November 07, 2020

Leading up to COP 26

At the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic outbreak, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) made the decision to postpone the 26th Conference of Parties (COP 26) that was originally due to take place in Glasgow on November 9th of this year. Now, there is exactly one year until the most important international meeting on the climate emergency with the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The postponement of COP 26 creates a challenge to keep up the momentum on climate action. This year’s climate talks were crucial as progress was still needed following the COP 25 in Madrid in 2019. Now it is more important than ever for States to enhance their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) --the efforts of countries to reduce their emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Current NDCs lack the ambition needed to ensure the global temperature rise remains below 2°C, let alone the necessary 1.5°C.

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said “COVID-19 is the most urgent threat facing humanity today, but we cannot forget that climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity over the long term.” This is the chance for States to build back better. The COVID-19 pandemic showed us the deep level of systemic change needed to bring forth transformation in our own communities. Overconsumption and extractivist ways of living cannot last any longer. Governments now have the opportunity to start a just transition and put in place a new economic system that serves Earth and people first. In order to shape an environmentally resilient and just future, we must include the voices of those most vulnerable.

As we approach COP 26 in 2021, Mercy Global Action continues to support and urge nations to significantly boost climate ambition in line with the Paris Agreement. Climate actions undertaken by governments around the world must:

  • Contain solutions that are human rights-based and gender-just;
  • Address the urgency and deliver on the ambition to answer to the 5°C IPCC report, as well as financial contributions;
  • Incorporate local knowledge of the peoples in various communities; taking into account their human rights, responsibilities and gendered needs, and ensuring conservation benefits are fair and just;
  • Encourage ecosystem-based approaches and systems to aid waste reduction, address loss and damage of biodiversity, sea level rise, and promote sustainable consumption and production;
  • Place people over profit. We oppose misuse of resources that damage the environment, including large scale extraction and exploitation of the land and its people. We support the work of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights who work towards holding corporations accountable for their human rights abuses under international law.
  • Ensure the Human Right to Water and Sanitation is attained and promote “Water and Sanitation”: A People's Guide to SDG 6 a rights-based approach to implementation” as a strong advocacy tool to achieve the Human Right to Water and Sanitation in our communities, nations, and world.

From Pope Francis’ new Encyclical Fratelli Tutti we pray:

Lord, Father of our human family,
you created all human beings equal in dignity:
pour forth into our hearts a fraternal spirit
and inspire in us a dream of renewed encounter,
dialogue, justice and peace.
Move us to create healthier societies
and a more dignified world,
a world without hunger, poverty, violence and war.

May our hearts be open
to all the peoples and nations of the earth.
May we recognize the goodness and beauty
that you have sown in each of us,
and thus forge bonds of unity, common projects,
and shared dreams.


Stay-up-to-date on the latest news leading up to COP26 at:

Messages to: Colleen Swain - Leadership Development and Advocacy Associate, MIA MGA

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