South African Talanoa Dialogue
The South African Talanoa Dialogue is a public consultation on climate change to be hosted by the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, on 23 and 24 August 2018 at the Midrand Conference Centre in Gauteng. The event is for all South African climate change constituencies and is supported by South Africa’s international partners, specifically the European Union (EU) and Federal Government of Germany, through the Strategic Partnerships for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPIPA). It seeks to discuss the national contribution to the international effort to accelerate action and raise ambition to address the pressing challenge of climate change.
At this consultation, national stakeholders, speaking on their own respective experiences and roles, can exchange best practices and narratives, identify new opportunities for raising ambition and outline their views on future climate action and a just transition towards a low emissions and climate resilient future. The dialogue is intended to generate ideas and encourage ambitious climate action by all and is not designed to translate into a consensus document.
The key messages from the South African national Talanoa Dialogue will be shared by government with the international community as a contribution to the international Talanoa Dialogue, held under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the Katowice Climate Conference (CoP 24/CMP14/CMA1-2) in December 2018 in Katowice, Poland.
State Parties to the UNFCCC, including South Africa, adopted the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015 to guide and accelerate the international community’s response to climate change. In terms of the Paris Agreement, Parties have submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) indicating their individual contributions to the global effort and have also agreed to multilateral processes to assess and advance collective efforts to achieve the Paris Agreement’s global goals on mitigation, adaptation and financial pathways towards the transition to a low emissions and climate resilient future.
The Talanoa Dialogue, previously known as the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue, is the first of these key multilateral stocktaking events and discussions on the collective effort and seeks to inform the preparation or updating of Nationally Determined Contributions in 2020. The Dialogue is premised on three overarching questions: Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?
To date, the UNFCCC COP 23 Presidency (Fiji) and the incoming COP 24 Presidency (Poland) have presented to Parties a number of guiding and working documents on the Talanoa Dialogue, including on approach, process and substance of the discussions. These are available at https://talanoadialogue.com. The Presidencies have received inputs from Parties and Groups of Parties for Talanoa Events that were held during the May 2018 sessions of the UNFCCC. Further inputs are invited by the end of October 2018, as inputs to the CoP 24 Talanoa high-level event in December 2018.
The UNFCCC’s Talanoa Dialogue Platform describes the Talanoa concept as follows: "Talanoa is a traditional word used in Fiji and across the Pacific to reflect a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. The purpose of Talanoa is to share stories, build empathy and to make wise decisions for the collective good. The process of Talanoa involves the sharing of ideas, skills and experience through storytelling.
During the process, participants build trust and advance knowledge through empathy and understanding. Blaming others and making critical observations are inconsistent with building mutual trust and respect, and therefore inconsistent with the Talanoa concept. Talanoa fosters stability and inclusiveness in dialogue, by creating a safe space that embraces mutual respect for a platform for decision making for a greater good.”
The discussions will be informed by the objectives and goals contained in the Paris Agreement, including the achievement of emission reductions consistent with the long-term temperature goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C, whilst pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to below 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.
Furthermore, the discussions will address adaptation to climate change, given the global importance of increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production. Another critically important issue, also in the context of sustainable development, is the provision of means of implementation support to developing countries and making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate resilient development.
The Talanoa concept, as espoused by the Fijian CoP23 Presidency, will underpin the South African national Talanoa Dialogue. Through such an approach, it is hoped that stakeholders will engage in frank and solutions-orientated discussion, sharing their views on how they can contribute to the shared objective of ensuring that South Africa contributes its best effort to the global process to address climate change and a just transition of the global economy. It is therefore not an advocacy platform for specific interests, nor is it an opportunity for finger pointing or pronouncing on what others should do.
The event will seek to find a balanced reflection in its design and content on climate action across four considerations:
- The first consideration is to address the guiding questions of the Talanoa concept under the UNFCCC, namely: Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?
- The second consideration will be to obtain views across different domains, specifically, climate science, economic and development perspectives, as well as inputs from the National System of Innovation broadly.
- Thirdly, the event seeks to secure a diversity of inputs from a variety of stakeholders and constituencies, including government departments, business, civil society and academia.
- Fourthly, the dialogue will address all pillars of climate action, including mitigation, adaptation, and support, with the latter considering not only finance, but also technology development and transfer, as well as capacity building.
These considerations will be achieved through how the programme is structured and the selection of topics, speakers, discussants and facilitators.
