Talanoa Dialogue at COP23

Tagalano Roa United Nations Climate change conference 2017 Bonn GermanyLast Year at COP22 in Marrakech, much of the media conversation was distracted by the US election results, and the instability of what would become of the Paris Agreement without the US’s commitment. Would it fall the way of the Kyoto Protocol? Would the economics work in its favor, as they did in the case of the Montreal Protocol? Countries weren’t sure, but they knew that inaction was too risky. They signed the Marrakech Action Protocol, indicating that they were all “Still In” regardless of what other countries decided. The decision was a powerful statement of unity for the environmental community worldwide, and a fierce posture against the new administration’s foreign policy stance. This effort was paired with a decision to include more non-state actors. Where states fail to act or where they are limited in their reach, their capacities can be expanded by including civil society in the implementation, tracking and policy making. This decision let to the organization of a Facilitative Dialogue in 2018.

The facilitative dialogue was called to address three questions:

              Where Are We?                            Where do we need to be?                             How do we get there?

These three questions were to be answered through a conversation between the stakeholders and the 196 nations that are part of the Paris Agreement.

COP23 Frank Bainimarama hosts an open dialogue with stakeholders from all constituency groups present. Talanoa session.

Stakeholders have long been fighting for a voice in the decision making of international climate change agreements, and this dialogue was especially important to youth.  Within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), there are nine recognized constituency groups (a network of organizations that share a common purpose). They are: Business & Industry, Research & Investigation, Youth, Environmental, Local Government & Municipal Authorities, Indigenous Peoples, Farmers, Women & Gender, and Trade Unions. Each constituency has one or more policy position that they would like to see pushed through during the negotiations. Each of these constituency groups would now have a stronger voice through the Facilitative Dialogue.

 Fiji Prime Minister hosts the open dialogue
photo courtesy of IISD Reporting Services.

During Week One, Fiji Prime Minister and COP23 President, Frank Bainimarama and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa held an Open Dialogue between party actors and constituency groups. This was the first time for many constituency groups to have a seat at the table with equal footing and an equal voice in the conversation. Statements made by constituencies were given freely, not limited or timed as they typically are. The Fiji presidency compared the dialogue to a process called talanoa, a storytelling style used in the Pacific that emphasizes participation, inclusion and transparency, on a basis of trust and empathy.

Patricia Espinosa listens to constituency groups during talanoa session at COP23
photo courtesy of IISD Reporting Services.

Parties engaged as well, responding to concerns of different constituency groups. The UK mentioned locking business leaders in a room until they figured out how to transition to a green economy, while Mexico joked that their businesses went into the room willingly. Uganda talked about a national climate change forum they held with non-party stakeholders to engage youth and community organizations in climate change adaptation.

Youth asked for greater focus on climate empowerment, with financial and institutional support for their programs so that they can take action in their home countries. We also asked for climate empowerment, capacity building, and climate change education to be included in countries’ national climate action plans, especially for mitigation.

COP23 YOUNGO intervention talanoa dialogue
photo courtesy of IISD Reporting Services.

Moving into next year, there will be an online platform where we can contribute to the dialogue to try and answer some of these questions of where we’re at, where we’re going, and how to get there. The purpose of this dialogue is to create solutions, to drive innovation, and propose realistic means through which we limit global average temperature rise to 1.5⁰C.  Next year will be the big year to get these solutions together so that countries can start putting them in place worldwide before the 2023 Global Stocktake, when a count will be done of each country’s present and reduced emissions, carbon sinks, and mitigation efforts.

Youth around the world are already acting on the ground to create synergy for emissions reductions. Plant-for-the-Planet, Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network, and CliMates are just a couple examples of organizations that bring thousands of youth together for reforestation, less invasive farming, and campaign building. For capacity-building, Youth Climate Lab, China Youth Climate Action Network and Care About Climate have created tools for youth worldwide to connect on online platforms to discuss the issues, solutions, and strategies for youth activists to be most effective in their work to address climate change locally, regionally or nationally. In terms of policy action, on an international level, we have working groups within YOUNGO that address many policy issues such as

Kava- a traditional Pacific drink

Adaptation, Women & Gender, Capacity-Building, Oceans, etc. These work to consolidate our policy positions into a specific request of policy-makers.

Over the next year, the UNFCCC will be continuing the Talanoa Dialogue at intersessionals in May and at COP24 in Poland. We look forward to drinking kava and having many more talanoa sessions! In the meantime, we’ll be continuing with our capacity building work year-round and working to make it as inclusive and transparent as possible. As Mr. Bainimarama said, “We are all in the same canoe“, we must work together to find & implement solutions.

By Sarah Voska

Sarah Voska is a delegate to the UN climate change conference, COP23, and the director of the Online Youth Exchange. She studies Sustainable Management at University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Use the #ClimateSign to join the fight against climate change. Contact us at careaboutclimate@gmail.com with any questions!

Nepal’s role in COP and Issues of Climate Finance

COP 23 and Nepal’s Agenda?

This year becomes very challenging, because of natural disaster around a world. More than 1200 people lost their life because of flood in Nepal, Bangladesh and India. United States of America faced a devastating hurricane and incidence of fire. Many of the part of world faced the recorded hit of heat waves and storms. All this cost to loss of billions of property. Some day before, World Metrological Organization release a report with a warning sign of global average concentration of Carbon dioxide reached 403.3 parts of millions (ppm) in 2016. This reports also says that this concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increase at record speed last year to hit a level not seen for more than three millions years.[1] With this all on the board, worlds leaders, academician, representatives from civil society, climate activists, media and youth are gathering at Bonn for UN Climate Change Conference.

What is COP 23?

This year, 23rd Meeting of Conference of Parties to UNFCCC will take place from 6 to 17 November at Bonn, Germany. The conference will be convened under the Presidency of Fiji. This meeting will focus on the development of guidance on how the Paris Agreement’s provisions will be implemented across a wide range of issues including transparency, adaptation, emission reductions, and provision of finance, capacity building and technology. There will also be the thirteenth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 13), second part of the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1.2). There will also be the forty seventh session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 47), forty seventh session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 47) and fourth part of the first session of the AD Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA 1.4). The COP, the CMP and the CMA are the supreme decision making bodies for the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement respectively[2]. This is a regular meeting of UNFCCC but will also be very important as this will be on of the very important steps for the effective implementation of Paris Agreement.

Being a party to the UNFCCC, Nepal has also participated in the COP meeting from the beginning. Nepal has participated with a strong voice raising the important agenda of Nepal. This year also, governmental delegation led by the Honorable Minister for Ministry of Population and Environment, Government of Nepal, representatives from Civil Society, Climate Activist, representatives from media house have already headed to Bonn to participate in meeting.

What are the main agenda of Nepal for COP 23?

Before moving to Bonn, Ministry of Population and Environment has prepared a Nepal’s Agenda paper with a series of consultation workshop in Nepal. Nepal has focused and call for the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, financial support to undertake the adaptation and mitigation actions in the country. Nepal has also raised the issues related to financing of adaption, financing of loss and damage and consideration of agriculture within the formal negotiations process. Nepal has focused in the harnessing of international cooperation and support in technology development for the implementation of NAPA priority projects. Nepal has also focused for the international effort for the access of small holder farmers to adjust their farmers systems and move toward low carbon efficient practices and to increase the access of farmers to weather and climate information services and financial schemes. Nepal has priorities adaptation finance and technology transfer as a key to Nepal and LDCs. Nepal has also put forwarded to discuss on the modalities for accounting financial resources and clear clarity on the financial instruments, difference between the ODA and the climate finance. Nepal will also raise the issues for the easy and simplified access of international funds, capacity building of Least Developed Countries like Nepal. Nepal will raise all this issues during the different meetings, side events.

