Host a Local Working Session

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Based on the Pathway to Paris process, which established issue-focused multi-stakeholder worldwide Workstreams to support success at COP21, this Toolkit for Local Meetings of the CCEN provides citizen leaders in any community anywhere with guidance for hosting local working sessions. The process is open, flexible, and meant to be easy on organizers’ time and budgets, while allowing a rapid acceleration of citizen participation in global decision-making.


Toolkit for Local Meetings

This is a living document, which will be amended from time to time, with the specific intent of providing added clarity and support to local working session coordinators.

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What are Working Sessions?

CCEN working sessions are essentially open local meetings. They can range in style and format from a small gathering in conversation around a theme, to the building of local leadership networks, to a town-hall meeting in the style of early modern democracies.

The aim is to work together in the meeting so that something more than talk or information sharing happens; each working session is part of a process of design and strategic planning, with a focus on building a true Citizens’ Climate Engagement Network, that will ensure ongoing substantive, direct citizen participation in global decision-making processes.

The basic structure of a CCEN working session is:

  • Introduction
  • Background information and project vision
  • Discussion of participants’ values and concerns
  • Working Groups built around affinities
  • Reports from Working Groups to the full Working Session
  • Working Groups produce joint reports
  • Participants invited to select volunteer activities
  • Participants invited to join engage4climate team on Slack
  • Follow-up focal point selected

After the Working Session has closed, materials are compiled, and hosts will produce a summary report from the Working Session, including detail about Working Groups and major areas of focus. These summary reports will feed into our Workstreams, to ensure insights from each Working Session feed into the global policy process.


Materials for Managing the Working Session

Each CCEN Working Session will use a series of materials to anchor the event and give shape to the discussion(s) and debate(s) that take place in the room or in the online forum. Those materials will include:

  • A brief Process Glossary: to help make sense of the UNFCCC process
  • Worksheets for individual contributions
  • Worksheets for Joint Reports from issue-focused Working Groups formed during the Working Session
  • Worksheets for formulating a draft Policy Priorities Matrix
  • Information for participating in the engage4climate team in Slack
  • Information about already active CCEN Workstreams
  • Information about volunteer actions / Follow-up

Coordinating Before and After any Working Session

30 minutes prior to start: Volunteer briefing and coordination

In preparation for the event, volunteers should be briefed on the structure of the Working Session, the timing of the various components, and the ways in which they can moderate or facilitate the efforts and discussion between and among participants.

Three vital responsibilities of the volunteers throughout the Working Session will be:

  • Making sure all worksheets and materials are distributed and collected in a timely and orderly way.
  • Making sure Working Groups stay focused on collaborating, and on the topic that brought them together.
  • Reminding participants of useful materials, and to produce documentation of the insights shared and/or discovered during the Working Session.

For 30 minutes after: Gather all materials & plan summary report

This post-event coordinating debrief allows the coordinating team to plan how the information gathered will be reported back to the Pathway to Paris network on the World We Want platform, where all session contributions will be stored, tagged, visualized and cross-referenced. Below are the key actions the coordinating team must carry out, during this end of session meeting. This part of the day could take as little as 15 minutes, if most responsibilities are decided ahead of time, or as long as 45 minutes, if responsibilities need to be defined and assigned.

  • Compile and collate individual contributions, working group reports, drafts of priorities matrix
  • Decide who from the coordinating team will transfer written contributions to digital form
  • Set timeline for uploading all materials to shared folder for coordinators, core Pathway to Paris team
  • Decide who will write the summary report from the Working Session (this should be the person best positioned, with training and involvement in the Pathway to Paris process, to produce a detailed rendering of the full scope of debate, discussion and inquiry)

Sample Working Session reports will be made available upon request.


Sample Session Agenda Options

The following sample agenda options will start at 1:00 pm. Working sessions could begin at any time. The meeting agenda would then be premised on the relevant start time.

