Annex to the Opening: Remember the Talanoa Dialogue

5 September 2018

Four months have already passed since our last meeting, and ECO is glad to see you back in Bangkok. Something we did not hear in the Opening, which is a crucial point, there’s only three months until COP24. That is where the Talanoa Dialogue must end with a strong outcome calling on countries to step-up ambition of NDCs and support by 2020.

If the Paris Agreement is an aircraft, the rulebook is the engine – it requires a lot of technical knowledge and its reliability is crucial. ECO knows many technical experts came to Bangkok to prepare some of the necessary hard work on the engine and want to spend time in the machine room. But ambition and the Talanoa Dialogue are the wings of the aircraft. And only if they are big enough, will it fly. Ambition is part of the overall package that Parties need to deliver at the COP – surely this is something that Parties and COP Presidencies alike recognise.

The stories shared in Bonn lay the groundwork and can be explored further around the world, to learn from, and build on them when updating the national climate plans. ECO was glad to see many promising elements in the Summary Report such as the need to enhance ambition, references to the IPCC Special Report and the UNSG Summit as well as a call for increased cooperation.

But additional work and thinking is required to make the Talanoa Dialogue and COP24 a success story. ECO congratulates those Parties who have worked tirelessly between Bonn and Bangkok to make the stepping up of ambition more concrete.
ECO believes it will be helpful to focus on the third question, “how do we get there?” in Katowice and was glad to see the Co-Chair’s Conclusion of the Petersberg Dialogue also highlighted the need to focus on the third question of the Talanoa Dialogue.

“How do we get there?” might be the most challenging question of the three. ECO understands that. But that’s also why we believe negotiators should start exploring further opportunities how to answer this question.

For instance, ECO was surprised to hear only few stories at the May-Talanoa about the need to, and benefits of reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) such as methane and black carbon – and none in the summary report of the Talanoa Dialogue. According to UNEP, significant reductions of SLCP emissions could generate very rapid climate benefits €“ helping to reduce near-term climate change by as much as 0.5ºC before 2050. SLCPs are some of the most harmful air pollutants. SLCP reduction would have multiple other near-term health and development benefits. Significantly reducing methane and black carbon emissions could avoid annual crop losses of over 30 million tons annually, according to estimates by the UN Environment. Other critical aspects include to empower local communities and indigenous peoples to participate in decision-making that affects them; more inclusive partnerships of actors on the ground; and the deployment of adequate adaptation strategies, including those with mitigation co-benefits.

We look forward to continued consultations by the Presidencies on this issue.

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