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COP23: Open dialogue a first

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Update: 7:38PM A FIRST-ever dialogue, which brought together the parties of the conference and non-State stakeholders who would not normally be part of the formal aspect of a COP, took place in Bonn, Germany on Wednesday.

The event, part of the Fijian Presidency to use a Pacific cultural concept of storytelling called Talanoa, was the highlight of Day 3 of COP23, which is led by Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

"This is the first open dialogue between parties and non-parties in the history of the COP process. It's not a side event. It has been mandated by the parties and is designed to bring State actors and non-State actors together in the Bula Zone," the PM said in his opening speech.

Working on the Chatham House Rules, the Presidency's Open Dialogue included representatives from the business community, trade unions, youth constituency, non-government and civil society organisations.

"I'm delighted as COP23 president that we have been able to connect in this manner. Because it goes to the heart of the Grand Coalition concept that Fiji has been promoting all year," Mr Bainimarama said.

"Of course, we understand that the formal negotiations are governed by the idea of a party-driven process. But we also understand that the rich variety of non-State actors represented in this room have a great deal to contribute to that process.

"In fact, without the non-State actors, we will fall short of the objectives set by the parties."

The event was in line with the 'grand coalition' on climate change - a concept that the Fijian Presidency has been pushing which is built on the notion that government, CSO, and business must work together.

"It is critical that we enhance the engagement between the various elements of the Grand Coalition. Whether it is in the development of the next NDCs - the Nationally Determined Contributions - to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Or improving the procedures here at the COP to take in the contributions of non-State actors," the PM said.

He told the representatives of various non-government sectors of nations, referred to in the process as 'constituencies', the NDCs could be enhanced relatively easily if the dialogue learned from each other what was actually being done at local level.

"Today, we will not be negotiating. We will be talking to each other. And we will be listening. This is the perfect setting for adopting the Talanoa Spirit that is so much a part of what Fiji brings to the Presidency."

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