Being one of the most vulnerable countries because of the negative impact of climate change and Least Developed Countries, Conference of Parties to UNFCCC is very much important for Nepal, to raise the Nepal’s Agenda on the global arena. So, Nepal delegation team has not to miss any chance to grab the opportunity which is foremost to achieve the Nepal’s goal.

Written By Pradeep

Pradeep is a climate activist from Nepal and currently he is working with Prakriti Resources Centre (PRC) as a Programme Officer. He is also a part of Online Youth Exchange Program run by Care About Climate and China Youth Climate Action Network.

 

We’re Still In?

Tagalano Roa United Nations Climate change conference 2017 Bonn GermanyOn June 1st, President Donald Trump announced that the US would be pulling out of the Paris Agreement. But next week, he’ll be sending the Rex Tillerson’s third-ranking state department official and undersecretary for political affairs, Tom Shannon, to lead the US delegation at a United Nations conference in Germany to work with world leaders on the details of the Paris Agreement’s implementation.

Shannon will be on his way next week to join UN delegates, and representatives from industry, non-profits, universities, Indigenous groups and local governments to hash out the rules for implementing the Paris Agreement. Written in 2015, it was signed by 196 countries and so far has been ratified by 169. The only county in the UN that has not signed the agreement is Syria.

It’s difficult to understand the US’s position on climate change. President Trump, during his campaign and while in office has called for our removal from the Paris Agreement. The United States cannot officially withdraw from the treaty until 2020, so the US delegation will be there to negotiate the rules for measuring & tracking emissions. Their delegation will be Huffington Post John Kerry UNFCCC Climate Change Conference Marrakechmuch smaller than last year’s 90 person delegation, led by John Kerry, and they will not host an official US pavilion, which traditionally has been a space to engage with civilians, share relevant NASA or EPA data, and host presentation on how US public and private sector are engaging to combat climate change.  The delegation will mostly be there to protect US interests by ensuring that other countries are being transparent in their reporting methods and actually meeting their commitments.

Many environmental leaders are stepping up to fill the void of a smaller US presence in the conference. We’re Still In is a collaboration of state governors, mayors, CEOs, university presidents and tribal leaders representing about 120 million people (more than a third of the US population) who are committing their governors, mayors, businesses investors and universities global leaders reducing carbon footpringstates, cities, businesses, schools and nations to the Paris Agreement.  They are hosting an unofficial US pavilion, and sponsoring educational seminars and workshops to show the world that at the local level, US citizens are doing something to combat climate change.

Because the Constitution reserves the power of signing international treaties for the Federal government, this commitment is unofficial, and symbolic. But leaders of these groups firmly believe that action on climate change is absolutely necessary from a public health, economic and social justice standpoint. If we don’t act now to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we’ll face rising sea levels, more ferocious extreme weather events- among the likes of Maria and Irma, droughts and heat waves that destroy cropland- and increased migration & conflict around the world.

Caroad2paris USA climate change UNFCCC COP23

Former Mayer Michael Bloomberg (NYC), Gov. Jerry Brown (CA) and other prominent leaders from local governments will be leading the charge at this year’s conference. Both have mobilized private funds to support projects to reduce emissions worldwide. The Paris Agreement calls for $100 billion USD to be raised each year for 5 years, in order to help developing countries pay for the costs of sustainable development investments and rebuild after climate change related flooding or other disasters. Their presence at the conference will be part of a larger conversation going on there, a conversation to better engage those who don’t work in the government: to hear their concerns and use them as a resource to better enforce the Paris Agreement. Through this Facilitative Dialogue, countries will be able discuss what progress has been made since Paris, and ramp up efforts to meet their commitments to the Paris Agreement.

What makes the Paris Agreement unique from past UN climate change treaties is that each country is only hold to what they commit to contributing. So the US isn’t being told they have to pay anyone, our negotiators determined what would be a realistic amount that would fit our budget. The US has also committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 28% below 2005 levels. This sense of personal responsibility is part of what has inspired cities across the nation to prioritize renewable energy, promote LEED certification or green roofs, and take an audit of their energy consumption and emissions to see where they can become more efficient. Companies are seeing the returns of engaging in corporate social responsibility, not to mention the economic benefits of corporate sustainability policies. It has become clear to open minded leaders in government and industry that movement towards sustainability is not just economically and socially viable, but absolutely necessary for the United States. So let’s stand together and let the rest of the world know that We’re Still In.

