Submitted 21 May 2016, at request of the Secretariat, for inclusion in the Facilitator’s Report on the Informal Consultations on Article 6 of the Convention
Joseph Robertson, Global Strategy Director at Citizens’ Climate Lobby, speaking for IAAI and the Citizens’ Climate Engagement Network:
We would like to thank participating Parties and the Secretariat for supporting full implementation of all aspects of Article 6, including engagement of lay citizens in policy process.
We are working to build an always-active worldwide Citizens’ Climate Engagement Network, with coordinated local leadership from NGOs, volunteers and civic leaders.
We see four key concepts and actionable priorities as central to success of UNFCCC Article 6, Paris Agreement Article 12, the universalizing of serious, ongoing ACE engagement, and to the success of a timely global transition:
1) Citizen participation in national, regional, and global processes
- As the experience of the Aarhus Convention, and of the Post-2015/SDG consultations, show: the bias that wider, or even universal participation is an impediment to rapid progress on ambitious intergovernmental work is unfounded.
- Wherever there is open, routine, well-designed, and locally led citizen participation in policy design, there is likely to be: a lower-cost political pathway to action, with better, more relevant design, and greater resilience for policy efficacy over time.
2) ACE platform (similar or linked to NAZCA) for active collaboration and mutual empowerment among non-party actors engaging citizens
- so best practices, adaptive strategies, and replicable solutions are immediately available…
- for the benefit of those facing challenges or needing better ways to engage people locally, nationally or regionally…
- to better achieve an action-oriented user-friendly curation of relevant work of many networks and processes.
3) Universal stakeholder status, as under the Aarhus Convention
- All people are climate stakeholders.
- The climate system is a physical manifestation of our ethical entanglement with all other people and life-support systems on Earth.
- We cannot afford to continue commercial, national and economic strategies that privilege and reward externalization of harm and cost.
- All people are affected; all people have a role to play.
- Capacity-building assumes education is actionable, and engaged citizens are immediately relevant to both policy design and implementation.
- We should not require evidence of qualification for public participation.
- We should instead aim to honor the principle that all people have value — as this is essentially the moral and legal underpinning of the UNFCCC process, and so success is not ultimately achievable if we do not actively honor this principle.
- Stakeholders’ sense of “ownership” of the policy process was a consistent subject of the 4th ACE Dialogues on 18 and 19 May 2016.
4) Principle of mutual education (governments to citizens, and citizens to governments)
- Full implementation of Article 6 is not only about education and information distribution, but also about active participation of citizens.
- We achieve more progress on building local technical, policy design, and engagement capacity, by involving citizens in direct relationships with officials.
- We should move toward the standard that “education” and “empowerment” imply an ongoing two-way exchange.
Ultimately, we should be moving toward an open engagement standard for intergovernmental negotiations, where the process is party-driven but where non-party actors can serve as active collaborators in sharing of best practices, coordinating of ambitious policy planning, coordination of outreach, engagement and integration of citizens and stakeholders into the process.
A shorthand way of saying this would be:
Governments, intergovernmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and businesses can work as equals in the abstract realm of policy design and solutions implementation.
Thank you again for your support for full, universal, local and global implementation of Article 6 of the UNFCCC.
Our brief for partners in the ACE Dialogues is online here: https://engage4climate.org/civics