COP26 update: youth and public empowerment

By Elise Belcher & Adessou Kossivi
5 November 2021


Throughout COP26 we’re calling on international decision makers to give greater attention to loss and damage, gender equality and inclusion, and climate finance.

Politicians are renewable too

The voices of young people were heard throughout the day. Various spaces, including the entrance foyer, were dedicated to groups to greet delegates and share their messages.

We learnt about advocacy strategies and communication with and for indigenous groups, with representatives from communities in Peru and Colombia highlighting the climate risks they face and what can be done about it.

The Marshall Islands launched their National Action Plan, including climate mitigation and adaptation actions, as well as plans for new marine technologies and ocean based solutions to build up natural protections. It was interesting to hear the perspective of the small island state, and how they had conducted participatory campaigns to develop national action plans.

Youth ‘climate warriors’ spoke on how they engaged women and young people in the plan to ensure all voices on the island were represented. They highlighted their right to remain in their homeland and not become climate refugees, indicating the severity of what faces them if climate change is not addressed.

An address was given to delegates by Al Gore, previously Vice President of the USA. Packed with facts on the consequences of climate change from around the world, including loss and damage, he highlighted how world leaders must act. He gave a hopeful rally cry to the audience highlighting the solutions that are beginning to work – from solar energy, wind energy and advances in battery technology. Digital systems have strengthened monitoring systems of state and non-state polluters.

He called for more action on addressing hyper-inequalities (economic gaps), accountable governance systems and youth activism centred on ‘Fridays for the Future’ campaigns to continue shining a light on what needs to change.

He said: “If those countries who have committed to net zero keep their promise, current global emission will reduce by 74%. If and when we reach net zero, the earth’s temperature will stop increasing and there are predictions that it might only take the earth 3-5 years to recover. Addressing climate change is a choice between right and wrong. If there is not enough political will in your country to address this wrong, vote for those making it right. Remember that your politicians are renewable too.”

Transforming food systems

Global Environment Fund has launched its new programme to transform global food systems across key commodities in 27 countries. This fund will support less developed countries in their fight for climate adaptation and to support food systems.

Loss and damage negotiations

The less developed countries in the loss and damage negotiations working group have proposed a new version of paragraph 10 of the position draft. Their suggestion declines the function of the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage, and the constituencies of that operational body. This is because the initial paragraph 10 of the negotiation text does not clarify the main attribution or role of the Santiago Network, adopted in the Madrid COP in 2019 as the operational body of WIM.

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

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