By Sarah Voska

 

Sarah Voska is a delegate to the UN climate change conference, COP23, representing Care About Climate. Care About Climate is a 501-C non-profit that works in climate change education and communication. She studies Sustainable Management at University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Use the #ClimateSign to join the fight against climate change. Contact us at careaboutclimate@gmail.com with any questions!

The Green Climate Fund Needs to Happen -and a Funding Solution is Offered

The Green Climate Fund is a fund that helps support mitigation and adaptation projects in developing countries. In 2010 countries pledged to provide $100 billion dollars by 2020. Starting today the Green Climate Fund board will start allocating funding to projects around the world according to Reuters UK. This fund is critical to getting resources on the ground to act on climate, but will all the resources be there? Don Bayles tells us more. 

By Don Bayles 
Among the more disturbing aspects of climate change is the amount of havoc done upon the most vulnerable by the most developed. Those in Yemen are now contemplating the reality of eight years’ worth of rain in one monstrous storm. These people have done little, virtually nothing, to contribute to the extraordinary danger they’re facing (as this blog is being written).
The carbon emissions of Yemen are minimal. The United States, however, has contributed approximately 27% of the human generated greenhouse gas inventory within the atmosphere. Per person, no country stands on par with the US. But climate researchers tell us that those within Sub-Sahara Africa and Small Island Land Developing States (SIDS) stand to suffer hugely as climate change impacts grow. For example, those in the Philippines have contributed less than 1 per cent of the carbon in the atmosphere. Yet they will suffer disproportionately as more super typhoons hit their coasts and flood their homes. With this disparity in mind, representatives of the nations at COP 20 in Lima last year concluded that a “green fund” was needed. The fund would be collected among developing nations and distributed among the nations which have the most to lose from climate change. One hundred billion dollars has been identified as a goal. But will the fund actually be collected? And if so when? And who will be funding it? Will there be money for those in need?

President Obama seeks to participate fully in Paris. But given the restraints imposed by a contrary Congress, there are good reasons to doubt whether the United States will be able to set an example for the world by paying its fair share to the fund. And while the President may be able to find a small measure of funding from contingency sources, it is unlikely that a substantial American payment will be available in the absence of congressional approval. And if the USA balks, other developed nations may follow. And what are vulnerable countries to do?

Solutions for meeting the green fund challenge have not been advanced in abundance. A French source recently suggested that without the Green Fund, there can be no agreement. It is expected that representatives from developed nations will bring their most innovative thinkers to the challenge. But there must be an answer and as of today, the substance of that answer remains unclear.

Let’s realize we are all in this together. Are there any available pools of funds? The instinctive answer is no. One suggestion is offered here: Most every developed nation has a defense budget. These financial pools are especially substantial among the Americans, Russians and Chinese. What if we developed nations all collectively agreed to reduce the amount of our defense expenditures by 10 per cent? And at the same time, we could offer the bulk of those savings to those already being hammered by climate change –but who contributed virtually nothing to the formation of the problem. A portion of the ten percent defense savings could also be dedicated to each nation’s establishment of a renewable energy infrastructure. With all respect, doesn’t this make sense?

 Untitled
Top five countries by military expenditure in 2014.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.[1]

 

The funding could form a viable green fund. (See chart above). No one will be disadvantaged as we are all agreeing to the same proportionate reduction. All will benefit as we mitigate impacts and perhaps also use a part of the ten percent (another 2 percent?) for adaptation investments in renewable energy infrastructure. The establishment of a real green fund would be prioritized, developing nations would gain assistance and infrastructure investment within the global economy would bring jobs and clean energy. With the U.S. working alongside its historical opponents, perhaps something bigger could emerge here. At a time when there has never been a more compelling justification for international cooperation, maybe this is a plan worth considering.

