Guest blog - COP26 Logistics Update

Guest blog by Yunus Arikan Director of Global Advocacy ICLEI World Secretariat. ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network working with more than 2500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 125+ countries, we influence sustainability policy and drive local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development. 

A scenario for a realistic expectation of a hybrid (in-person and virtual) COP26  in Glasgow envisages that COP26 credentials may be delivered to Ambassadors in the UK, the Opening Plenary on 31 October Sunday can enable to pass the baton of COP Presidency from Chile to UK, the Heads of Summit +Stakeholder (Race-To-Zero and/or Race-To-Resilience or others) Roundtable Sessions on 1-2 November can be the moments to announce commitments/updates. After these 3 days of in-person meetings, the COP26 Presidency can suspend negotiations, but action events can continue virtually).

On 23 June, the UK COP26 Presidency teams provided a briefing to UK Parliamentarians which can be watched publicly through this respective. So far, this is the only publicly available written or oral statement from the UK COP26 Presidency regarding the COP26 Logistics. During this briefing, the UK COp26 Presidency announced that COVID-19 vaccination will not be considered as a pre-requisite for COP26 delegation, but UK will strongly encourage vaccinations. However, there is no information on the procedures to be followed for those non-vaccinated COp26 delegations, in terms of quarantine requirements and their access to COP26 Blue Zone.

Last night, the UNFCCC Secretariat circulated a notification to all accredited organizations announcing the launch of the nomination process for COP26 delegations to be vaccinated by the resources to be made available via UK COP26 Presidency. According to this announcement, every accredited organization (~ 2500 existing + ~ 800 to be accredited for COP26) will be able to nominate their delegation size for vaccines by 14 July. The UNFCCC secretariat will then allocate a certain delegation vaccination quota for each organization. Organizations who receive this quota will confirm the details of their delegations to be receive UK COP26 COVID-19 vaccines between 16-23 July. The UK COP26 Presidency announced that further details will be announced in due course. During the consultation phase. There is still needed additional information from the UNFCCC Secretariat and UK COP26 Presidency that should include, especially; 

  • clear rules for delivery of vaccines, VACCINES FAQ – [PARTY, OBSERVER AND MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES] - It is recognized that there are different circumstances in different countries and we would strongly encourage those who wish to take up this offer to register their interest through the UNFCCC registration portal as soon as possible and no later than 23 July.
  • what will happen if a participant gets the COP26 vaccine via UK but cannot attend COP26 for whatever reason , 
  • what will be the responsibility of the nominating organization, the country of origin, the UK COP26 Presidency and the UNFCCC Secretariat, if the vaccinated COP26 participant faces any negative health implications after vaccination, and who will cover the quarantine costs if the vaccinated participant still tests COVID-19 positive at the UK border.

The full COP26 Blue Zone delegation applications, independent from COVID-19 vaccines by the UK, will be conducted between 2-31 August 2021. The COP26 Blue Zone accreditation quotas and delivery of Acknowledgement Letter and Visa Letters for delegations of accredited organization will commence from 6 September onwards.  

It is possible that such details may also be discussed at the stocktaking call of COP Presidencies with the Heads of Delegation on 30 June. 

Meanwhile, there is no information whether issues around COP26 logistics were discussed at the COP25 Bureau meeting on 15 June. 

It also has to be noted that neither the CBD Secretariat nor China as the host country of Biodiversity COP15 in Kunming on 11-24 October are planning to make any similar arrangements for delegations of CBD-COP15.   

Meanwhile, the UK COP26 Presidency circulated the announcement for reserving Pavilion Spaces and Delegation Office Space at COP26 Blue Zone on a commercial basis. The COP26 Pavilion and Delegation Space website is currently not accessible via UK COP26 Host country website.

And finally, the UNFCCC kicked-off applications for accredited organizations the process to apply for COP26 Blue Zone Side events (in-person) and Exhibits (virtual)


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