Glasgow’s hosting of the COP26 climate change summit is a ‘huge honour for Scotland’, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday as world leaders prepare to descend on the city.
The event – which takes place at the Scottish Event Campus from October 31 to November 12 – is set to cause major travel disruption for residents, with protest action planned and thousands of delegates attending the discussions.
Sturgeon said: “For the next fortnight, Glasgow and Scotland will be at the centre of the world’s attention. Hosting this conference is a huge honour for Scotland – and it is also a major responsibility.”
“It is inevitable that such a major event will bring some disruption. That will be particularly true in the next few days as national leaders and heads of state – together with more than 20,000 delegates – come to Scotland from across the world.”
She said this coming Sunday, Monday and Tuesday would be particularly busy while major demonstrations were planned for Friday November 5 and Saturday November 6.
The run-up to the summit has been dominated by the threat of strike action by unions representing rail and cleansing workers.
But the GMB union said on Friday that cleansing staff will no longer strike after a fresh pay offer was tabled by local government body COSLA.
Earlier this week, a strike planned by ScotRail staff was also averted after the RMT union agreed a deal with the train operator and the Scottish Government.
Sturgeon said: “I am proud this city, that in history helped lead the world into the industrial age, has the opportunity now to help propel the world forward into the net zero age.
“Obviously the circumstances are not what anyone would have chosen. This summit was meant to take place last year and had to be delayed. We are still in the grip of a global pandemic, the importance of the summit means it is vital that it goes ahead in person but it also means that we need to make sure the right protections and mitigations are in place.”
The First Minister also said those coming to Glasgow for protests during the summit must show consideration to residents of the city.
She said: “I want to thank the organisers of these demonstrations – as well as a number of other activist groups – for the engagement they have had with the city and with the police, to ensure that their demonstrations take place safely and securely.”
She said that regardless of views on the summit, “progress will not be made if discussions are disrupted”.
Sturgeon continued: “More generally – and this of course applies to all protests – I would ask that people demonstrating show consideration for the city and people who live here.
“The people of Glasgow are opening their city up to the world at what is a difficult time for everybody around the world.
“I hope those who are travelling into the city, welcome though they are, recognise that.”