Guest blog - Update on Glasgow Climate Summit preparations and CBD

Guest blog by Yunus Arikan Director of Global Advocacy ● ICLEI World Secretariat - Local Governments for Sustainability 

On 27 July, the day after the COP26 July Ministerial, UK COP26 President Designate Alok Sharma convened a meeting with 9 Constituency Focal Points. The meeting aimed to have a frank discussion on the COP26 logistics and an exchange of information on the vision for an "inclusive climate action" which is one of the key priorities of UK COP26 Presidency. 

 At the beginning, CPD Alok Sharma provided a basic overview on the highlights and outcomes of COP26 July Ministerial. Official communication from UK COP26 Presidency regarding the COP26 July Ministerial is available here - Ministers have renewed common mission for climate action, but more work to do says COP26 President - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

After hearing the questions and concerns raised by numerous CFPs, CPD Alok Sharma acknowledged the challenges and difficulties that Constituencies are facing in their COP26 preparations, due to lack of official information from COP26 Presidency. 

In my capacity as the LGMA Focal Point, i highlighted the below 4 issues;

1- whether there was any discussions at COP26 July Ministerial on "inclusive climate action" with the Ministers, since this was included in his letter to Parties on 15 July, but was not referred at all at the press releases of the meeting. (During the discussion, one staff member of the UK COP26 Presidency Team informed that a number of stakeholders videos were broadcasted during the July Ministerial meeting. I asked list of these stakeholders and noted that no such invitations were extended to Constituency Focal Points, which was considered by many Constituencies as another example of poor performance on constituency-based consultation in the stakeholder engagement efforts of the UK COP26 Presidency. It has to be noted that the for the Paris Agreement 5th Anniversary, Constituencies were invited to submit their contributions, but no such practice was followed at the 2021 Petersberg Dialogues.)

2- whether the UK COP26 Presidency is considering to follow the hybrid (11-15 October procedural opening, Head of State interventions, virtual stakeholder events and continuation of the negotiations in Geneva and in China in 2022) model of Biodiversity-CBD-COP15 expected to be hosted in Kunming, China 3 weeks before Climate UNFCCC COP26. 

3- whether the UK COP26 Presidency is considering to create any synergy with the Edinburgh Declaration to engage local and regional governments at the CBD-Biodiversity-COP15 process, supported by the Scottish Government and presented to the CBD Parties by the UK government. 

4- whether there is any vision to engage Constituencies at the World Leaders Summit sessions planned on 1-2 November at COP26. (CPD said that he will take into account this idea.)  

 The day after this call, the UK government announced that  that people who have been fully vaccinated in the US and most European countries, will not need to quarantine when arriving in England from amber list countries. There’s also no need for a test on day 8.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) A BBC article suggests that the Scottish government will also follow the same practice, but no official information is made yet by the Scottish government yet. (https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-international-travel-quarantine/pages/red-amber-and-green-list-countries/)   It has to be noted this does not apply to those who wish to visit the UK from 100+ countries who are in the red list. Meanwhile, several countries, including the US, have not lifted yet their travel restrictions to UK due to new measures announced on 19 July and increasing COVID-19 cases in the UK. 

With regards to UK COP26 Vaccination offer, as of today, there is no official announcement from the UK COP26 Presidency or the UNFCCC Secretariat on how many nominations were submitted by observers, how many quotas were allocated, and how many concrete applications were submitted. I know one LGMA members nominated 40+, received a quota of <10 but had to turn all of them down because all 45 were already vaccinated since they originally thought this their COP26 Blue Zone accreditation quota - a confusion that may have been the case for many, due to the unclear guidance in the FAQ documents.    

It is also not clear whether there are any plans from UK COP26 Presidency to include COP26 Blue Zone delegations to diplomatic missions that are exempt from COVID-19 quarantine - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules#diplomatic-missions-international-organisations-and-conferences

 In terms of next steps; 

- between 2-31 August, each UNFCCC accredited organization will nominate their delegations lists for COP26 Blue Zone. 

- by next week, the contracting company will provide options and costs for additional services, like interior design and IT equipments for the COP26 Blue Zone Pavilions  

- By 6 September, the UNFCCC will allocate quotas for each organization and then each organization can confirm their delegation names that will have access to COP26 Blue Zone .

- by 30 September, the UNFCCC Secretariat will announce the list of side events (in-person for the moment) and exhibits (virtual) at the UNFCCC managed COP26 Blue Zone spaces.

 

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