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 2018: Year Of The Talanoa Dialogue 

Date of Publish - Thursday, 25th January 2018

The 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at Bonn last year concluded with a road-map for 'The Talanoa Dialogue (2018 Facilitative dialogue)’ a year-long process to facilitate negotiations and assess progress on climate actions. After a productive Open Dialogue, a two-part ‘Talanoa Dialogue’ was agreed on, with the mandated Political Phase to take place at the COP24 at Poland in December 2018. It will be preceded by a year-round open, global Preparatory Phase, starting on 1st January 2018, where people at all levels across societies will be invited to discuss their vision for a smart climate future and provide inputs to the official negotiations.

The emergence of ‘The Talanoa Dialogue’ follows the rising tide of discussion about the role of non-Party stakeholders in the intergovernmental process during COP23. In spite of the official United States pullout, the America’s Pledge coalition, representing 20 states, 110 cities, and more than 1,000 corporations now commits “the world’s third largest economy” to fulfilling the Paris Agreement commitments.

According to the UNFCCC, "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.”

The word ‘Talanoa’ refers to an inclusive process of dialogue where all participants, regardless of power or influence, are peers and the COP23 Presidency requested that the Facilitative Dialogue 2018 honor the spirit of Talanoa, so that the best ideas can come together to galvanize a global climate action agenda ambitious enough to protect vulnerable countries from catastrophic climate change. It is an unprecedented opportunity that gives a voice to the common people in framing policies for the future of the planet.

The Fijian people use the ‘Talanoa Dialogue’ in their common dialogue as well as significant negotiations and the UNFCCC has embraced this open-minded approach to give voice to citizens, communities, and vulnerable groups. It provides an opportunity to integrate non-party stakeholders into the COP24 for constructive, facilitative and solutions oriented dialogue structured around three general topics: Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there? How history will remember the ‘Year of The Talanoa Dialogue’ will depend on the outcomes that will emerge at Poland in December 2018.

Author :
Rituraj Phukan


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