May Intersessionals 2018

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May Session Bonn

The Talanoa Dialogue at the May Sessions (18 May 2018)

Brief History of TD

The Talanoa Dialogue was launched at COP 23. The approach to the Dialogue described in 1/CP.23, annex II, states that the process

– Should be constructive, facilitative and solutions oriented and should not lead to discussions of a confrontational nature in which individual Parties or group of Parties are singled out

– Will be structured around 3 general topics

  • o Where are we?
  • o Where do we want to go ?
  • o How do we get there ?

– Will be conducted in a manner that promotes, enhanced ambition and will consider as one of its elements, the efforts of Parties, on action and support, as appropriate, in the pre-2020 period

– Will fulfil its mandate in a comprehensive and non-restrictive manner

– Will consist of a preparatory and a political phase

Objective of TD

Build a strong evidence based foundation for the political phase at COP 24. Parties and non-Party stakeholders are engaged in the Talanoa process through regional and national meetings.

Overview of TD at May sessions

Parties joined by non-Party stakeholders gathered in an informal, inclusive and positive setting to share stories from their own perspective in response to the 3 questions of the Dialogue at the UNFCCC process.

The Talanoa sessions saw participants engaging in constructive dialogue in an atmosphere of openness and mutual respect. The sessions reaffirmed the fundamental principle that everyone has something meaningful to contribute to addressing climate change. Most important was the common recognition of the value of working together and learning from the experience of others.

The creation of a space for dialogue that is distinct from the negotiations is an important step forward. The Talanoa Dialogue can serve as a valuable new tool to facilitate and accelerate collective climate action that is necessary to effectively address climate change.

The inclusion and participation of youth in the Dialogue opens up the process to draw from a wider range of experience, resulting in more diverse voices sharing inspiring and innovative ideas and solutions.

The COP 23 Presidency and the incoming COP 24 Presidency prepared a set of documents and guidance to assist participants in engaging in the Talanoa sessions. These were:

– An outline of the Talanoa Dialogue process

-A suggested approach to organizing the Talanoa Dialogue in the first half of 2018;

-Guidance on understanding the questions of the Talanoa Dialogue;

-Additional information on the Talanoa Dialogue activities to be held during the May sessions;

-An overview of inputs to the Talanoa Dialogue, providing a mapping of inputs submitted by different stakeholders and a high-level overview of their content.

In-depth consideration of the three questions of the Talanoa Dialogue took place on Sunday, 6 May 2018. Seven groups, called Talanoa sessions, were set up and met in parallel three times during the day to address each of the questions of the Talanoa Dialogue.


The in-depth discussions were conducted in the Pacific tradition of Talanoa, aimed at building empathy and trust. In preparation for the discussions, participants were invited to prepare stories relevant to the three questions of the Dialogue in order to provide concrete examples of issues that could be brought to the attention of ministers in the political phase, including examples of what has worked, what has not worked, best practices and challenges encountered.

Each Talanoa was moderated by a Fijian facilitator with experience and knowledge of the Talanoa tradition. Each Fijian facilitator was assisted by a rapporteur and secretariat staff member to help capture the discussions. Each Talanoa session started with a round of storytelling that was followed by a short discussion. At the end of each session, the rapporteur provided an overview of the key messages shared.


A total of 305 participants (207 Party and 98 non-Party representatives) took part in the Talanoa discussions, with 162 Parties represented.

Overview of the issues discussed

Participants of the Talanoa sessions shared their stories or gave statements relevant to the three questions of the Dialogue.

Where are we?

In general, the stories told in the context of this question described vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change; referred to the current status of GHG emissions and their concentration; provided examples of action taken to address climate change by different actors; and described challenges experienced in doing so. These stories provide useful information to take stock of current efforts of all Parties, including in relation to the pre-2020 period and the long-term objective of the Paris Agreement.

Several participants described real on-the-ground experiences that demonstrated that the effects of climate change are continuing, and are intensifying, around the world, affecting in particular the most vulnerable communities. They referred to extreme weather events they personally experienced or that were experienced by communities they know. Examples included rising sea [R levels, which are already affecting the world’s coastlines and communities, especially in small islands States, and severe weather events such as cyclones , typhoons, floods, heat waves and droughts that lead to loss of lives and livelihoods, damaged infrastructure, affected ecosystems, social unrest and other consequences.

Some stories took a global perspective and showed that recent data from the World Meteorological Organization indicate that GHG concentrations in the atmosphere have increased to 410 ppm, noting that a threshold of 450 ppm will result in a 2 °C temperature change[R9] . Past and current GHG emission trends and the resulting GHG concentrations in the atmosphere and resulting impacts find their roots in the process of industrialization.

Many stories noted that, globally, we are not on track to keeping temperature rise well below 2 °C and are far from limiting it to below 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, as the aggregate effect of NDCs is not consistent with trajectories towards these goals. In this context, some of the stories highlighted the importance of delivering on pre-2020 action as a means to build trust and make progress in the international response to climate change.

