Daily report for 14 November 2017

Framing the Future: How to Strengthen a Collective Vision and Actions Based on International Targets

This opening event of the Framing the Future Dialogues convened on 14 November 2017, in Bonn, Germany, on the sidelines of the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The aim of the event, which was organized by WWF, was to foster strategic dialogues around the future global environment and development framework. The event explored the elements and streams that will facilitate and collectively align a common long-term vision. Participants considered the pathway to a sustainable 2050, the current geopolitical context and new social impacts, as well as internal management constraints. Discussion also centered on the interdependence of international processes, and the importance of accelerating action to secure robust implementation.

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Global Leader, WWF Climate and Energy Practice, moderated the session. He described           COP 23 as the first COP to begin implementingtheParis Agreement, noting that the Talanoa Dialogue provides an opportunity for translating required action domestically. 

Edmund Gerald Brown Jr., Governor of California, US, pointed to the negative impact of industrial expansion on habitats and species, even without climate change. He called for reducing both carbon emissions and human impacts on land, soil, species and water, highlighting a lack of understanding of the relationships between humans and millions of species. Brown emphasized the need for more “compact, lighter” cities that have less impact on the environment. Emphasizing precaution, prudence, insight and imagination, he highlighted that California is at the forefront of protecting species.

Reflecting on ‘Vision 2050: The New Agenda for Business,’  Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace International, noted that this means phasing out fossil fuels starting with coal, as well as oil, and reducing deforestation in a managed way that incorporates a just transition for workers. She emphasized the need to address power dynamics and engage in a mindset shift in order to engage the people who want to be part of the solution. She called for looking at the legal component as part of the equation and making clear linkages to science. Highlighting human security, Morgan also advocated for putting human rights on the agenda.

Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever, underscored the role of business in climate action. Pointing to the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, he noted that business has become institutionalized in the process, and that non-state actors are now part of the energy it has created. Describing the political environment as “difficult,” he noted the need to take responsibility to de-risk the political process,emphasizing that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change present economic opportunities, and pointed to the work of the Commission for Business and Sustainable Development.

Drawing parallels between traditional green issues, and defense and geopolitical issues, Pascal Canfin, CEO, WWF France, emphasized the need to connect the dots. He highlighted a new report titled ‘Sustainability, Stability, Security,’ and provided an overview of global conflicts emanating from environmental issues and key recommendations.

Ramiro Fernández, Fundación Avina, reflected on the evolution of climate action in the last two years, emphasizing the need to engage non-state actors, especially from developing countries, and to strengthen their role at the national level. He observed that there is a real opportunity to integrate the Paris Agreement into the SDGs and consider how to build multi-stakeholder partnerships on water and food security. He advocated moving away from “incremental change and innovation, towards disruption in order to arrive at the solutions required for tomorrow.”

During the ensuing discussion, Polman reiterated the need for transparent science-based targets, and called for redefining value, noting, for example, that “a dead tree should not be more valuable that a living one.” On conflicts, Canfin highlighted land as key, especially for subsistence farmers, adding that land restoration is a priority. He highlighted the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund, part of the SDG package, recently launched at UN Convention to Combat Desertification COP13, and plans to raise the first land restoration bond. Pointing to a WWF discussion paper that addresses building a collective 2050 vision and strengthening actions based on international goals and targets, Fernández highlighted five political streams for building a long-term vision: collective action; an implementation and monitoring mechanism; governance; finance, investment and innovation; and strategic planning for development.

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