COP26 update: day one

By Elise Belcher & Adessou Kossivi
1 November 2021


The World Leader’s Summit launched COP on day one with global prime ministers, presidents and royalty stating their key pledges and encouraging action from others in the room. Let’s hold our leaders to account as they make decisions that will affect those most at risk of climate change. Throughout COP26 we’re calling for international decision makers to give greater attention to loss and damage, gender equality and inclusion, and climate finance.

Read our COP26 Policy Paper

As COP26 gets underway, we used the day to make initial introductions, find our way around the vast conference hall and plan out all we might be able to do. Tomorrow there will be more tangible updates as Adessou joins the Loss and Damage working group, we join the Climate Action Network updates and attend side events to connect with more groups.

We thought we’d highlight work of others at COP26 as part of our network’s vision for everyone to work together to strengthen the resilience of people most at risk. Today we met Fonds Bleu who aim to preserve the planet’s ‘second lung’, the Congo Basin. These peatlands cover 150,000km and contribute to preserving climatic balance. Scientists estimate they store nearly 30 billion tonnes of carbon – the equivalent of four years worth of global CO2 emissions. Fonds Bleu is working across central Africa to preserve their mangroves, biodiversity and ecology.

Let us know and we’ll add you to the GNDR COP26 WhatsApp group.

“We know what the scientists tell us and we have learned not to ignore them. Two degrees more and we jeopardise the food supply for hundreds of millions of people as crops wither, locusts swarm. Three degrees more and you can add more wildfires and cyclones – twice as many of them, five times as many droughts and 36 times as many heatwaves. Four degrees and we say goodbye to whole cities – Miami, Alexandria, Shanghai all lost beneath the waves; and the longer we fail to act the worse it gets and the higher the price when we are eventually forced by catastrophe to act because humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change. It’s one minute to midnight on that doomsday clock and we need to act now.”

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

“Right now, as you sit comfortably in this conference centre, over two million of my fellow Kenyans are facing climate-related starvation. By 2025, half of the world’s population will be facing water scarcity and by the time I’m 50, the climate crisis will have displaced 86 million people in sub-Saharan Africa alone. Let’s have a moment’s silence for the billions of people who are not present…whose stories are not being heard and whose suffering is not being felt. … please open your hearts. If you allow yourself to feel it, the heartbreak and the injustice is hard to bear.”

Elizabeth Wathuti, Climate Activist in Kenya

“Climate finance to frontline small island developing states declined by 25% in 2019. Failure to provide the critical finance, and that of loss and damage, is measured, my friends ,in lives and livelihoods in our communities. This is immoral and unjust. If Glasgow is to deliver on Paris’ promise, it must close the finance gaps.”

Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados

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