Mercy at COP 26: What, When, and Where?
This year’s Conference of Parties (COP 26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will take place in Glasgow, Scotland from 31 October to 12 of November. The conference will be of crucial importance as it is expected to finalise the Paris Agreement. In August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sent an alarming message with the release of its Report on Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis, strongly highlighting that every degree of warming matters and that it can have irreversible consequences, especially on the most vulnerable communities. Beyond the negotiations, the 26th Conference of Parties provides the opportunity for civil society, including faith-based organizations, to bring the voices of the most affected communities of climate change into the global debate on climate justice.
Mercy will be present in Glasgow with a delegation from Mercy International Association, Mercy Global Action, and the MGA Task Force on Climate and Water. Delegates include: Cecilie Kern (MIA MGA), Leah Schiffman (MIA MGA), and Siobhan Golden (MIA). Likewise, Mercy will be working closely with partners and allies of faith-based organizations and more around the world.
Mercy’s Focus at COP26
In August of 2021, the MGA Task Force on Climate and Water came together to raise a voice about climate change and water ahead of COP 26. The task force provides direction and leadership to the Mercy World on justice issues related to the impact of climate change and water, and recommendations moving forward. We have been called together to evaluate: where we are, where we want to go, and how do we get there?
The MGA Task Force on Climate and Water consists of members of the Mercy World from Argentina, Australia, Cambodia, Ireland, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and the United States.
In our reflection on the issues of climate and water, it is evident that we are extracting and using the Earth and its resources as if they are infinite. Pope Francis states in Laudato Si’ that we are "faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature.” Addressing climate change is the greatest moral imperative of our time. Climate justice must be realized.
As we approach COP 26 in November, 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:
- Reject false solutions that displace real solutions to climate justice and agree on a robust, fair, and cohesive set of implementation guidelines to solidify the Paris regime and a roadmap to finalize outstanding issues that contain solutions which are human rights-based and gender-just;
- Address the urgency and deliver on the ambition to answer to the 1.5°C Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, enhancing their Nationally Determined Contributions (climate plans for Greenhouse Gas emissions reductions) by 2020 in line with climate science;
- Actualize climate finance commitments, agree to robust accounting standards and concrete ways to enhance the predictability of funds from the higher income to lower income countries. Recognize that the climate emergency is fuelling the accumulation of debt in lower income countries. Mercy Global Action has signed onto No Climate Justice without Debt Justice.
- Incorporate local and indigenous knowledge, in particular the expertise of women and girls, taking into account their human rights, responsibilities, and ensuring conservation benefits are just and inclusive;
- Ensure that young people, particularly girls and young women, are meaningfully included in the development, review, implementation, and monitoring of all climate policies;
- 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;
- Support efforts, including finance, technology, and capacity-building, in order to avert, minimize, and address displacement related to the adverse impacts of climate change, at all levels, including the community, national, regional, and international levels;
- Place people over profit. We oppose the misuse of resources that damage the environment, including large scale extraction, deforestation, 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.
- Recognize the human right to water and address unjust systems that limit access to, the protection of, and preservation of sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible, and affordable water and sanitation which enable people to maintain their well-being. Prevent the commodification and privatization of water, increase public financing for water and sanitation services, and empower local communities to protect watersheds (SDG 6 and 12). We 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.
*Full MGA Task Force on Climate and Water COP 26 Position Statement to be released on November 2nd.
Mercy’s Activities in Glasgow
From 5-10th November, our delegation will attend events in the Blue Zone and Green Zone at COP 26. These days together will be an opportunity for Mercy Delegates to carry out advocacy activities, familiarise themselves with the COP processes, renew their commitment to climate justice and sustainable living, as well as connect with the local reality.
Stay tuned for the MGA Task Force on Climate and Water COP 26 Advocacy Showcase on November 2nd!
For more information on COP 26 and climate justice advocacy:
- COP 26
- Mercy Global Presence resources on Earth and Integral Ecology
- A Joint Message for the Protection of Creation
- Catholic Leaders WorldWide Urge the G20 to ‘Consign Fossil Fuels to History”
- Pope Francis, other faith leaders to present joint appeal to COP26 climate summit
- Healthy Planet, Healthy People
- Climate Podcast