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 Talanoa Dialogue seeks to break the climate deadlock by drawing participants closer together through sharing their stories of climate change. Governments, but also civil society, NGOs, businesses, cities and others have been invited to submit stories responding to three questions: Where are we now? How do we want to go? How do we get there?
Talanoa, originally known as the facilitative dialogue, seeks to sidestep the power struggle inherent to negotiations. Confrontation and criticisms of other participants are forbidden, and round tables abound.
The purpose of the dialogue is twofold: one, to monitor progress on the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to “well below 2C” and if possible 1.5C; two, to inform the next round of national climate pledges, otherwise known as nationally determined contributions (NDC). As they stand, NDCs set the world on course for 3-4C warming by the end of the century – dangerously far from the Paris targets.