Participation of the Grand Coalition Is Key to Success of Talanoa Dialogue

The participation of non-Party stakeholders (NPS) is crucial to the success of the Talanoa Dialogue. This was the message delivered by the COP23 Chief Negotiator, Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, during a briefing yesterday at United Nations in Geneva.

Ambassador Khan, who is Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, said that during consultations with Parties last year a very clear consensus emerged about ensuring the participation of non-Party stakeholders (a group that includes local governments, civil society, non-profits, businesses, investors, the scientific community, expert institutions and individuals) in the Talanoa Dialogue.

“It was very clear from our consultations that everyone expected there to be input not only from Parties, but also from non-Party stakeholders. This was a clear message we got,” she said.

She said that Parties wanted to ensure the Facilitative Dialogue (as it was then known) did not descend into a finger pointing exercise and that it be transparent, participatory and inclusive. “We increasingly came to realise that what the Parties were asking for aligned very closely with our Pacific way of having dialogue, which we call talanoa, where everyone has the opportunity to have their voice heard,” she said.

The preparatory phase of the Talanoa Dialogue is open to everyone for the entire year and is framed around three central questions. Where are we? Where do we want to go? And how to we get there? Parties and non-Party stakeholders alike are encouraged to share experiences that respond to one or all of these questions by submitting inputs through an online portal that was launched last week.

The Ambassador said the only real guidance for inputs is that they be relevant to at least one of the three questions, but she also emphasised that they should be focused on sharing stories from which others can learn, both in terms of what has and hasn’t worked – success stories as well as challenges that need to be overcome.

“The goal here is to take stock and inform the next round of nationally-determined contributions in a way that ultimately helps Parties collectively raise ambition. This is not about sharing stories for the sake of sharing stories; this is a process designed to build momentum toward a political space at COP24 where political leaders can agree on where we need to go and how we can get there in the global fight against climate change,” she said.

The Ambassador encouraged non-Party stakeholders to give particular focus to the 48th session of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies (April/May sessions). “Although all stakeholders can continue to submit their inputs using the online platform until as late as October, the April/May session will be the only opportunity for non-Party stakeholders to actively join talanoas with Parties. The next talanoa sessions will take place at COP24 and will only include the participation of political leaders,” she said.
Ambassador Khan explained this is why the methodology for the talanoas at the April/May sessions has been specifically designed to include as wide participation as possible.

The Ambassador explained that the non-Party stakeholders will have to work amongst themselves to select their stories and prepare for the talanoas. “This will require non-Party stakeholders to work together within existing observer groups, networks, alliances and coalitions to determine what stories they want to tell and who they want to tell them. Of course, Fiji is standing by to help organise in any way we can,” she said.

The briefing – which was organised with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – presented the achievements of COP23 from a human-rights perspective, as well as gave Geneva-based actors the opportunity to learn and ask questions about the Talanoa Dialogue, which will take place under the guidance of the COP23 and COP24 Presidencies.

Ambassador Khan was joined on the panel by H.E. Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to UNOG and Sebastien Duyck, Senior Attorney, Center for International Environmental Law.