Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The UN appears to be worried they are becoming detached from the real world, so they have created a climate “safe space” for enthusiasts to contribute their ideas for encouraging climate action.
UN makes open call for ideas on fighting climate change
Published on 30/01/2018, 4:52pm
A new portal poses three pressing climate questions, with governments to take part in open talks with those who present answers in May
By Megan Darby
Researchers, campaigners, business leaders and members of the public have an unprecedented chance to influence UN climate talks in 2018.
In a radical opening up of the process, groups and individuals will present their ideas on climate action directly to government representatives during a meeting in Bonn this May.
The plans are led by Fiji, which holds the rotating presidency of the talks. They draw on Pacific “talanoa” storytelling traditions in a bid to make the process more inclusive.
In an exclusive interview, Fiji’s chief climate diplomat Nazhat Shameem Khan told Climate Home News that one of the major criticisms of the UN process was the lack of connection between those taking action and the UN diplomats.
“Dialogue is the way to start to bridge that gap, both philosophically and substantively,” said Shameem Khan.
Fiji’s concept for the May meeting is unusual in the extent to which it brings the two worlds together. There are to be three working groups to address the questions:
- Where are we?
- Where do we want to go?
- How do we get there?
At UN climate talks in Bonn in November, one negotiator told Climate Home News: “In here, we are becoming detached from the real world.”
The Talanoa mandate on the UN portal website is bureaucratic gibberish;
The Conference of the Parties, by its decision 1/CP.21, paragraph 20, decided to convene a facilitative dialogue among Parties in 2018 to take stock of the collective efforts of Parties in relation to progress towards the long-term goal referred to in Article 4, paragraph 1, of the Agreement and to inform the preparation of nationally determined contributions pursuant to Article 4, paragraph 8, of the Agreement. At COP23, the Talanoa Dialogue was launched, to start in January 2018.
In accordance with decision 1/CP.23, paragraph 16, the efforts of Parties in relation to action and support in the pre-2020 period will also be considered as an element of the Talanoa Dialogue. Further information on the pre-2020 implementation and ambition are available here.
Read more: https://talanoadialogue.com/mandate
The UNFCCC site makes the purpose of Talanoa a little clearer;
“Talanoa is a traditional word used in Fiji and across the Pacific to reflect a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. The purpose of Talanoa is to share stories, build empathy and to make wise decisions for the collective good. The process of Talanoa involves the sharing of ideas, skills and experience through storytelling.
During the process, participants build trust and advance knowledge through empathy and understanding. Blaming others and making critical observations are inconsistent with building mutual trust and respect, and therefore inconsistent with the Talanoa concept. Talanoa fosters stability and inclusiveness in dialogue, by creating a safe space that embraces mutual respect for a platform for decision making for a greater good.”
I suspect contributions like “climate action is a useless waste of money” would be rejected as it is a “critical observation”, whereas a heart rending story of how climate change killed your pet goldfish by triggering an algal bloom in your homeopathic fish tank might get star billing at the Bonn conference in May, maybe even free tickets to attend the conference.