The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

UN agency adopts Pacific storytelling approach

Media Image Credits: 
Jan Golinski/UNFCCC
Event date: 
10 May 2018

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is hosting its landmark climate change conference in Bonn, Germany 30 April – 10 May. This meeting holds great significance as it continues the Pacific ‘Talanoa’ approach—the process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue rooted in trust—brought to the international stage during the last Conference of the Parties (COP23).

Caritas has long utilised Talanoa approach to share during conferences, presentations, and in the annual State of Environment for Oceania (SEFO) report. The report is part of an ongoing Talanoa which engages with local communities throughout the region, highlights the work of local communities and calls for greater climate action.

Presenting on behalf of the Oceania region, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand Advocacy & Research Manager, Teresa Thorp, and Caritas Oceania representative, Auimatagi Joseph Moeono-Kolio, are voicing the need for urgent action to achieve the commitment made in Paris in 2015. Using the Talanoa approach, they are address three main questions of the conference: where are we?; where do we want to go?; how do we get there?

The annual SEFO report voices the climate change concerns from around Oceania.  During the UNFCCC Talanoa dialogue, Mr Moeono-Kolio shared the story of his father's village in Samoa stating, “We in the Pacific live [climate change] everyday. Despite this, the Pacific is leading the charge for real climate action.” His words convey both the urgency of the situation and the strength Credit: Jan Golinski/UNFCCCof the Pacific response. Communities from around Oceania are demonstrating both local resilience and the need for more ambitious global action on climate change.

Mr Moeono-Kolio says, “Despite being on the frontlines of climate change, there are so many stories of resilience from throughout the Pacific to draw strength from,” underscoring not only the need to join and actively pursue the Paris Agreement, but also the the need to integrate local assessments with the first-hand knowledge & experience of our local communities. "The problem is global but solutions are local." This is the crucial starting point to ensuring adaptation measures are effective and actually increase resilience.

The UNFCCC Talanoa Dialogue is a big step forward in listening to one another and to communities on the frontlines. The action following such discussion will be the real measure of change.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand and Caritas Oceania's joint closing statement addressed to the Conference of Parties is available online.

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