“Talanoa is not just about telling your story, but listening to the stories of others” – Chief Negotiator’s Speech at SB48 Side Event

Remarks by the Fijian COP23 Chief Negotiator, Ambassador Luke Daunivalu, at the Side Event on Promoting the Human Right to Participation in Climate Action on 4 May 2018.

Excellencies, colleagues and friends,

I am delighted on behalf of the Fijian Presidency and our Prime Minister and COP23 President, the Honourable Frank Bainimarama, to welcome you all to this discussion about how we can best promote the human right to participation in climate action.

The Fijian Presidency has stressed from the very start the critical importance of inclusiveness in the global climate action program. As our President has often observed, we are all in the same canoe, and an effective response to climate change must involve every single person on earth. All ages, all nationalities, all backgrounds. Because only by working together, as one world, can we confront the magnitude of the task before us.

Fiji is proud that during COP23 we made great strides in making the UNFCCC processes more inclusive, whether it is by highlighting the important role of women in the climate struggle, through the Gender Action Plan, or emphasising the important role that local communities and indigenous peoples can play through their traditional knowledge and care for their surroundings.

But there is no doubt that one of the most important things we have done to promote the human right to participation in climate action is our Talanoa Dialogue. We have taken a Pacific concept of grassroots storytelling, consensus building and decision making to the world. And it is a matter of intense pride, not only for Fijians, but all Pacific peoples, that at COP23 the world embraced the talanoa concept as a way of advancing the dialogue we need to have.

For the first time, we have brought everyone into this discussion. Not just the Parties, but also non-Party stakeholders, including regions and cities, civil society, the private sector, the scientific community and ordinary men and women around the world.  If you accept the principle that all human beings have a right to participate in the climate process, the Talanoa Dialogue is giving everyone a genuine voice for the first time. So talanoa goes to the core of what brings us together this evening, because it promotes the human right to participation.

Let me be clear about what talanoa is and what we believe it can achieve. It is not just about telling your story, but listening to the stories of others. Because no one has all the answers. This is a journey we are embarking on to learn from each other. And we believe this process of learning can inspire action. As a global community, we are seeking fresh ideas and fresh inspiration to help all countries achieve more ambition in our nationally determined contributions. So far from it just being a “talk fest,” talanoa is about inspiring action.

We expect outcomes. We expect that the lessons learned during this process will lead to increased ambition in NDCs. Because there is no question that the current NDCs are inadequate. Far from achieving the most ambitious target of the Paris Agreement, which is to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above that of the pre-industrial age, the NDCs currently on the table will lead to warming of at least 3 degrees by the end of the century. This would be a catastrophe for all humankind.

The need for more ambition and more action is undeniable. We must have more ambition. And Fiji is convinced that the Talanoa Dialogue is a powerful tool for highlighting both the urgency of action, as well as the opportunities that will flow from this action.

So, friends, we look forward to hearing from our panelists and I wish you all an enjoyable and productive discussion.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.