The event is structured using three formats of engagement:
- The first of these is the key note addresses by the Minister of Environmental Affairs and other high-level speeches in a plenary setting for the opening and closing of the event. This will present an overall context of the Dialogue and expectations and a high-level reflection on the discussion that has taken place.
- The second format is the facilitated technical panel discussion in a plenary setting using presentations on specific topics, with the objective of providing information on the current state and projected/envisaged futures in terms of climate change and development. The facilitated technical panel will conclude with a sharing of views by discussants from various constituencies covering: Where we are, Where we want to go, and How do we get there?
- The third modality will be break-out groups, involving all South African participants. These breakout groups will be organised around the themes of i) mitigation, ii) adaptation, iii) support and iv) policy and cross-cutting issues. The break-out groups will be guided by a Facilitator, with notes taken by a Rapporteur and will also be recorded. The break-out groups will not report back to plenary, but rather the Minister of Environmental Affairs will provide her reflections on the event.
1. What is it?
Talanoa is a traditional word used in Fiji and across the Pacific to reflect a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue.
During the Talanoa platform, national stakeholders, speaking on their own respective experiences and roles, exchanged best practices and narratives, identifying new opportunities for raising ambition and outlining their views on future climate action and a just transition towards a low emissions and climate resilient future.
It is hoped that stakeholders engage in frank and solutions-orientated discussion, sharing their views on how they can contribute to the shared objective of ensuring that South Africa contributes its best effort to the global process to address climate change and a just transition of the global economy.
2. When did it take place?
“The Minister of Environmental Affairs, the late Dr Edna Molewa hosted the South African National Talanoa Dialogue on 23 and 24 August 2018. The event brought together over 160 people ranging from government departments, the business community, academia, civil society organisations, and representatives from international development partner countries.”
3. Some key messages following the event
“The key messages are summarised along the lines of the Talanoa framing questions of, Where are we? Where do we want to go? How do we get there? The key messages are drawn from sessions of the event to present an all-encompassing narrative that emerged from the dialogue.”
3.1 Where are we?
- Science basis: Highly impacted sectors include, water services provisioning and grain crops and livestock hence South Africa and the region should focus on ambitious adaptation efforts.(Page 2)
- Socio-economic: Climate change related impacts on economic development and key industries/ sectors have a direct and bigger impact on the poor; hence equity, justice and fairness should be taken into consideration in planning and implementation.
- Climate action: All sectors of the South African society are implementing climate actions, ranging from national initiatives, and sub-national including in private sector.
3.2 Where do we want to be?
- Aspiration: To become an environmentally sustainable society, that will transition towards a lower-carbon economy and climate resilient society.
- Sustainability: Contribute to the reduction of poverty, unemployment and social inequities by 2030. (page 4)
- Just transition: Development should include, amongst other, National Economic Development and Labor Council (NEDLAC) inputs in order to develop sector jobs as industries are shifting to new cleaner technologies and processes.
- Climate change mainstreaming: Integrate climate change into development planning across spheres and sectors of the economy.
- Adaptation: Emphasis on the centrality of adaptation where South Africa aspires to become climate proof and climate resilient, with an enhanced understanding of its vulnerability and where climate change is fully integrated in development planning.
- Mitigation: Importance of South Africa transitioning to a low-carbon economy within the context of sustainable development.
3.3 How do we get there?
This is captured by way of proposals from various stakeholders:
- Coordination: Enhance alignment and coordination of mitigation policies of the country as a means to enhance ambition.
- Support: Continue leveraging support from the finance mechanism of the UNFCCC, such as the Adaptation Fund and the GCF to allow for the up scaling.
- Capacity Building, education and awareness: Identify the skills required in a low carbon economy and increase investment in R&D.
- Institutional arrangement(s): Establish a Just Transition Task Force driven from the Presidency, comprised of civil society, labour, business and government.
Minister Edna Molewa’s keynote address at the opening of the South African National Talanoa Dialogue
It is my pleasure to address this national dialogue on climate change involving key South African constituencies and stakeholders, in the presence of our development partners. At the outset, I wish to recognize the presence of the European Union’s Ambassador to South Africa, Dr Marcus Cornaro, and to convey our appreciation for the support our European partners have provided for the hosting of this event. I am also pleased to recall that South Africa was able to make its own modest contribution to the hosting of the European Union’s Talanoa Dialogue earlier this year.