Agenda Option 1: Open Working Session (2 hours)

  • 1:00 pm — Working session opens: Host(s) introduce event
  • 1:05 pm — Working Session Coordinator introduces CCL, Pathway to Paris and the World We Want
  • 1:20 pm — Worksheet: What matters to you?
  • 1:25 pm — Hear from participants about concerns and priorities
  • 1:40 pm — Working Session Coordinator gives update on UNFCCC process, context for 2015
  • 1:45 pm — Establish Working Groups around Priority Issue Areas
  • 1:50 pm — 30–40 minutes in Working Groups, with Issue Area worksheets
  • 2:30 pm — Full session, report from Working Groups (1–2 min each)
  • 2:40 pm — Plenary discussion: Building the shared Paris Priorities Matrix
  • 2:55 pm — End of Working Session… announcements / volunteer opportunities

Agenda Option 2: Open Working Session (3 hours)

  • 1:00 pm — Working session opens: Host(s) introduce event
  • 1:05 pm — Working Session Coordinator introduces CCL, Pathway to Paris and the World We Want
  • 1:20 pm — Detailed review of Working Session output to date
  • 1:30 pm — Discussion of Workstreams and priorities
  • 1:40 pm — Worksheet: What matters to you?
  • 1:45 pm — Hear from participants about concerns and priorities
  • 2:15 pm — Working Session Coordinator gives update on UNFCCC process, context for 2015
  • 2:20 pm — Establish Working Groups around Priority Issue Areas
  • 2:25 pm — 30–40 minutes in Working Groups, with Issue Area worksheets
  • 3:05 pm — Full session, report from Working Groups (1–2 min each)
  • 3:20 pm — Plenary discussion: Building the shared Paris Priorities Matrix
  • 3:35 pm — Working Groups complete Joint Report from Working Group
  • 2:55 pm — End of Working Session… announcements / volunteer opportunities

Agenda Option 3: Focused Working Session (2 hours)

An example of a focused working session would be the weekly online meetings of the Carbon Pricing Workstream. Another would be the Working Session on Climate Ethics, held at Villanova University, to discuss how faith and cosmology play a role in shaping our approach to policy.

A focused working session will look at one of the established Workstream focus areas (Carbon Pricing, Intergenerational Equity, Oceans, etc.) or could propose a new focus area, which would supplement and support one of the Workstreams or might develop into one.

  • 1:00 pm — Working Session Coordinator provides update on Workstream focus area, Pathway to Paris, World We Want
  • 1:15 pm — Discussion of participants’ concerns and priorities, with moderation and insights from Working Session Coordinator and/or special invited participants
  • 1:40 pm — Working Session Coordinator gives update on UNFCCC process, context for 2015
  • 1:45 pm (Optional: Form Working Groups based on important policy details or political complications) — 30 minutes examination of Negotiating Text, INDCs, how to improve overall ambition in Workstream focus area
  • 2:15 pm (Optional: report from Working Groups to full Session) — 25 minutes review of new options for policy language that can anchor ideas discussed and policy outcomes in text for agreement at COP
  • 2:40 pm — Plenary discussion: Building Paris Priorities Matrix for Workstream focus area
  • 2:55 pm — End of Working Session… announcements / volunteer opportunities

Agenda Option 4: Focused Working Session (on World We Want)

Using the World We Want platform, it is possible to host a working session not only built around a Workstream focus area, but which specifically aims to produce a real-time discussion on the World We Want platform, curated by the working session participants. A focused working session that works directly on the World We Want platform can be run through a time-constrained gathering of people in the room OR be carried out over time (as little as 2 hours and as much as 2 weeks) as a targeted discussion on the World We Want platform. In the extended time scenario, the working session would open with a discussion-driven run-through of the following agenda items, then remain open for further exploration. To maintain focus and ensure useful and innovative insights are heard, extended sessions will be curated by a designated group from the World We Want Pathway to Paris team and Working Session Coordinators.

  • 1:00 pm — Working Session Coordinator provides update on Workstream focus area, Pathway to Paris, World We Want
  • 1:15 pm — Discussion of participants’ concerns and priorities, with moderation and insights from Working Session Coordinator and/or special invited participants
  • 1:40 pm — Working Session Coordinator gives update on UNFCCC process, context for 2015
  • 1:45 pm — 30 minutes examination of Negotiating Text, INDCs, how to improve overall ambition in Workstream focus area
  • 2:15 pm — 25 minutes review of new options for policy language that can anchor ideas discussed and policy outcomes in text for agreement at COP
  • 2:40 pm — Plenary discussion: Building Paris Priorities Matrix for Workstream focus area
  • 2:55 pm — End of Working Session… announcements / volunteer opportunities

