an important resource that have been collated into an overview report, which can be viewed here.

The output from all submissions, as well as from the story-telling conversations on 6 May will feed into the Talanoa Dialogue’s second, more political phase at COP24. To view the full list of participants to the Sunday Talanoas on 6 May, click here.

A report-back session to share the highlights of the 6 May talanoas with all conference participants will take place on 8 May.

The Fiji presidency has encouraged national and regional talanoas throughout the year and across the globe to feed into the Talanoa Dialogue. For example, story-telling at city and regional level will take place in 40 countries around the world. So-called "Cities and Regions Talanoa Dialogues’’ will be facilitated by ICLEI -Local Governments for Sustainability with Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and UN-Habitat as special partners.

Yet the concept is gaining momentum beyond 2018 given that it is already being regarded as a helpful process towards developing climate action plans as well as long-term low-emissions strategies by some countries.

To shed light on this process for the wider public, UN Climate Change is hosting a series of Virtual Talanoas, starting on 3 May, at the Climate Action Studio, which will be broadcast to a large external audience via Facebook Live. The first ‘Virtual Talanoa’ to raise awareness about the Talanoa Dialogue will be on the topic of "Where Are We Now?. A second Virtual Talanoa on 4 May will be on the question: "Where Do We Want To Go?", and a third on 5 May will be on the question "How Do We Get There?. All Virtual Talanoas will start at 13:00 CEST and run for around half an hour.