This page gives background to COP26, links to resources and outlines our plans and ways to get involved relating to this monumentually important global UN summit that comes to Glasgow in 2021.
What is COP26?
The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference. It will be held in Glasgow, a year late due to COVID-19, under the presidency of the UK government. The conference will incorporate the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the 16th meeting of the parties for the Kyoto Protocol, and the third meeting of the parties for the Paris Agreement. It will be the most important climate negotiations since the Paris agreement in 2015.
Why is COP26 important for international development?
Climate action and sustainable, global development are inextricably linked. Despite doing least to cause the climate crisis, it is the poorest communities around the world that are most vulnerable to the devastating impacts of changing weather patterns, floods, droughts and storms. The climate crisis impacts nearly every aspect of people’s lives. It also threatens to undo all the progress we’ve previously made on tackling global poverty.
It was at COP 21 in 2015 that the landmark Paris Agreement was reached, which commits countries to take action to ensure that global average temperature increases are kept “well below” 2C and to “pursue efforts” towards limiting global warming to 1.5C. However, current national pledges for action are wholly inadequate for meeting this goal, and the consequences will be cataclysmic – millions more people exposed to heatwaves, droughts and annihilation of natural resources upon which they rely – according to this landmark report.
Given the failures of COP25 in Madrid in 2019, COP 26 will be the most important COP since Paris. Indeed, this COP will be one of the first tests of the Paris Agreement, as it marks the 5-year point when countries must submit new and increased “Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)” which state their intended ratcheting up of domestic contributions to global efforts.
Why is COP26 relevant to the Alliance?
The arrival of COP26 to Glasgow provides us with an opportunity to amplify the voices of people and communities who are on the front line of the climate crises in different countries. These voices need heard to raise awareness in Scotland that climate change has the largest impact on those that have done least to cause it, often the most vulnerable and marginalised across the world.
We believe we have a unique role here in Scotland before, during and after COP26 to help to share their stories, highlight the challenges faced and celebrate new and existing responses to rapidly changing climates in order to build support for urgent climate action here in Scotland and overseas as part of a broader commitment to the UN SDGs.
Our priorities for COP26
More ambitious climate policy and action at Scottish, UK and international levels
Increased awareness in Scotland of how climate crises are affecting the most vulnerable and marginalised in other countries, particularly the poorest countries.
Increased awareness in Scotland of achievements relating to adaptation and resilience in other countries
Increased support in Scotland for urgent climate action here and elsewhere
A sustainable platform/narrative on climate justice and Scotland’s role as a sub-state actor to build on after COP26.
What are we planning in relation to COP26?
To influence the above priorities, we are planning different work and events pre and post COP26. We are committing to the following activities:
1. Online Photo and film Exhibition: Facing the Crisis
We are planning an online photography and film exhibition entitled 'Facing the Crisis', launching summer 2021, that shares stories, highlights challenges and celebrates responses to the climate crisis by people in countries that are most acutely affected by it.
This will be a custom built website, designed to host film and photography content from around the globe, showcasing our members’ and their partners’ work.
The core content for the exhibition will be based on entries to our 2020-21 photo competition, which invited anyone with a link to Scotland to submit entries under the broad theme ‘The Climate Crisis from the frontline’. Entries had to fulfil any or all of the following aims:
- To share stories of those most impacted by the climate crisis in countries and regions of the world that have done least to cause it
- To highlight the climate related challenges people and communities face in developing countries
- To celebrate new and existing responses to the climate crisis in developing countries (mitigation, adaptation and resilience)
2. Regular planning meetings, working groups & online spaces to collaborate
Since December 2019, we have been holding planning meetings with our members to discuss how best to engage with COP26. Read notes from our December 2019 meeting here, our January 2020 meeting here and our February 2020 meeting here. These meetings were designed to collaboratively shape our evolving COP26 strategy and aims laid out above.
Smaller working groups were then launched to focus on specific areas of work including communications (messaging, social media and events planning), developing a climate charter, and exhibition planning. Alliance members can log in to the Alliance Community to join these working groups or get in touch to find out more details.
3. Work with SCCS, Bond and other networks on policy asks
The Alliance is now a member of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, and will work with its International working group to ensure we co-develop and align our policy asks on climate going forward. We will also work with broader coalitions where appropriate, with the SDG Network Scotland and with Bond DEG.
4. Climate crisis themed Cross Party Group Meetings at Holyrood
To engage MSPs on why COP26 must be climate justice oriented, we will use our role as secretariat of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on International Development to develop engaging agendas with members. Our policy committee will lead the the development of all agendas. Get in touch for more details.
5. Annual Conference 2021: Focus on Climate
Taking place in December 2021, this event will have the Climate Crisis as its overarching theme. Building on the momentum that we hope COP26 brings the previous month, interactive breakout sessions will explore topics such as how to make climate action gender responsive, supporting just transitions, promoting climate justice through meaningful partnership, and ensuring that the voices of those most affected by climate change are heard.
Keep an eye on our website over the coming months as we announce more information, including our callout for session contributors.
To submit a breakout session proposal, fill in this form.
6. Developing an Alliance ‘Climate Charter’ and a climate resilient international development and humanitarian sector in Scotland
COP26 coming to Glasgow has the potential to leave a powerful legacy in Scotland for our sector – helping to embed climate and environmental principles into organisational culture and project and programme design, symbolised by the creation of a climate charter that members work towards and sign up to after COP26.
This climate charter and supporting work will be co-developed with members and ultimately aim to help build a sector that is climate resilient, and aware of climate considerations in their project design, implementation and communications with partners. Get in touch for more details.
Want to get involved?
Great! Here are a few ideas:
Keep an eye on our events page, and join our working groups to be involved in any of the above activities
Write a blog for us on a climate related issue
Lead a session at our annual conference in 2021
Get involved with our Policy Committee and work with us on new climate policy asks
Talk about climate justice with your friends and family and raise awareness!
Still not sure what you can do? Get in touch with one our team and we can help point you in the right direction!
How We Help
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We broker connections between our members and decision-makers, while also providing a platform to develop a collective voice on important issues.
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Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development
This page summarises the concept of policy coherence and links to our main our main body of work on this issue - an open and editable Wiki.
This page provides a summary of what the Alliance is planning around the UN Climate Negotiations that come to Glasgow in November 2021. We also signpost to resources, events, and information available from our members and partners.
2021 Scottish Election
This page covers policy priorities for political parties to include in their 2021 Scottish Election manifestos.