High-Level Talanoa Dialogue Shows How to Make Zero Emissions Development a Reality

A high-level “Talanoa Dialogue” took place at the Fairmont Hotel San Francisco today with climate leaders, designed to sound a note of optimism ahead of tomorrow’s Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), where business leaders, non-profits, citizens, and local government representatives are gathering to make bold new climate commitments.

The Dialogue – which was convened by the Fijian Presidency – brought together speakers from across sectors and geographies including GCAS Co-chairs: California Governor Jerry Brown, United Nations Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake, Mahindra Group CEO Anand Mahindra and China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua.

Every participant in the dialogue shared a story with the objective of feeding-in concrete ideas on the leadership and change required to make zero emissions development a reality.

The naming of the dialogue – ‘Talanoa’ – is taken from a traditional Fijian word used across the Pacific to reflect a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue.

The purpose of today’s dialogue – and other ‘Talanoas’ hosted throughout the world this year – is specifically to support governments in raising their national climate ambition as they prepare for the UN Climate Change Conference in Poland (COP24) at the end of the year.

At the event, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, said: “National governments alone can’t solve the climate crisis. And so we are working in tandem with states, regions and cities to achieve tangible and lasting progress; we are working with the global business community; and we are tapping the grassroots activism, passion and commitment of civil society and billions of ordinary people around the world.”

“We have seen many ideas and inputs from all interested stakeholders which reflect confidence, courage and stepped up ambition to tackle climate change and which contribute towards making all societies greener, safer and more prosperous,” she added.

The outcome of this Talanoa Dialogue will be formally presented to governments at COP24 as part of a Synthesis Report to inform the next round of national climate action plans, the so-called “Nationally Determined Contributions”, along with helping to raise ambition in the short-term.

This sentiment was expressed by the dialogue’s host, COP23 President and Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, who opened the session by telling participants: “Friends, we must get the message out loud and clear that our current Nationally Determined Contributions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions made under the Paris Agreement fall far short of the target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above that of the pre-industrial age.

“Part of the reason for this is because many NDCs do not incorporate the best ideas and solutions that are being implemented at eh sub-national level. This needs to change,” he added.

NDCs are national climate action plans under the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Following the High-Level Talanoa, the COP23 Presidency – together with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Climate Policy Institute – will also host a finance-themed Talanoa on Friday, 14 September 2018.

This event will bring together key actors and thought leaders from across the financial system who will share inspirational and thought-provoking stories on what is needed to put the world on a fast-track to net-zero emissions and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.

The full recording of the Talanao Dialogue can be found here.