By Lisa Prior
Between all the acronyms and technical terms used here in Bonn theses days, one word leaps out: Talanoa!
Talanoa is a special form of communication from the pacific islands and was introduced to the UNFCCC by the Fijian Presidency at COP 23 in Bonn last year. The key is an open, moderated dialogue that creates a safe space, were opinions can be voiced, experiences shared, and stories told without criticizing or blaming each other. Ideally this will lead to a better understanding of each other and create stronger, emphatic collaboration.
At Sundays (6.5.2018) Talanao dialogues party [Signatory countries] and non-party stakeholder [i.e. NGOs, Academia, Industry] representatives will address 3 core topics:
- Where are we?
- Where do we want to go?
- How do we get there?
7 dialogues will run in parallel all day and be available via webcast.
At yesterday’s opening meeting of the Talanoa Dialogue everyone involved assured their appreciation for the dialogues, stressed the importance of non-Party involvement and shared their expectations. YOUNGO as the youth constituency at UNFCC took the chance to stress the role of youth as “champions of climate actions” and need for meaningful engagement.
In the meantime several side events addressed Talanoa in their own way.
York University and the German Development Institute (DIE) hosted a session titled “Boosting non-Party climate action through Talanoa”. The speakers were analysts and scientists looking into the effects of non-Party commitments, as well as representatives of non-party stakeholders. Trends and successes as well as downfalls in the available data where discussed.
Katharine Rietig from Newcastle University stressed the need for individuals and groups to step up and become leaders as policy entrepreneurs and agents of change. Especially youth can play a major part!
Lasse Bruun from Climate action network international painted the picture of a watchdog. Where in partnerships between governments and non-Party actors both can ensure they “keep the eyes on the ball”, even when governments and personnel change.
In the end it came down to communication and collaboration again. Climate Actions taken and commitments made and delivered on by municipalities or industry can set best practice examples. But it also takes the parties to make sure these examples are picked up and reflected in their policy.
The author, Lisa Prior is a master student at Göttingen University in Germany and the current Executive Secretary of IFSA.