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The shift towards a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy has been driven to a great extent by bottom-up initiatives led by citizens, innovative businesses and various civil society stakeholders, collectively referred to as non-state and sub-national actors. In recent years, the number, scope and scale of non-state climate actions has grown rapidly. However, non-state actors still encounter formidable obstacles that make it difficult for them to initiate and implement their climate actions successfully.
The EESC calls for a "European Dialogue on Non-State Climate Action" (ED-NSCA) to strengthen and increase the scope and scale of European-based non-state climate action. The proposed European Dialogue should provide an overview of climate actions within the EU and help track the progress of climate actions at a global level. It should collect feedback on an ongoing basis and address regulatory challenges with public authorities, in order to progressively build an enabling governance environment for bottom-up climate action. The ultimate goal of the proposed dialogue is to accelerate climate actions by making it attractive for a multiplicity of non-state actors to engage in climate actions, and to make climate action the new "business-as-usual". The purpose of the dialogue should be not only to highlight and showcase actions, but also to respond to the needs of non-state actors by inspiring new partnerships among state and non-state actors; facilitating peer learning, training and advice sharing among non-state actors; and facilitating access to finance.
The organisation of the dialogue should be "light-touch", prioritising the strategic linking of existing programmes, initiatives and institutions, rather than setting up new institutions. The EESC will play a leading role in initiating the dialogue and calls on the other EU Institutions, in particular the European Commission to join this effort to create an enabling environment for non-state climate action by co-operating in helping to operationalise the dialogue.
The first step for the European Dialogue for Non-State Climate Action should be an event in the first half of 2018, gathering all interested networks of actors as well as representatives of other EU Institutions and the Member States, organised in the spirit of the Talanoa dialogue and serving to establish a clear Action Plan for the Dialogue.