The Talanoa Dialogue Builds Momentum around the Globe

Through its leadership of the COP23 Presidency, Fiji is taking a Pacific concept of grassroots storytelling, consensus building and decision making to the world.

With a month to go before COP24 in Katowice, the Talanoa Dialogue continues to build momentum as more and more stakeholders around the globe take up this new approach to urgently increasing global climate ambition by organising their own Talanoas.

One of the Talanoa groups during the May Sessions (SB48) in Bonn, Germany, when countries and non-state actors met for some of the first groundbreaking Talanoa Dialogues.

The Talanoa Dialogue represents a radical departure from the formal negotiating process by creating an open space where countries, cities, businesses, civil society, faith-based organisations, indigenous communities, youth groups and others can share their ideas and experiences and learn from each other without fear of finger pointing or recrimination.

Speaking at the second Climate Action Pacific Partnership Conference, COP23 President Frank Bainimarama said, “More and more people are opening their minds to the possibility that talanoa might be a better way of deciding what we can all deliver under the Paris Agreement than pointing the finger at someone else or engaging in self-defeating arguments.”

The Talanoa Dialogue is carried out in two phases: the preparatory phase, which runs until the beginning of COP24 in December, and the political phase, which will take place during COP24 amongst political leaders.

During the preparatory phase, all stakeholders are invited to submit written inputs. To date, more than a thousand stories have be

Talanoa Dialogue at the Storting in October

en shared as part of the formal process. There are already 33 published inputs from Parties and 240 published inputs from Non-Party stakeholders. On top of these, more than 700 stories were shared during the Talanoas at the May Sessions

But beyond the written submissions, the Presidencies have also called on stakeholders to organise events in support of the Talanoa Dialogue, to collect their own stories and prepare their submissions, which will help shape the political discussion at COP24.

What makes the talanoa approach different? Talanoa is a Pacific process of storytelling that builds consensus and helps make decisions.  Stories are share in an inclusive and positive atmosphere that is focused on finding common solutions rather than laying blame. In the context of the climate negotiations, the ultimate goal is to share your story, listen to the stories of others and, hopefully, inspire greater ambition and action on the ground.

Thinking of organising your own Talanoa?

Talanoa Dialogue Events Around the World

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[View the official Talanoa Dialogue calendar] 

The amount of Talanoa activity already taking place around the globe has been rising steadily. Important multilateral events such as the European Union Talanoa,  African Climate Week have been convened, with other regional talanoas, such as the African Climate Talks, the the Asia-Pacific Climate Week Talanoa, the Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week Talanoa, the Pacific Leaders’ Talanoa, and the Virtual Summit of the Climate Vulnerable Forum taking place worldwide.

As part of its global Talanoa Dialogue process, Islamic Relief Pakistan is not only raising awareness among communities about the impacts of climate change through discussions but also amplifying their voices (Photo Credit: Islamic Relief)

Important alliances and networks have also readily embraced the concept. The Cities and Regions Talanoa Dialogues, coordinated by ICLEI, are taking place in more than 40 countries around the world. YOUNGO, the official youth constituency to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has organised a global series of 19 Local Conferences of Youth (LCOYs) in the spirit of talanoa.  Islamic Relief is organising a series of Talanoa Dialogues. The Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network in Africa is coordinating a Talanoa submission. The Global Adaptation Forum met earlier in the year to help shape its contribution. And the Climate & Sustainable Development Network of Nigeria and the Panafrican Climate Justice Alliance have had a national consultative workshop on the Talanoa Dialogue. To name but a few examples. 

UK Talanoa Dialogue at Green Great Britain Week in October 2018

At the national level, talanoas have already taken place in the United KingdomFrance, South Africa, AustraliaSerbia, Estonia, Indonesia, Brazil, Korea, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and many other countries. A number of very productive discussions have also taken place as part of larger gatherings, such as the Presidency-led Talanoa Dialogues at the Global Climate Action Summit,  ICC Talanoa Dialogue Roundtable held on the margins of SB48 in Bonn, the Talanoa on gender at CBA12 in Malawi, 3rd Gathering of the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change in Panama, and the Talanoa Dialogue at the World Farmers Organization General Assembly, to give but a few examples.

Even local communities are coming on board. For example, a talanoa is being convened by a citizen-based coalition to explore how climate change is affecting Tompkins County, New York.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg, with many others holding talanoas within their sectors, within their professional networks, and even with their clients.*

As this momentum continues to grow, we encourage anyone with a stake in the global campaign against climate change to consider how they can participate in a Talanoa of their own, whether it is within your own organisation, within your network, with your local or national government, within your local community, or even informally with your friends.

The Talanoa Dialogue is ultimately based on the notion that no single actor can solve the climate challenge on their own – that the whole world must join together in a collective effort to make the transition to net-zero emissions as quickly as possible. This will only work with a solid foundation of trust and cooperation between all stakeholders, and we believe that the Talanoa Dialogue is how we start building this foundation.

*If we have missed your event, please send an email to media@cop23.com.fj so that we can include in this article in the next update.

Story originally published on 13 August 2018.

Last update on 2 November 2018.