Press release

Talanoa Dialogue needs to be a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the climate says Christian Aid

Nations meeting at the UN climate talks in Bonn, Germanty, had the first exchange of the Talanoa Dialogue on Sunday, the Pacific tradition of story sharing which will form the basis of the ‘review and ratchet’ mechanism to strengthen the Paris Agreement commitments.

Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid’s International Climate Lead, said that the opportunity to share stories was important but that it needed to lead to a political process that would ramp up national plans.

He said: “The Talanoa Dialogue is like South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the climate.  Countries need to be able to share the stories of how climate change has affected their people.  For any issue of injustice, it’s important to know the history of how we have got to this point.  

“International cooperation to tackle climate change relies on trust between countries and the Talanoa Dialogue is an important first step in that process.

“But we must not simply talk. Everyone can tell their story but if it doesn’t lead to proper collective engagement then it is in danger of being nothing more than a talking shop. Like the post-Apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission it needs to have truth but without the reconciliation part it will be a missed opportunity.  We must reconcile these stories with action.

“It’s vital that the Talanoa Dialogue culminates in a significant political moment, where countries will be expected to supply improved national emission reduction plans before the Paris Agreement comes into force in 2020.

“This review and ratchet mechanism was the crucial cog in the Paris Agreement that ensured it would evolve over time to adapt to the needs of a changing world. The Talanoa Dialogue is where this evolution must begin.”