First Stop: Tucson, AZ

Hello! My name is Nat10434318_10152467474489169_9071055305704435390_nalie, and I am the Executive Director of Care About Climate. I have been working on environmental issues since I was 16 starting with a plastic bag reduction campaign in my hometown of Flagstaff, AZ. I got involved with the climate movement in 2012 when I attend my first United Nations Conference of the Parties in Doha, Qatar. I was intrigued by the complexity of the issue, I was inspired by the people that were dedicating their lives to fight it, and I witnessed the urgency and need to address the issue now, if not yesterday. Since then I have been dedicating my studies and my life to addressing this issue of climate change through education and advocacy as well as on the ground163251_476774687259_7289451_n projects.

This is Don.  He is Care About Climate’s videographer and photographer. He is also from Flagstaff, AZ and co-owns Ambient Lens LLC. Don has a lot of experience working on telling the story of indigenous and environmental issues through multimedia.

Together, we are traveling around the United States on our Road Trip to Paris to talk to communities about climate change, climate policy, and what we can do about it.

Why a road trip, and why now? Are you driving to France? These are all great questions that we get, and I can answer them. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is meeting this year in Paris, France for their 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21). At this meeting nations will come together to create a new climate agreement that all countries will be signing onto to address this huge problem of climate change. Many people do not know about this historical meeting and they do not know how they can help make a difference in the conversation. So it is our goal to help spread awareness and engage people around the United States around the COP.  We think one of the best ways to do that is to visit people in their community to talk about what they can do at home, locally, to have a global impact. Doing a road trip helps us visit dozens of places and connect with people on a personal level. So no, we are not driving to France, but we are road tripping until Paris.

IMG_2276Our first stop on the Road Trip to Paris was Tucson, AZ to visit the University of Arizona. This is my alma mater, and it is the school and community helped foster my passion for climate change, environmental justice, and taking action on the issues that matter most. The UA also has top of the line researchers and programs that are working to learn more about climate change while building resilient communities in the process.  In every way this was the perfect place to start.

We drove into Tucson last Thursday and talked with individuals from the Agnese N Haury Foundation, which is a foundation that focuses on climate justice issues. We learned about what groups that they are funding around the community are doing to combat climate change. One of the projects is a thriving compost program that is a partnership between the Tohono O’odham Nation, the City of Tucson, and the University of Arizona called Compost Cats. This was originally a student-run project that has changed the way the community looks at food waste and the connection to climate change, and it is expanding to decrease that food waste overall by taking the food that can still be eaten and redistributing it to the community. The foundation has also have been funding a fabulous school garden program that helps revolutionize underserved schools by providing them with gardens, composting bins, water harvesting systems, and curriculum that can be integrated into the children’s everyday learning experience.  Finally, we heard from students at the UA that are think12022621_1055934601096312_7101373551921056133_oing about climate issues through literature, and are writing fiction pieces that are inspired by the things that they see are happening all around them as a result of a changing climate.

In addition to meeting with the Haury Foundation, we were able to talk to a variety of community members about their efforts, which includes Power Through Paris workshops to talk about how to build momentum for climate action in Arizona, the city developing a climate resiliency plan, and local groups like Physicians for Social Responsibility working on adaptation toolkits for neighborhoods. After meeting with all these groups and learning about their initiatives it was exciting to see all the momentum that has been building up in a community I grew up in to seriously address the issue of climate change by mitigating it and adapting to it.

We gave our first Road Trip to Presentation on Monday at the UA’s Institute of the Environment. Students, staff, faculty members, and community members all came out to learn about the climate negotiations and how they could help. It was a great group that had a lot of knowledge collectively, which made the presentation very interactive an exciting.

It was great visiting Tucson and seeing it grow in many fun and exciting ways. On to the next adventure! Check us out at Arizona State University on Thursday: https://sustainability.asu.edu/events/.