Nov. 20, 2017

Native approach to personal, political interaction

During the annual UN climate conference held in the German city of Bonn at the weekend there were funding announcements including by Germany and Italy of over $13 million taking the total to $93.3 million in contributions world-wide. The Government of Norway, multinational company Unilever, and other partners also announced a $400 million fund to support more efficient agriculture, smallholder farmers and sustainable forest management. This is a historic political breakthrough in respect to agriculture that may lead to a faster and more coordinated response by nations to address a sector that is the second biggest emitter of CO2 after energy. The Bonn-Fiji Commitment was made, a commitment to action adopted by over 300 local and regional leaders to deliver the Paris Agreement at all levels, supported with 20 initiatives including those focusing on Africa, islands, post-industrial cities and climate reporting standards.

But Bonn 2017 did more than that. It underlined that support for the Paris agreement is strong and that the journey upon which the world has embarked is an unstoppable movement supported by all sectors of society, across all parts of the globe. Backed by a wide range of positive announcements from governments, cities, states, regions, companies and civil society, delegates from over 190 countries agreed to a 12-month engagement focusing on: 'Where are we? Where do we want to go? And how do we get there?' These negotiations will be continued under the framework of the Talanoa Dialogue.

The 'Talanoa Dialogue', inspired by the Pacific concept of constructive discussion, debate and storytelling, will set the stage in Poland in 2018 for the revising upward of national climate action plans needed to put the world on track to meet pre-2020 ambition and the long-term goals of the two-year-old Paris Agreement. 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, build empathy and to make wise decisions, which are for the collective good. The process of Talanoa involves the sharing of ideas, skills and experience through storytelling. During the process, Parties build trust and advance knowledge through empathy and understanding. Blaming others and making critical observations are inconsistent with the building of mutual trust and respect, and therefore inconsistent with the concept of Talanoa. Talanoa fosters stability and inclusiveness in relation to dialogue, by creating a safe space which embraces mutual respect for a platform for decision making for a greater good.

Executive Secretary of the UN Climate Change secretariat, Patricia Espinosa, which hosted the conference with support from the Government of Germany, said: "The conference has, with the adoption of the Talanoa Dialogue, delivered a launch-pad that can take us to that next stage of higher ambition. It has also advanced the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement so that by 2018 it can truly support sustained international cooperation and national efforts to realize a more secure, prosperous and better world for all.

The Paris Agreement's central goal is keep the global average temperature rise below 2 Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5. The lower limit is deemed crucial for survival by many small islands and vulnerable countries.