“Where are we?

Where do we want to go?

How do we get there?”

Those three lines had been my much uttered mantra at COP23.

There were extensives talk about the Talanoa Dialogue – a term that I was first being introduced to at the Climate Action Network (CAN) Pre-COP Session on the 5th November 2017. Although the term was newly coined in light of the Fijian Presidency, the concept was not all that new.

From the COP decision 1/CP.21, paragraph 20, it was mentioned 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”. Basically the Talanoa Dialogue is the much discussed Facilitative Dialogue. The informal note on the 1st November 2017 evidently stated that the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue would hereinafter referred to as the Talanoa Dialogue – a dialogue that incorporated the spirit of the Pacific Tradition of the Talanoa, which essentially means the traditional approach used in Fiji and the Pacific to engage in an inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue.

The big question is – how do we follow the discussion?

Guidance by CAN suggested two things:

  1. Talanoa Dialogue does not have an agenda item, thus discussion is done via consultation
  2. Through tracking the negotiations on Global Stocktake, APA Agenda Item 6

The preparatory phase has been clearly outlined in the informal note, setting a foundation for the political phase.

Although the structure has been clearly outlined, CSOs expressed that there is an absence of vision and dissatisfaction in the process. It was pointed out that the informal note does not mention the revision of NDCs. It was also a concern that the Fijians are consulting with every bilateral and blocks on the design of the Talanoa Dialogue, however they are not having an open discussion nor a  line by line negotiation. Even more so, CSOs have not seen any negotiating process for recognition of the dialogue.

Meanwhile on the negotiating end, the discussion revolves around the building blocks of the global stocktake, with equity being the centre of discussion. Among the prominent discussion that was being brought up was on how the global stocktake could possibly enhance the NDC, although it was not mentioned that the outcome of the global stocktake would affect NDC, nor GST being an instrument that would require NDC to ramp up ambitions. The technicalities regarding global stocktake was further discussed in APA Informals Agenda Item 6.

There is an apparent gap in discussions in regards with the Talanoa Dialogue, as it is a topic of utmost importance to the CSOs, however not heavily discussed by the negotiators. Regardless of how wide the divide is, the CSOs are adamant in capturing the consultations as COP decision. This would definitely carry more weight in moving forward past the preparatory phase, and into the political phase.

The political phase is planned to take place at COP24 in Poland, with the participation of Ministers. It will be implemented in the form of parallel roundtables, and the moderators will provide the Presidencies a summary of discussion from every roundtables. This is carried out in hopes to put together summary of key messages from the discussion, to put together in reports and summaries.

Even though we have frequently heard and ingrained in our minds the three questions mantra, it is  definitely not the end of it. The May 2018 Intersessionals will further explore the three topics with input from the IPCC 1.5C Special Report, policy inputs from Parties, stakeholders and expert institutions, as well as the guidance from the Presidencies.

Till then,

“Where are we?

Where do we want to go?

How do we get there?”


Written by Jasmin

Edited by Varun