Talanoa Dialogue – Everything You Need to Know


Talanoa Dialogue

The Paris Agreement provides for progress assessments (“stocktakes”) every five years in order to ensure that Parties (UNFCCC term for countries) turn commitment into action and that they continue to regularly increase their ambition. The first full global stocktake will occur in 2023 in order to prepare for a new round of climate commitments, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), by 2025.  However, Parties felt it was important to initiate this cycle prior to the agreement’s anticipated entry into force in 2020, and so a process called the Talanoa Dialogue (initially called a facilitative dialogue) was established for 2018 to serve as an initial stocktaking exercise. The Dialogue is a mandated process requested by Parties to take stock of collective efforts to reduce emissions in line with the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement and to prepare updated or new NDCs by 2020. Ultimately, the goal is to help Parties achieve maximum ambition in implementing and improving their NDCs. The Talanoa Dialogue was launched at COP23 in Bonn.

The long-term goal of the Paris Agreement is to achieve net zero emissions as soon as possible and in the second half of the century, and to contain the rise in average global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius, while pursuing efforts to achieve a rise no greater than 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Fijian Presidency is calling for the formation of a Grand Coalition to build momentum to achieve the more ambitious target of 1.5, and to reduce net carbon emissions to zero as soon as possible.

Structure of the Talanoa Dialogue

The Dialogue will consist of a preparatory (January-December) and a political phase (COP24). The Presidencies of COP23 and COP24 will jointly lead both phases of the Dialogue and co-chair the political phase at COP24.

Preparatory Phase

During the preparatory phase, Parties, stakeholders and expert institutions are invited to prepare analytical and policy relevant inputs that respond to at least one of the three central questions:

  1. Where are we?
  2. Where do we want to go?
  3. How do we get there?

To do so, Parties and non-Party stakeholders are encouraged to cooperate to convene local, national, regional and global events “in support of” the Dialogue, which will allow them to organise amongst themselves, strategise and consolidate their contributions – not only for online submissions, but also for the May meetings with the Parties. This will require working within existing observer groups, networks, alliances and coalitions to determine what stories to tell and who to tell them. Event organisers should inform the Presidency and the UNFCCC secretariat of any such event in advance so that information can be made available on the Talanoa Dialogue Online Platform and the COP23 website.

Image courtesy of the World Resources Institute

Although all stakeholders can continue to submit their inputs using the online platform until as late as October, the Bonn Climate Change Conference in May (May sessions) will offer the opportunity for non-Party stakeholders to actively join Talanoas with Parties. Please see the May sessions section below for more information. As you can understand, we will not be able to accommodate all the voices that wish to be heard due to space and time limitations, which is why prior organisation and coordination is so important. Parties and non-Party stakeholders will have the opportunity to share one positive and one challenging story under each session theme.

The idea is for Parties and Non-Party Stakeholders to share stories, ideas and information that the world can learn from, both in terms of what has worked and what hasn’t worked in the ongoing battle against climate change. To create open and inclusive process – devoid of finger pointing or blame –  where all stakeholders can share examples of best practices and lessons learned in order to give the tools to national governments to reach higher and further toward bringing our collective ambition in line with what science tells us it needs to be. Through honest, respectful and solutions-orientated dialogue, we believe that together we can build trust and inspire more ambitious action in order to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement and support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Political Phase

The political phase will take place at COP24 and will be co-chaired by the COP23 and COP24 Presidencies. The political phase will bring together high-level representatives of the Parties to: (i) take stock of the collective efforts of Parties in meeting the long term goals of the Paris Agreement and (ii) inform the preparation of the next round of NDCs. The political phase will ensure focused and interactive discussions amongst Ministers.

This process is 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.

May Sessions

At the May sessions in Bonn, work under the Talanoa Dialogue will explore the three questions of the Dialogue, informed by inputs from various actors and institutions, including from the Technical Examination Process and the Global Climate Action agenda.

The May sessions will be the first opportunity for Parties and non-Party stakeholders to interact and engage in a Dialogue that is constructive, facilitative, transparent and, above all, solutions-oriented.

The suggested approach for the May sessions has been developed with the time and space limitations in mind, in particular to ensure that the meetings of the Dialogue do not take place at the expense of other priorities.

On Sunday, 6 May 2018, Talanoa Groups will be set up and will work in parallel to address each of the three questions at a time. The questions will be taken up in sequence, so that all six parallel Talanoa groups will consider the same question at the same time: (1) Where are we?; (2) Where do we want to go?; (3) How do we get there?

Each Talanoa group will consist of about 35 participants: 30 Party representatives and 5 non-Party stakeholder representatives. Detailed information on the format of the these discussions is provided on the Talanoa Dialogue Portal.

Following the May sessions, a formal summary of the procedure and substance of the Talanoa Dialogue during the May sessions will be made available.

Details on how to participate in any of the Talanoa Groups can be found

  • Here for Parties
  • Here for non-Party stakeholders

How to Submit and View Inputs

Online Platform

The UNFCCC has launched an online platform where Parties and non-Party stakeholders can submit inputs in response to one or all of the three central questions listed above, as well as access the inputs submitted by others.

The Talanoa Dialogue will provide a space for both pre-2020 and post-2020 inputs and discussions. While the mandate for the Talanoa Dialogue is to explore solutions to achieve the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement, we recognise that the best way to ensure we achieve this is to start NOW with increased ambition that leads to more decisive action. Thus, actions both before 2020 and after 2020 are critical to the success of the Talanoa process.

