Marhaba to our climate action talanoa!

10 May 2017

The 2020 pledges and the NDCs submitted in 2015 were a step forward for global climate action. But they still leave us with two unresolved problems: a huge emissions gap, and a huge gap in climate preparedness that is hitting vulnerable communities the hardest. Looking further into the future, with the Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030, Parties have recognized the enormous challenge the global community is facing: In the next three and half decades, we collectively have to improve the wellbeing of all people around the planet, while putting in place zero-carbon economies and societies that are more inclusive, and protect the vulnerable.

In Fijian culture, when problems cannot be resolved through traditional means, the community has an additional resort — they organize a “talanoa”, a relaxed gathering open to anyone. It is intended to be as inclusive as possible, so that new solutions can be forged. Likewise, ECO recalls that in Morocco, the word “marhaba”, meaning “welcome” and “come in”, reflects openness and willingness to discuss and take the next step together.

Recognizing the role of our High-Level Champions from Morocco and Fiji, ECO wants to say “marhaba” to all Parties and non-state and sub-national actors to our planetary talanoa: the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action. This partnership builds on the movement that started in New York during the Climate Summit in 2014, and on the mobilization of governments and non-state actors through the Lima-Paris Action Agenda in 2015, and then in 2016 with Global Climate Action. The basic idea is simple: Cities, businesses, sub-national governments and civil society organizations are already working on solutions. Highlighting these solutions and forging new coalitions can help bring appropriate solutions to every corner of the world. This does not relieve Parties of their duty to respect their commitments and increase their ambition — but it can make it easier by showing what is already happening and what could be possible.

The marhaba talanoa approach is alive in the Marrakech Partnership and reflected in the Draft Work Programme for 2017 and 2018 recently published by the High-level Climate Champions for Morrocco and Fiji.  It is organized around seven thematic areas: energy, transport, human settlements, industry, land use, water and oceans. A number of Initiatives have already formed; ECO would highlight the Adaptation of West African Coastal Areas initiative, the Food Security Climate Resilience Facility, the Science Based Targets for businesses, the Under 2 MOU for sub-national governments, and the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, to name but a few.

For a long time, ECO has pointed out the need for clear criteria to ensure that false solutions are not being promoted and only those initiatives that deserve it get recognition. We have also called for reporting requirements to ensure initiatives actually deliver instead of starting with a nice announcement speech before slowly disappearing into the dark. Thus, it was pleasing to see that with the Draft Work Programme, the Champions are suggesting steps in this direction. Some basic criteria (relevance towards advancing the goals of the Paris Agreement, scale, quantifiable targets to assess progress over time, transparency, impact-orientation and capacity building) are being suggested and initiatives are to report on their progress through the Yearbook of Climate Action and the NAZCA portal.

But let’s be clear on something: is the Marrakech Partnership truly a globally-representative talanoa, with the best talents from all over the world? Not yet. More efforts are needed to recognize the energy, innovation and sense of urgency that is driving solutions in the developing countries. The talanoa of the Marrakech Partnership needs to grow. We need all Parties working together with non-state and sub-national actors from across the world at the table, ready to find new solutions.

For one immediate source of inspiration; ECO thinks that you might want to take a peak at the Interconnection conference happening right here in Bonn this coming weekend, where the question of how we can mobilize, support and recognize the current role and existing potential of non-state actors in the South will be discussed.

Many solutions are already out there, and we need to leverage them if we are to deliver our shared goals of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. Marhaba to our planetary talanoa – the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action!

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