Many stories reported that climate action is under way. Governments and non-government actors are increasingly taking action to lower emissions and increase resilience. Many governments have formulated climate policies, while others have taken steps to integrate climate considerations into development planning where mitigation and adaptation goals could go hand in hand. Businesses have also joined in, some by setting science-based targets.

Some of the stories that presented concrete actions for reducing emissions and/or increasing resilience revealed best practices, valuable experience and lessons learned at all levels and in all countries. All have the potential to be replicated by actors in similar circumstances and to contribute to increasing climate action.

Sectors mentioned in some of the stories included transport, as current trends show transport emissions continuing to rapidly increase and uptake on the use of electric cars remaining slow; energy, as current experience shows that it is possible to decouple economic growth from GHG emissions so countries should step up efforts to clean their energy matrices; and land, where climate, social and economic goals should be addressed holistically.

Concrete examples illustrated the engagement of many non-Party groups and highlighted how they are changing attitudes and motivating governments to move forward. They also showed the importance of civil society engagement for mobilizing climate action. Increased awareness and engagement of actors, including policymakers across national and global levels, can further encourage the development of long-term and self-sustaining partnerships.

Finally, there were stories referring to the challenges faced around the world that need to be addressed in order to tap into additional potential to reduce emissions and enhance resilience. Many of these challenges relate to national circumstances and result from lack of capacity and knowledge, competing priorities (e.g. poverty alleviation, food security or employment), and lack of access to finance, capital and technology, among others.

Where do we want to go?

In general, the stories shared in the context of this question described a vision for the future and an understanding of the goals of the Paris Agreement.

This vision includes the idea of a society in which all actors, including businesses, youth, gender groups and indigenous peoples, are committed to climate action and pursue an inclusive path of development and a society where people thrive and all countries and actors care and show solidarity.

Many participants described a holistic approach to climate action that is based on science; encompasses mitigation, adaptation, technology, finance and capacity-building; and respects the principles of the Convention.

Other stories focused on 2030, picturing a time in which global emissions are rapidly being reduced with transformational changes taking place in all sectors, such as:

– Widespread use of renewable energy;

– Energy efficiency fully tapped;

– Sustainable transport being the norm;

– Restored ecosystems that are sustainably managed;

– Resilient and healthy food systems.

Such a future could be made possible through strong leadership, education, support and enhanced cooperation among all actors including youth, indigenous peoples and women.

All of the stories shared a vision of a future in which the goals of the Paris Agreement have been achieved and where countries and actors have forged close relationships.

How do we get there?

Stories shared in the context of this question provided information on what would be required to achieve the visions described in the question ‘where do we want to go’. They included broad recommendations or suggested concrete actions by different actors, which, if acted upon, could take the world to a sustainable and prosperous future.

Some stories stressed the importance of climate action being a priority for Heads of State, governments and non-Party organizations. Political support will be crucial in order to mobilize all actors to accelerate efforts to combat climate change.

Many stories highlighted the importance of honouring the UNFCCC and its instruments, adhering to its principles and complying with all its requirements. A few referred to the provisions for action and support as well as the transparency regime, while others noted the need for all actors to engage with ambition and determination.

Stories stressed that cooperation will be vital as no individual or country is able to address climate change alone. As such, meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement is a global endeavour to be delivered through enhanced or new partnerships between governments and non-governmental actors and through the creation of spaces for supporting each other and sharing knowledge and good practices. Neighbouring countries, for example, could work together on specific initiatives and tap sectoral opportunities for large-scale investments.

The stories illustrated that governments need to set up solid regulatory frameworks that provide clear and stable signals for private actors with a view to strengthening action on mitigation and adaptation . They should continue to better coordinate and mainstream climate action in development planning. Policymaking and the use of economic and other tools such as green bonds and pricing mechanisms could become robust catalysts of climate action in the future. Science should also be at their disposal to guide them in selecting the best course of action. In doing so, they should be conscious of the need to ensure a just transition of the workforce by means of, among others, education schemes that provide new skills tailored to what is required for low-emission and climate-resilient development.

Many stories referred to the importance of finance for, and investment in, climate action. They illustrated the importance of public finance and the need to mobilize private capital. Countries could pursue the mainstreaming of climate action into national budgets; increase financial cooperation; apply and replicate financial mechanisms that have been successful in de-risking investment in other countries; and tap finance available as well as the interest of the private sector in investing in climate technologies. The finance sector will provide the impetus for scaling up climate action.

At the same time, stories highlighted the important role that innovative and transformative technologies must play in achieving low emissions and climate-resilient development. They emphasized the importance of technology innovation and cooperation as well as research and development of new technologies.

Civil society engagement, education and public awareness will be key to actions happening. Governments should encourage citizens to take ownership of climate change action, however, it will be essential to use climate logic to match actions to the needs of local people. The stories indicated that parliamentarians, trade unions, scientists and other actors have significant contributions to make, and that indigenous peoples and their knowledge should not be forgotten.