Other Options

These agendas are samples, and can be modified to fit the needs and aims of those involved in each working session. Each working session should, however, include the following:

  • Information on the Pathway to Paris process
  • Information on the UNFCCC process
  • Gathering of information from participants’ perspectives
  • Real work on policy detail relevant to those present
  • Reporting back to the Pathway to Paris World We Want platform
  • Offer of volunteer opportunities, follow-up actions

Instructions for Reporting Back

Creating Working Session Reports

Working Session Reports can be more or less detailed, depending on the circumstance and the preferences of those involved, but the following should be included in all Working Session Reports, to provide greater capability for cross-referencing and visualizing all of the efforts of those involved in this process and to ensure inclusion of the voices of Working Session participants:

  • A summary of findings and conclusions from the Working Session
  • Headers and descriptions for any Working Groups formed
  • Reference (in either of the above, or separately) to unique, innovative, or potentially catalytic insights
  • A list of comma-separated keywords and/or tags that should be attached to the Working Session Report on the World We Want platform (for instance: water, carbon, justice, ADP, WASH, food security, etc.)
  • The number of people present
  • Time and place of Working Session

Filing Working Session Reports

Working Session Reports should be sent directly to the core engage4climate team by emailing team@engage4climate.org

Working Session coordinators should make sure to join the CCEN team prior to the Working Session. They will then be invited to our meeting-planning discussions, learn from others, and receive all necessary materials, guidance, and support. If you have any questions or concerns about this process, please reach out through our Inquiries page.


Note on Workstream development

The Citizens’ Climate Engagement Network is designed to build a coordinated effort to share information between the inner workings of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and the most remote areas of the world outside of the Conference. It will do this by forming Workstream teams, made up of volunteer collaborators and representatives of collaborating organizations, who are variously situated:

  1. inside the COP,
  2. in the vicinity of the COP, and
  3. at home around the world.

Each of these Workstreams will operate around the clock during the COP, sharing, compiling, collating, and refining information from as many sources as possible, to visualize in evolving daily reports the overall political landscape of global climate policy negotiation. The teams in the vicinity of the COP will play a lead coordinating role to facilitate the creation and editing of digestible, applicable, tactical reporting about the direction and momentum of negotiations in relation to the Workstream focus area.

It is of paramount importance that we keep in mind always that this process is not intended to be led and populated by experts or by high-level participants; it is intended to ensure that experts and decision-makers have as frequent as possible direct contact with the insights, energy, and hard work of citizen volunteers, who are in turn laboring to bring local insight into the global process. Anyone with any level of expertise is welcome.

The first Workstream to be identified and become active was the Carbon Pricing Workstream, which started its work in March 2015. Other Workstream focus areas include: Oceans, Intergenerational Equity, Technology Transfer, Climate Finance, Adaptation and Resilience, Disaster Risk Reduction, Ongoing Review via Civil Society Participation, or Local Management of NDC Tracking and Enhancement.

Development of specific issue-focused Workstreams will play out according to a variety of factors and influences:

  • How much energy is flowing consistently into that focus area?
  • Is there a community of people who are reliably sustaining the effort?
  • Does the focus area have the potential to secure a stronger overall policy outcome?
  • Can we build an inclusive process that allows advocates and stakeholders from across the world to provide meaningful influence?
  • Is there significant overlap with another focus area, and if so, can they be combined?

We invite as much insight as can be given to ensure this process is open, inclusive, efficient and effective at bringing local genius to light in the historically closed spaces where global decisions are made.

Our objective is to build Workstreams that become active organically, because there is significant sustained activity from the Pathway to Paris network, through a process that is open, inclusive, and maximizes the right of individuals to participate directly in policy analysis and policy choice, on the global stage.


A Reform Coalition of Mutual Support

This Toolkit anchors a new global citizen engagement process, which has been submitted to the UNFCCC as one of the official reform proposals for the Doha Work Programme on Article 6 of the Climate Convention.

It is our intention that this process of engagement work together with and harmonize with other citizen engagement processes. The CCEN is open to all people and should operate as a reform coalition, driven by mutual support among partners, to ensure we are amplifying the opportunity for direct citizen participation in global decision-making, through diverse venues and approaches. By playing a role in this process, you are supporting an effort that can democratize climate policy, open global negotiations, and ensure we have a more inclusive, fair, and livable climate future for all people.


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