Online submissions will be collated twice after each deadline. The deadlines for the submission of inputs are 1) 2 April 2018 for discussions in conjunction with the April/May session (30 April – 10 May) and then 2) 29 October 2018 for discussions in conjunction with COP24 (3 – 14 December).

We strongly recommend that inputs are provided in a form that is clear, concise, and actionable, with a clear link to how they can support implementing and enhancing NDCs. We encourage referring to relevant research reports and data in a manner that is accessible to lay audiences. Inputs could include relevant studies or point of views in the form of documents, presentations or videos. In preparing an input, please consider:

  • Whether the input in question is relevant and to which of the three questions;
  • What is objective of the input in the context of a multilateral dialogue; and
  • Whether to join efforts in submitting inputs.

It is important for all actors to consider how they want their submission to help shape the political discussion during the political phase at COP24 and help high-level representatives, including ministers, reach for an ambitious outcome in Poland.

Click the link below to go to the online platform, where you can submit and view inputs.

Key Features of the Talanoa Dialogue

The main features of the Dialogue are as follows:

Key Milestones:
  • Online submissions will be collated twice – after April 2nd 2018, and October 29th 2018.
  • The first set of submissions will be collated and summarised into a report that will inform the Dialogue during the April/May sessions in Bonn (May intersessional).
  • The May discussions will be used to explore the three central topics informed by inputs by various actors and institutions, including from what we call the Global Climate Action Agenda, which is being led this year by Fiji’s High-Level Climate Action Champion, Minister Inia Seruiratu and his Polish counterpart. Summaries from all discussions will be prepared under the authority of the Presidencies of COP23 and COP24.
  • The proceedings of the May intersessional Talanoa Dialogue will be summarised along with the totality of submissions and inputs received throughout the year.
  • This summary will lead to a synthesis report that will take the pulse of the journey we have embarked on together to understand where we are, our vision for the future of our common good, and how we will collectively get there.
  • The synthesis report will inform the political phase of the Talanoa Dialogue, which will take place at COP24 in Poland. This phase will build on the momentum of conversations and stories exchanged throughout the year and the dynamic networks of interactions.
General Observations:
  • The Dialogue should be constructive, facilitative and solutions oriented;
  • The Dialogue should not lead to discussions of a confrontational nature in which individual Parties or groups of Parties are singled out;
  • The Dialogue will be conducted in the spirit of the Pacific tradition of Talanoa:
    • Talanoa is a traditional approach used in Fiji and the Pacific to engage in an inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue;
    • The purpose of Talanoa is to share stories, build empathy and trust;
    • During the process, participants advance their knowledge through common understanding;
    • It creates a platform of dialogue, which results in better decision-making for the collective good;
    • By focusing on the benefits of collective action, this process will inform decision-making and move the global climate agenda forward;
  • The Dialogue should be conducted in a manner that promotes cooperation;
  • The Dialogue will be conducted in a manner that promotes enhanced ambition. The dialogue will consider, as one of its elements, the efforts of Parties on action and support, as appropriate, in the pre-2020 period;
  • The Dialogue will fulfill its mandate, in a comprehensive and non-restrictive manner.
  • The Special Report by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Global Warming of 1.5°C will inform the Talanoa Dialogue.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Talanoa?

Talanoa is a traditional word used in Fiji and the Pacific to reflect a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. The purpose of Talanoa is to share stories and build empathy in order to make wise decisions that are for the collective good. The process of Talanoa involves the sharing of ideas, skills and experience through storytelling.

During the process of the Talanoa Dialogue, Parties will build trust and advance knowledge through empathy and understanding. Blaming others and making critical observations is inconsistent with the building of mutual trust and respect, and therefore inconsistent with the methodology of the Talanoa Dialogue. The spirit of talanoa acknowledges that no-one, no matter how powerful, can solve the climate challenge on their own.

What is the expected outcome of the Talanoa Dialogue?

The Talanoa Dialogue is designed to take stock of collective efforts to reduce emissions in line with the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement and to inform the preparation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Ultimately, the goal is to help countries increase the ambition of their NDCs by 2020. However, the specific outcome will be determined by Parties during the political phase at COP24.

Can individuals contribute to the Talanoa Dialogue?

Yes, individuals can contribute to the Talanoa Dialogue. However, individuals thinking about submitting an input are encouraged to consider how they can join efforts with others to prepare a joint input. This will help the Presidencies and secretariat in their work to consolidate the submissions.

What if I miss April deadline?

Any input received later to that deadline will still appear on the Talanoa Dialogue Online Platform and will be included in the final synthesis report, but will not be part of the materials that the secretariat will produce in time for the April/May session.

What are the opportunities to engage between May and COP24?

The preparatory phase is expected to run throughout the year and until COP24. Additional information on the conduct of the preparatory phase will be provided after the May sessions. The Presidencies further encourage Parties and non-Party stakeholders to continue to cooperate in convening local, national, regional or global events in support of the Talanoa Dialogue.

A second deadline for inputs has been set for 29 October 2018. Any input received later to that deadline will still appear on the Online Platform, but will not be part of the materials that the secretariat produce in time for COP24.

The Need for Urgency

The Dialogue was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference COP23 in Bonn in November 2017 and will run throughout 2018. The Paris Agreement’s central goal is keep the global average temperature rise to below 2C degrees and as close as possible to 1.5C.

Current global ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to prepare societies to resist increasing climate change is not enough to achieve this under the current national climate action plans known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).