Unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe Territories [OTTAWA], 7 September 2021:
Climate Action Network Canada joins a growing number of civil society organizations around the world calling for the postponement of COP26, the UN climate conference scheduled to take place in Glasgow this November.
Inequitable vaccine access and lack of support for delegates from Global South countries make a safe and inclusive COP impossible under the current timeline. While the UK government promised COVID vaccines to all COP26 delegates who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access them, time is running out for them to deliver on this commitment. The uncertainty and confusion exacerbates other barriers, making it more difficult for delegates to obtain visas and book flights and accommodation. The health and safety of participants and the local population must remain the highest priority with no compromise on the health measures advocated by the World Health Organization.
COP26 cannot meaningfully address the disproportionate impacts of climate change on developing countries when attendance would put negotiators, observers, journalists, scientists, and young people from those same countries at risk.
“This is a question of justice and solidarity,” said Eddy Pérez, International Climate Diplomacy Manager at Climate Action Network Canada. “As a northern organization, we are concerned that under current circumstances, the people on the front lines of the climate crisis, whose voices are most needed in these discussions, will not be properly represented. For COP26 to achieve a credible political outcome, it must be postponed until safety and equity can be assured.”
Delaying COP26 does not mean delaying climate action. All political parties in Canada must now commit to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and do our fair share to limit global warming to 1.5oC. Just like for the climate crisis, rich industrialised countries like Canada have delayed action to ensure global vaccine solidarity. As a G7 country, Canada must take urgent steps to provide vaccines to poor countries at the scale required to deal with the pandemic, including but not limited to support for a comprehensive, swift and lasting Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver at the World Trade Organization and immediate technology transfer to enable vaccine manufacturing in the Global South.
Climate Action Network International, a coalition of 1,500 civil society organizations in over 130 countries, also called on the UK government to delay COP26 in a statement released today.
Canada’s farthest-reaching network of organizations working on climate change and energy issues, Climate Action Network – Réseau Action Climat is a coalition of more than 130 organizations operating from coast to coast to coast. Our membership brings environmental groups together with trade unions, First Nations, social justice, development, health and youth organizations, faith groups and local, grassroots initiatives.
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Vicky Coo, communications lead