The 26th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) brought nearly 200 nations and more than of ten thousand observers to Glasgow. The task was to finalize rules for national and global climate action under the Paris Agreement and raise the ambition of formal commitments and action on the ground.
CCI managed the largest ever Citizens’ Climate delegation, including 23 of our own badge-holders (that’s more than 30% of nation state delegations) and 10 more team members with other delegations. 6 of our team members were Party delegates, playing a role in their country’s formal engagement. Our 33 team members came from 15 countries and reached nearly every corner of the process.
13 remote support team members gave us an overall hybrid delegation of 46 people. We tracked 310 contacts and leaders, across 531 affiliations, and 237 events. We had more than 50 bilateral meetings, including meetings with 11 ministers or heads of state. Our team met with national and subnational lawmakers and engaged with the European Union—the world’s only true supranational government and the 197th Party.
Since 2014, we have been working to establish remote participation opportunities for citizens and stakeholders not able to join in person. Our Engage4Climate Toolkit helps people, communities, local governments, and organizations (“non-Party stakeholders”) host outcome-focused meetings of various kinds that can feed structured guidance to policy-makers, and enhance the ambition of intergovernmental negotiations.
This year, recognizing the urgent need for robust virtual participation opportunities, due to COVID-related travel and access restrictions, and related risk considerations, we created the People’s Pavilion. This virtual climate empowerment lab was a pilot for detailed future remote engagement of stakeholders in an Open COP process.
The People’s Pavilion covered 60 live sessions inside the COP26 venue and provided people an opportunity to participate remotely. 100 participants from 23 countries, on six continents, joined the Pavilion. In 2022, we will develop a detailed virtual pavilion process around the most successful elements of the People’s Pavilion, so more people and communities can engage meaningfully in the COP process.
Isatis Cintrón, a founding member of the CCI Board and Regional Coordinator for Latin America, addressed the COP26 plenary in the High-Level Segment, calling for respect for human rights and open civic processes in the design and governance of climate policies. Among the frustrations many experienced in Glasgow was the move by some nations to limit, or even eliminate, mention of human rights.
In the end, the Glasgow Pact states clearly on page 1:
…acknowledging that climate change is a common concern of humankind, Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity…
As an organization dedicated climate-related civic empowerment, we had some key asks for the new work programme for implementation of Article 6 of the Convention and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement (Action for Climate Empowerment, or ACE):
- Alignment of capacity-building, technology transfer, and mainstream financial resources with ACE-enabled economic diversification;
- An ACE global platform for active sharing of best practices, strategies for overcoming challenges, resources, and reported benefits of ACE activity;
- ACE metrics to assess climate action capability at the community level, with the aim of accelerating science-informed sustainable development, including diverse and traditional knowledge;
- People-centered climate action as a shared priority, informed by year-round formal and informal programs of thematic multi-stakeholder roundtables, town hall meetings, and citizens’ assemblies, at local, national, and international levels;
- Ministerial participation in ACE roundtables at the international level, to build capacity across areas of public policy and national action.
- Finance to ensure adequate resources for the Glasgow Work Programme and an ACE Marketplace to match needs with resources.
The COP26 did produce a new Glasgow Work Programme on Action for Climate Empowerment. The Glasgow Work Programme recognizes a broad range of stakeholders as vital for the success of climate policy processes. It also begins integrating ACE into areas of work across the UNFCCC process, to build capacity and maximize nations’ ability to design and deploy climate solutions.
We aim to build on this new foundation for climate civics in 2022, working toward citizen-driven science activation, to “foster low-emission, climate-resilient and sustainable development”.
This is how we will mobilize everywhere, with creativity, sensitivity to human need and circumstance, and at the speed required to limit global heating to 1.5ºC or lower. To make the most of the foundation laid by COP26, we need 2022 to be a year when stakeholders are recognized as leaders.
The CCI December 2021 Newsletter
Read about CCI aims and activities around COP26:
- CCI COP26 Agenda Brief
- CCI report on the Glasgow Climate Pact
- Reinventing Prosperity 1 Year Report
- Aims for new ACE Work Programme
- CCI report on the Glasgow Work Programme for climate civics
- Interview with Katharine Hayhoe
- CCI COP26 photo gallery on Flickr
- For detailed news about each day of formal sessions at the COP26, visit the Earth Negotiations Bulletin by IISD.
- For official COP26 negotiations documents, visit the UNFCCC Glasgow Conference documents section.
- To track climate action from non-state actors, including investors, industry, and municipalities, follow the Race to Zero.