Make the Talanoa Dialogue Open Process Permanent

Talanoa Dialogue Submission

  • From Citizens’ Climate Education, for the Citizens’ Climate Engagement Network and partners in the Education, Communication, and Outreach Stakeholders (ECOS) community.
  • Calling for ongoing, direct engagement of citizens, stakeholders, and local government, in the UNFCCC process.


The Citizens’ Climate Engagement Network emerged from an open process of citizen engagement in preparation for the COP21 in Paris. It is supported by a coalition of leaders, organizations, stakeholder groups, and UN officers, and aims to establish as an ongoing norm for intergovernmental negotiation the open engagement of citizens and stakeholders in the setting of targets and recommendation of locally rooted policy priorities.

Article 6 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change calls for public participation in the design and implementation of climate policy. The CCEN (also known by its URL and social media brand Engage4Climate) has created a Talanoa Dialogue Engagement Toolkit, to facilitate the structured engagement of any and all non-Party stakeholders wishing to contribute constructively to the UN climate negotiating process. The ACE Dialogues on “action for climate empowerment” under Article 6 have created a foundation for the Talanoa Dialogue, and for making such open engagement a permanent part of the UN climate negotiating process.

This coalition input to the Talanoa Dialogue Preparatory Phase focuses primarily on the guiding question How do we get there?

How can we make open public participation a UNFCCC norm?

Direct, open participation of communities and citizens in the policy process raises ambition and accelerates Paris Agreement action. The major question regarding open citizen participation in deliberations between nation-state governments is: How can this be achieved?

Implied in this question is the wider landscape of consequence. In other words: How can we make citizen participation an ongoing part of the process, without disrupting constructive diplomatic proceedings, complicating high-stakes discussions, introducing tangential issues that can consume already limited time for interventions, or confuse critical areas of focus for national and international action on climate change?

The CCEN exists to answer this question, and we believe the Talanoa Dialogue Engagement Toolkit offers the most coherent action-focused answer. We believe the key structural requirements for achieving the long-term goal of ongoing citizen participation in supranational negotiations are:

  1. Inclusive, adaptive local meeting formats
  2. Structured, constructive outcome reports
  3. Transparent coordinating & follow-up
  4. Action-focused networks of collaborating partners, at all levels
  5. Targeted recommendations based on the above to enhance national/negotiators’ ambition

We have designed the Talanoa Dialogue Engagement Toolkit to be useful to any non-Party stakeholder, anywhere, and to continue to serve as a strategy for citizen engagement after the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue Political Phase at the COP24.

We invite the Parties to adopt this standard for ongoing year-round open engagement.

Catalyzing Global Climate Action from the Ground Up

There is a particular value added for national governments and negotiators that comes from listening to non-Party stakeholders — in communities, in local and regional governments, in science, scholarship and the private sector. In communities, cities, states, and at the nation-state level, public officials are better equipped to serve the needs of their constituents when they have regular, good-faith interaction with those constituents.

In the United States, for example, we have seen the slow and steady emergence of a bipartisan caucus in the House of Representatives, unwilling to let hyper-partisan divisions or interested industries rule out climate action, because citizen advocates from their home districts worked diligently to empower lawmakers to engage with each other in good faith, in search of smart climate solutions.

More than 8 million subjective inputs from stakeholders in more than 170 countries, through the My World survey, empowered UN member states to make sustainability and universal applicability the core standards of the 2030 UN Development Agenda, This led to there being 17 Sustainable Development Goals, instead of just one focused on sustainability. Inclusion of non-Party stakeholders’ voices should be seen by Parties as leverage to go further, faster together, and to ensure a more secure future of durable shared prosperity.

Talanoa Town Hall Meetings

We envision Talanoa Town Hall Meetings becoming a standard of multi-level climate governance, sometimes hosted by local officials, sometimes by national officials, but most often by citizens, communities, and stakeholder groups who invite public officials to join with them in an inclusive process of cooperative policy planning.

We recommend such meetings start with a question: What kind of world do we want to live in 20 years from now? In the spirit of Talanoa, this question then allows for a shared vision built around action-specific affinity groups. Experts and non-experts work together to back-cast from a climate-smart future what needs to be happening 15 years from now, 10 years from now, 5 years from now, and 2 years from now. In 2018, 2 years from now is 2020, the critical year for ensuring global climate action is on track to limit global warming to 1.5ºC.

We commit to support the hosting of local stakeholder meetings and dialogues, in the style of the Talanoa Dialogue Engagement Toolkit, throughout 2018 and year-round going forward, and to work with partners in the UN process to act as stewards for the constructive and timely delivery of stakeholder inputs to the negotiating process.

Stakeholders Supporting this Submission

For follow-up, contact Joseph Robertson, Global Strategy Director for Citizens’ Climate Education, at

The Toolkit: