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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

COP26: Least developed countries remain concerned about inclusion

The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Group is concerned about the challenges its delegates face in attending COP26 in Glasgow and participating fully in negotiations on the global response to the climate crisis.

Sonam P. Wangdi
Mr Sonam P. Wangdi, Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Group

Mr Sonam Phuntsho Wangdi, the chair of the Group, said: “Fair and ambitious outcomes from COP26 are urgently needed to ensure rapidly scaled up climate action to deliver a deep cut in emissions before 2030 consistent with the 1.5°C pathways and mobilise scaled-up support for vulnerable countries. But delegates from the LDC Group remain concerned about the logistics of getting to Glasgow in November. With less than seven weeks before the LDC Group is due to meet in Glasgow, the COP26 Presidency must clearly communicate their plan for ensuring a safe and inclusive COP.

“There are so many barriers to participation, and the uncertainty is causing a great deal of concern amongst our LDC delegates. We are due to travel to Glasgow in less than seven weeks – maybe less with quarantine requirements – yet still so much remains uncertain.

“We need assurances from the UK that COP26 will be fully inclusive and fair. Our countries and our people are among the worst affected by climate change – we must not be excluded from talks deciding how the world will deal with this crisis, determining the fate of our lives and livelihoods.

“There are 20 countries from our group on the UK’s red list. Even if vaccinated, delegates would need to quarantine for five days. Some LDCs also have requirements to quarantine on return home, to keep communities safe during the pandemic. When you add the time for quarantining in the UK to that at home to three weeks of meetings in Glasgow, some delegates may have to be away from families for more than seven weeks.

“On top of quarantine requirements in the UK and our home countries, flight routes to Glasgow are not straightforward. Commercial flights out of pacific island nations are almost non-existent, and some of the regular transiting hubs are not allowing non-residents to fly through.

“As our technical team are working tirelessly to strengthen our call for ambition and action, and our leaders are meeting this month at the head of delegation and ministerial level to prepare and strategise, we look forward to attending COP26 in Glasgow. At the same time, we’re just not sure it will be possible for so many LDC negotiators to get to Glasgow, but without us there how can COP26 be fair and inclusive? It’s our people who are hardest hit by this ever-worsening crisis. They must be well represented in the climate talks. The world cannot risk unambitious and unfair decisions being taken at COP26, there is far too much at stake.”

The UK Presidency of COP26 has various Covid-19 measures in place, including:

  • requirement for unvaccinated individuals from Red List countries to quarantine for the standard 10 days
  • a reduced quarantine period of five days for vaccinated individuals from Red List countries
  • no requirement for self-isolation on arrival to the UK for those coming from Amber or Green listed countries, whether vaccinated or not
  • The COP26 presidency has said the UK is funding quarantine hotels for accredited delegates from red list countries

The LDC Group is made up of the 46 Least Developed Countries, which disproportionately suffer from the ever-increasing impacts of climate change despite contributing the least to global warming. Representing over one billion people throughout Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean, the group negotiates as a bloc in the UN climate negotiations to secure a fair and ambitious global response to climate change.

The LDC Group’s COP26 preparatory meeting is scheduled from October 25 to 26, 2021 in Glasgow, ahead of COP26 opening on October 31.

The 20 LDCs currently on the UK’s red list include: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Haiti, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

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