COP26: All partners support a ‘safe’ in-person summit

Media reports on Wednesday suggested that the Glasgow summit this year may be pushed back or scaled down.

COP26: All partners support a ‘safe’ in-person summit STV News

Work on plans for an in-person summit continued this week as COP26 president Alok Sharma met with Glasgow City Council’s leader Susan Aitken.

Aitken said both parties – and the United Nations – are “clear” that stakeholders are planning for delegates to arrive from across the world.

The key conference, where world leaders will discuss tackling the climate emergency, was meant to be held in November last year but was postponed due to Covid-19.

Media reports on Wednesday suggested that the Glasgow summit this year may be pushed back or scaled down.

But the UK Government denied claims that the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) could be postponed.

It is now set to go ahead from November 1 to November 12 this year, and will be held at the SEC.

Aitken said: “I met, virtually, with the COP26 president Alok Sharma this week to discuss progress as part of the Cabinet Office’s Covid Stocktake.

“We talked about our fantastic volunteer programme and the importance of a safe event, in which delegates and the public health of Glasgow and its citizens are protected.

“We are both clear, as is the United Nations, that all stakeholders are working to deliver on the ambition for an in-person event in November – with full delegates from all of the 197 signatories to the Convention on Climate Change able to attend.”

The council passed a motion on Thursday, amended by the SNP, which noted a review of COP is being carried out by the UK Government and the United Nations.

It stated all partners support an in-person event, and the review is “looking at how that can be facilitated safely”.

The council agreed that “it is imperative as many citizens as possible are engaged in building a legacy from this ‘make-or-break’ conference, specifically citizens from under-represented groups”.

It resolved to “make stronger efforts to ensure the representation and amplification of the voices from the Global South”, using “resources at our disposal to provide and create such opportunities”.

Earlier this week, the UK Government said while the Covid-19 situation was being monitored, it was “working on the basis of COP26 being held in person this November”.

“The summit team is working closely with all partners and exploring what different scenarios might mean for COP26 and how we plan for that, while putting the health of the participants and the local community first,” a spokesman said.

“We are not looking to postpone the summit.”

Tory MP Sharma was appointed president of COP26 in February last year.

Story by local democracy reporter Drew Sandelands