A statement from the Global Greens COP26 Delegates
Week one at COP26 received international coverage for the chaos experienced by delegates and observers. As your representatives for the Global Greens we experienced stark inaccessibility to the venue, and it’s been difficult to engage in the process to the depths that we had hoped.
To begin with, two of our delegates were absent from the conference due to vaccine and visa inequalities. This affected the richness of our incredibly representative delegation, with delegates Rwandan Greens Member of Parliament, Frank Habineza and co-Convenor of the COP26 Working Group Anne Marie Bihirabake (Burundi) unable to attend and participate.
As representatives of civil society, our access to negotiations has been limited. Days two and three of COP were solely focused on the World Leaders Summit, which happened entirely behind closed doors. Just four tickets were issued to represent the 10,000 NGO observers! Nothing was screened on the multiple TVs inside the venue during this time, and such was the lack of transparency, that those watching from home would have had better access to information.
Our role as Observers is essential in being able to adequately inform society of what is taking place at COP and this process of exclusion is unacceptable. Our access was further limited by the long queues that left delegates out in the blistering Glaswegian cold for hours.
Despite us not being able to access the Summit Leader’s speeches, we learned from many of our delegate counterparts that they were fed up with the outcomes and continued inaction. And even though hundreds of billions of dollars of private investment worldwide has been allocated to help reach Net Zero, it will inevitably take the form of loans to third world countries.
There has been no mechanism to feed in our demands, and we are dependent upon the press as a form of communication. This has proven to be ineffective and delivers another barrier for us. We have been working to understand the strategy of each country and to understand how successful they have been in meetings. Despite some targets, many have lacked ambition and beyond that, as delegates, we continue to distrust our leaders to deliver on their pledges.
World leaders are not adequately representing their countries and fail to act on the reality of the climate emergency. While they make ambitious pledges, they fail to back them up with clear pathways for achieving them. This situation is compounded by the fact that of there being no clear mechanism for civil society to feed into the discussions.
Despite the challenges, we have been creating transparency through our observations; working to communicate the gap in reality between the promises of leaders and their actions – particularly given the fact that they have not adhered to their promises of past COPs.
The main thing that is required of this COP is for world leaders to act with urgency and to commit to a reduction in emissions and provide a just transition to rebalance emissions. As yet however, we are yet to witness any sense of alarm.