Public Participation to Improve Global Outcomes

CCE Submission for the Next Phase of ACE Implementation

This submission is offered in response to mandate: Decision 15/CP.25, paragraph 3—by Citizens’ Climate Education, on behalf of the Engage4Climate Network and local volunteer chapters of Citizens’ Climate Lobby in 55 countries—and offers “recommendations and views on future work to enhance the implementation of Article 6 of the Convention and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement”.


Core Principles

At Citizens’ Climate Education, we take the view that all people are climate stakeholders, regardless of status or station, and that this comes with a number of fundamental rights:

  1. To inherit a climate undisrupted by human activity.
  2. To expect public officials to act in service of this universal and necessary right.
  3. To build lives of opportunity and prosperity, within that undisrupted climate.
  4. To be recognized as legitimate voices for a vision of future climate stability.

Since 2014, the Engage4Climate Network has been working to bring together stakeholders of all types with leaders of all levels of influence, to honor one overall expression of these core principles:

By virtue of being alive, you are an environmental stakeholder; no further legitimacy is required; you have an inherent right to participate in climate-related decision-making.

It is critical to the success of national governments’ efforts to develop sustainably and achieve cohesive implementation of climate emergency response, that a new Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) work programme be adopted.


Recommendations

We recommend that this next ACE work programme:

  1. Honor the principle that all people are stakeholders in environmental and climate impacts and policy.
  2. Foster public participation in all aspects of climate-related decision-making.
  3. Incentivize and support decentralization of knowledge production, policy design, technological and administrative capacity, and economic incentives to work toward climate stability.
  4. Invite communities and decision-makers into shared meeting spaces to foster deeper-rooted, more structurally sound national policy proposals.
  5. Engage national and local ACE focal points both at their respective levels and also internationally.
  6. Provide guidance to the ACE focal points to be involved in other relevant workstreams to ensure a cross-cutting implementation of all the elements through the policies and projects implemented under the Convention.
  7. Gather and distribute knowledge about best practices, critical interactions between policy design priorities and rights, with national budget support.
  8. Include multiscale participatory reporting and future visioning processes that feed new, shared, and locally rooted knowledge into spaces for supranational decision-making.

Expand the Reach of ACE

To expand the reach of Action for Climate Empowerment efforts—both as UNFCCC process and practice and through the ECOS community—we recommend the following:

  • A global platform
  • A stakeholder network
  • Integration into NDCs
  • Local knowledge-exchange networks (KEN)
  • Funding for platform, network, KENs

An ACE global platform should be a multistakeholder-driven effort, with a robust online presence, sharing of local climate action, examples of non-party stakeholder leadership, relevant data and science insights, and toolkits for convening and connecting between scales and geographies. The platform should be welcoming, interactive, and designed to develop a life of its own, so it does not require persistent UNFCCC support and funding to be viable for the long term.

An ACE stakeholder network is already in development through the ECOS community, which can bring knowledge and resources to the work of connecting and supporting ACE leaders and focal points, both in government and from civil society and communities. The stakeholder network should be adaptive, flexible, and managed by stakeholders, in line with ACE needs and priorities, as laid out in Article 6 of the Convention and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement.

ACE integration into NDCs will be critical for any nation’s future success in establishing sustained leadership in the climate-smart economy. Nationally Determined Contributions to Paris Agreement implementation, as upgraded in 2020, will be significantly enhanced in their on-the-ground operational detail and efficiency of funding to outcomes, if education, capacity-building, innovation, and knowledge-sharing are central components of community-level empowerment and investment.

ACE knowledge-exchange networks can take many forms:

  • They can be formalized institutions, with or without a physical headquarters;
  • they can be formalized networks, where convening and information management are shared responsibilities of partner institutions;
  • they can be informal networks of communities and stakeholders, of all varieties, including governments and the private sector.

They must be adaptive, oriented toward localizing the human development benefits of major climate action initiatives, and foster sharing of best practices between actors of all varieties and scales. ACE KENs should serve to foster the synergy within government to enable progress tracking grounded in national priorities. This is how we can be sure no one is being left behind.

Funding for ACE implementation will have high value for overall national and international priorities, as well as for sustainable development at the community level, if it is structured to meet the above-mentioned engagement needs and priorities, and on the foundational principle that all people have a right to climate stability, national climate solvency, and to be part of the landscape of climate-related innovation, investment, and action. Blended finance strategies, including new climate-related financial instruments (climate bonds and other potential multistakeholder investment strategies) should be explored as sustainable funding infrastructure for achieving persistent support for non-party stakeholder engagement and ACE activities overall.


Strengthening ACE Engagement and Implementation

Direct multi-stakeholder engagement has been recognized by parties and CSO as fundamental for catalyzing climate solutions. As article 6 mandates that civic engagement. Collaborative, country-driven, interdisciplinary and culturally sensitive is only achieved if we leave no-one behind. Implementation of an effective ACE shall engage a broad range of actors, including governments, private sector, non-state actors, scientists, teachers, media, youth, women, indigenous people and people with disabilities, among others.

Accessibility and inclusion of multi-stakeholders moves us forward in a smarter and faster way. Knowledge-exchange networks and NDC upgrading processes should be enhanced, deeper-rooted, and sustained over time, by multi-level climate governance and an inclusive process of cooperative policy planning.

  • Through an Open COP initiative, we have hosted multistakeholder convenings and citizens’ assemblies around the world, resulting in ambitious and action-focused concrete recommendations to elevate climate solutions in the national and regional levels.
  • Thematic multi-stakeholder roundtables would provide the space for streamlining and provide substance for strategy implementation taking into consideration regional / negotiating groups’ needs.
  • Establishing both year-round and in-session multi-level participation could bridge the gap between negotiation outcomes and the ambition we need for effective implementation of transformational climate action at the community level.

ACE Indicators would facilitate reporting and tracking of progress across the diverse climate action plans of the different Parties and regions.

  • The indicators should include the six elements of ACE but also broader targets organized across the multi-level ACE landscape (i.e international, national, regional, sub-national, and local).
  • A set of common visions and goals would provide flexibility to adapt according to national priorities.

Ministerial Participation in ACE Dialogues

ACE Dialogues should continue as open meetings with targeted workshops, within the UNFCCC process, but should also be expanded to include ministerial discussions of emerging best practices. The reason for ministerial participation is that ACE activity is a local capacity development strategy, which has the potential to make whole economies both more climate-friendly and more investable.

By achieving a higher level of resilience intelligence, nations that have successfully localized climate empowerment—including knowledge, innovation, and ongoing engagement for adaptive management—will move to the front of both public and private-sector international investment queues. ACE Dialogues should add a third day, to include NDC integration, resilience intelligence, and climate-smart finance briefings for relevant ministers, including examples of successful (local, national or international) knowledge-sharing, capacity development, and blended finance solutions.

As one of the participants in the ACE Dialogues, the ECOS community, and the Resilience Intel initiative, CCE aims to produce regular reports connecting the following processes into an integrated overview of knowledge-sharing and capacity development:


Highlighted Messages

Foundation: By virtue of being alive, you are an environmental stakeholder; no further legitimacy is required; you have an inherent right to participate in climate-related decision-making.

Benefits: We can innovate faster, in more places, in ways that benefit people and communities, if we include everyone, give space to every worthy idea, share knowledge, develop capacity, and spread best practices.

Action: To maximize ACE co-benefits, all Parties should:

  • Appoint an effective ACE National Focal Point,
  • Integrate ACE into their NDCs,
  • Establish an ACE National Strategy, and
  • Allocate and mobilize resources for implementation and scaling up of ACE activities.