Business Dialogue at Climate COP Underscores Need for Inclusive Engagement

Continuing a series of Business Dialogues at UN Climate Conference meetings (COPs) in Doha, Warsaw, Lima and Marrakesh, the Major Economies Business Forum on Energy Security and Climate Change (BizMEF) and USCIB organized a successful Business Dialogue on Sunday, November 12 in Siegburg, Germany on the margins of this year’s UN Climate Conference, known as COP23.

BizMEF is a partnership of over 20 major multi-sectoral business organizations – including USCIB – from major economies and international sectoral organizations.

This year’s BizMEF Business Dialogue discussed where business can contribute to national pledge development and review, and how business can be involved in the global review of pre-2020 climate action by countries and business, known as the Talanoa Dialogue, to be administered by Fiji.

USCIB and BizMEF have called for the establishment of a recognized channel for business engagement on these and other elements of the Paris Agreement and UNFCCC.  BizMEF’s 2017 COP23 Issue Papers address business issues and are now available here.

The dialogue featured Fijian Ambassador to the EU Deo Saran. Fiji holds the presidency of this year’s climate negotiations, and will facilitate the Talanoa Dialogue.  Ambassador Saran stated: “We are aiming for a COP that delivers tangible results and inspires a race to the top.  When it comes to climate change action, each of us has a responsibility, including business. We are all in the same canoe.”

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson called for an open, inclusive framework for business engagement in the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. He welcomed the Talanoa Dialogue as “a way to bring together and consider the diverse national experiences and actions, to understand what has worked well, and identify where changes could be made to promote progress.  It is to be a dialogue, not a zero-sum negotiation. As such it is well suited for inclusion of business know how and experiences.”

The BizMEF Business Dialogue brought together over 50 participants from among government delegations, business leaders, academics and officials from the UNFCCC and relevant international organizations. High-level speakers at the event included:

  • Tomasz Chruszczow, Poland, SBI chair (Subsidiary Body for Implementation)
  • Marion Ferrat, IPCC Working Group III (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
  • Yvon Slingenberg, director general for environment, European Commission
  • Ambassador Patrick Suckling, [minister of?] environment, Australia
  • Trigg Talley, head of the Office of Global Change, U.S. Department of State
  • Jun Arima, professor of energy and environmental policy, University of Tokyo

Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s vice president for environment, energy and strategic international engagement, highlighted the growing issue of perceived conflict of interest and proposed sectoral bans at the UNFCCC and elsewhere in the multilateral system.  “We need to move forward, not backward,” she remarked. “If business and industry have contributed to climate change, it should be equally true that we play a significant role in tackling climate change. The reality is that it will not be possible to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement without the robust and coordinated participation of the global business community in all its diversity.”

USCIB will continue to represent the private sector at COP23, through its conclusion on November 16. USCIB will also host an “on-the-ground” webinar from Bonn for USCIB members on Wednesday, November 15.  For more information on the webinar, please contact Mia Lauter (mlauter@uscib.org).

Staff Contact:   Norine Kennedy

VP, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment
Tel: 212.703.5052

Norine Kennedy promotes U.S. business participation in international environmental policy and management initiatives, and works closely with industry, government and NGOs to promote sustainable development and green growth. She also spearheads USCIB’s strategic international engagement initiative, which seeks to advance meaningful business participation and regulatory diplomacy in inter-governmental organizations.
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