UN-Habitat Executive Director at Talaona Dialogue for Africa: Local Governments essential partners to address climate change
Nairobi, 16 April 2018 — A Talanoa Dialogue for Africa was held on 13 April at the end of the first Africa Climate Week in Nairobi at UN Headquarters. UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimuna Moh’d Sharif addressed participants as one of the key UN agencies contributors to the Dialogue.
The Talanoa Dialogues were established at COP23 in Bonn to foster constructive dialogue among a broad range of stakeholders on how to collectively reduce emissions and build greater resilience, in line with the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. It is hoped that the Dialogues will lead to improved collective implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2020 and help Parties achieve maximum ambition in implementing and improving their NDCs.
In his introduction to the Dialogue, Tomasz Chruszczow, High Level Champion for COP 24 welcome the call of the Government of Fiji for ‘Talanoa Dialogues’ in order to engage all partners in an inclusive, participatory and transparent process to discuss issues and exchange experiences. Participants were asked to contribute in the dialogue, answering to three key questions with regard to the Paris Agreement process: Where are we? Where do we want to go? How to get there?
In her intervention, Ms. Maimuna Moh’d Sharif stressed the importance of partnerships and political will in addressing climate change, reminding that national and local leaders need to take a bold and decisive approach to climate, through a multilevel governance. She emphasized the importance of involving local governments in implementing NDCs through proper enabling frameworks. She recalled her former role as Mayor of Penang, Malaysia, where she engaged communities and stakeholders to translate policies and plans on the ground. She stressed the important role of communication and the need to engage the medias in order to explain the challenges at stakes as well as the actions needed in cities. Ms. Maimuna also stressed the need for gender-responsive participatory planning in order to address the particular role of women in cities facing climate change.
Ms. Maimunah praised the Africa Talanoa Dialogue, as a great start towards advancing the implementation of NDCs in the Continent. She called upon Member-States to organize their own national-level Talanoa Dialogues to further continue and deepen the discussion. She also called upon cities to hold intensive dialogues at their level to engage communities. In that regard, she explained the role of UN-Habitat in such approaches developed in partnership with international local government organizations such as ICLEI, Citynet and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). In Kenya, she mentioned the upcoming dialogues organized by UN-Habitat with the support of the French Cooperation to start engaging communities on the ground.
UN-Habitat is a partner of the “Cities and Regions Talanoa Dialogues’’ coordinated by ICLEI, meant to facilitate the integration of local governments into nationally-led efforts to address climate change. Local and regional governments have become a powerful catalyst of climate action and are meant to play a key role to deliver the Paris Agreement at various scales. The New Urban Agenda endorsed at the Habitat III Conference has also confirmed their role in achieving the climate targets of the Paris Agreement and support the SDGs. Through the Talaona Dialogues, local governments are called upon to contributing ideas, recommendations and information that can assist the world in taking climate action to the next level. The Dialogues should help strengthen promises to accelerate engagement of the urban community in climate action, building on the synergy of sustainable urbanization and low-emission and resilient development.