COP23’s Fijian First

For the first time in the history of the COP process, a Presidential dialogue was held between parties and non-parties (Governments and non-state actors), facilitated in the Bula Zone early
09 Nov 2017 13:57
COP23’s Fijian First
From left: Climate Ambassador Deo Saran, Prime Minister and COP23 President Voreqe Bainimarama and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. Photo: DEPTFO News

For the first time in the history of the COP process, a Presidential dialogue was held between parties and non-parties (Governments and non-state actors), facilitated in the Bula Zone early Wednesday.

While opening the dialogue, COP23 president Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the talanoa was not a side event but a main event in COP23.

Never before has such an open dialogue between world leaders and civil societies, and the private sector been held in the conference of Parties.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa also acknowledged this milestone step taken under Fiji’s leadership.

“This is the first open dialogue between parties and non-parties in the history of the COP process. It’s not a side event,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“It has been mandated by the Parties and is designed to bring state actors and non- state actors together in the Bula Zone,” he said.

“I’m delighted as COP23 president that we have been able to connect in this manner. Because it goes to the heart of the Grand Coalition concept that Fiji has been promoting all year.

“Of course, we understand that the formal negotiations are governed by the idea of a party driven process. But we also understand that the rich variety of non-state actors represented in this room have a great deal to contribute to that process. In fact, without the non-state actors, we will fall short of the objectives set by the Parties.

“It is critical that we enhance the engagement between the various elements of the Grand Coalition – whether it is in the development of the next Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement, or improving the procedures here at the COP to take in the contributions of non-state actors.

“When we learn more about what is actually being delivered at the local level, we may find that our NDCs can be enhanced relatively easily. Because so much is already happening there that has not yet been accounted for.

“Today, we will not be negotiating. We will be talking to each other.

“And we will be listening. This is the perfect setting for adopting the Talanoa Spirit that is so much a part of what Fiji brings to the Presidency.

“Together, we should learn how to engage all levels of Government, civil society, the private sector and billions of ordinary citizens in the formation of the national plans for climate action.

“There will be good experiences to share and frankly, it’s the only way forward. But we must also be honest about what is not working. Because the Talanoa Spirit isn’t just about being nice to everyone – although respect is essential; it is about contributing to a solution that requires a degree of straight talking. And whoever you represent today, I encourage you to embrace that spirit – honest, constructive dialogue for the common good.

“Your contributions will be noted and a report will be delivered to the Bureau that I chair. And I can assure you that your views will be taken into account.

“I will now leave you in the hands of experienced facilitators and wish you well in your discussions”.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola


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