Climate Change

COP24: Talanoa Dialogue ends with a weak declaration

A strong language on increasing ambition in COP24 outcome is crucial in implementing the objective of the Talanoa Dialogue and the Paris Agreement

By Vijeta Rattani
Published: Thursday 13 December 2018

The Talanoa Dialogue's closing meeting in Katowice, Poland. Credit: UNclimatechange/FlickrThe political phase of the Talanoa Dialogue ended at 24th Conference of Parties (COP 24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Katowice, Poland, with a “call to action” issued jointly by Fijian (COP23) and the Polish Presidency.

The Talanoa Dialogue was convened as part of the UN climate talks. Talanoa is the Fijian traditional way of holding conversations to tackle collective issues.

The objective of the dialogue is two-fold: to take stock of the progress of climate action since Paris Agreement adoption and to inform the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) with a view to raise climate ambition. The Talanoa platform was launched on January 10, 2018, and since then it received 473 inputs, 44 from parties and 429 from non‐party stakeholders.

Under the Talanoa process, stakeholders talked about the three agreed guiding questions on the climate crisis:

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

Throughout the year, parties and non‐party stakeholders cooperated in the organisation of regional and national events with more than 90 events having been associated with the Talanoa process to facilitate mutual exchanges.

The dialogue continued at climate intersessions at Bonn and Bangkok this year where stakeholders shared their success stories and learnings in response to the three questions of the dialogue.  The outcomes of the exchanges have been compiled by the Secretariat in the Synthesis Report also highlighting the inadequacy of current climate efforts.

The Intergovernmental Panelon Climate Ch ange’s (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C and the UN Emission Gap Report has also said the world is way short on restricting global warming to safer level of 1.5°C. The reports added that to stay within 1.5°C by the end of century, climate ambitions need to be increased five times.

To the third question of “how do we get there”, science has talked about technological options and scientific feasibility to stay within safe temperature levels. The Synthesis Report of Talanoa also focused on adherence to the convention and its principles, the delivery of action and support in the pre‐2020 period including the entry into force of the Doha Amendment, the finalisation of the Paris Agreement Work Programme and the pursuit of synergy between climate action with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030.

At COP 24, the Talanoa Dialogue entered the political phase to decide on the adoption of Talanoa Outcome and its reflection in the COP24 outcome. The two-page “Talanoa Call to Action language” calls upon parties to work closely with non-party stakeholders to enhance global ambition by 2020 and to develop long-term, low-emission development strategies, government and international agencies to step up financial, technical and technological cooperation and private sector leaders to be agents of change.

The declaration is more of a moral appeal and lacks any legal character. It would be relevant to see how the language in context of the outcome of Talanoa Dialogue is reflected in the final COP 24 outcome text. The outcome text, containing decision for parties to update and revise their climate target by 2020 and thereafter, would be crucial in implementing the ultimate objective of the Talanoa Dialogue and of the larger spirit of the Paris Agreement—to raise climate ambition.

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