What is the Talanoa Dialogue?

By Ayuska Motha and Stacey Kimmig

Today at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Bonn, the 2018 facilitative dialogue or “Talanoa dialogue” was officially opened. As part of the Paris Agreement signed in 2015, those countries that signed (or parties to the agreement) agreed that in 2018 they would “take stock of the collective progress” they were making towards their long term goal of keeping global warming under 2° C (and better yet, under  1.5 °C). Information gained from this dialogue will feed into the preparation of each parties shorter- and longer-term plans to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

At the last major climate negotiations in November (COP23), Fiji took over the 1 year  Presidency, and renamed the facilitative dialogue the Talanoa Dialogue, reflecting the Pacific spirit of storytelling. The Talanoa Dialogue focuses on three questions:

1) Where  are we?

2) Where do we want to go?

3) How do we get there?  

The dialogue is aimed at  being inclusive, participatory and without blame. It is open for countries, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), civil society, research institutions, local government, private industry, etc to contribute their ideas and “stories” to answer these questions while avoiding any finger-pointing based on historical emissions and envisioned responsibilities.

This Sunday there will be a full day session where seven groups of participants will tell their stories with the hope of increasing ambition. As things stand, based on parties’ future plans or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), global warming would reach roughly 3° C - 3.2° C, far above the limits set out by the Paris Agreement. That means that all parties will need to set more ambitious goals in order to limit warming to the less than a 1.5°C required. The NDCs are to be assessed and revised every five years.

Next week, in week two of the conference, there will be a closing meeting for the Talanoa Dialogue to report back on the information and ideas gathered. The entire Talanoa Dialogue will be taken to the next level during the second half of 2018. The political Talanoa Dialogue will culminate in the COP24 meeting in Katowice, Poland in December, where the rules for implementation of the Paris Agreement should be completed and agreed upon.

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