Legitimacy of Cop26 questioned as groups are excluded from crucial talks | Policeman26

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The legitimacy of the Cop26 climate summit has been questioned by civil society participants who consider the restrictions on access to negotiations to be unprecedented and unjust.

As the Glasgow Summit enters its second week, observers representing hundreds of environmental, science, climate justice, indigenous and women’s rights organizations warn that exclusion from the negotiating areas and speaking to negotiators is bad for millions of people Could have consequences.

Observers act as informal custodians of the summit – the eyes and ears of the public during the negotiations, to ensure that the procedures are transparent and reflect the concerns of the communities and groups most likely to be affected by decisions.

But their ability to observe, interact and intervene in negotiations on carbon markets, losses and damage and climate finance was hampered in the first week, the Guardian was told.

“The voices of civil society are critical to Cop’s outcome, but we haven’t been able to do our job. If participation and inclusion are the measure of legitimacy, then we are on very shaky ground, ”said Tasneem Essop, executive director of the Climate Action Network (CAN), which represents more than 1,500 organizations in over 130 countries.

CAN is one of two environmental “constituencies” – loose networks of NGOs including youth groups, trade unions, indigenous peoples, business, agriculture and gender – recognized by the UNFCCC.

Gina Cortes, a member of the women’s and gender constituency representing women’s groups, said they also had to “expose the profound injustices and injustices of this policeman.”

“There are thousands of activists who should be here but are missing, and there is a shocking level of space for civil society and the voices on the front lines … that is insulting, unfair and unacceptable,” said Cortes.

In the run-up to Cop26, the UK government had boasted that Glasgow would be the most comprehensive summit of all time.

In reality, around two-thirds of the civil society organizations that normally send delegates to the cop have not traveled to Glasgow due to “vaccine apartheid”, changing travel rules, inflated travel expenses and Britain’s hostile immigration system.

Observers say the situation was most critical during the two-day summit of leaders early last week when they were limited to one or two tickets per constituency despite six negotiating rooms running simultaneously. In addition, workplaces, offices and restaurants were cordoned off to prevent direct contact between observers and the negotiators.

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“The extent of the restrictions was unprecedented,” said Sebastian Duyck from the Center for International Environmental Law. “It’s alarming because the relationships we build at the start of Cop are critical to the work we do afterwards … the limited involvement absolutely undermines Cop’s credibility.”

Access has improved since the ticketing system was abandoned, with one observer now technically allowed per constituency in each meeting room – if there is enough space according to social distancing rules. But their ability to contribute meaningfully remains limited.

Observers are particularly concerned about carbon trading protocol negotiations as governments and corporations seek ways to achieve net zero commitments through compensation payments.

“There is a real risk that decisions made in these rooms will dramatically affect human rights, as we saw under the Kyoto carbon trading mechanism. When we get a bad rule, it is almost impossible to correct it retrospectively. The size of the carbon markets means a greater threat to communities, ”Duyck said.

This is a major concern for indigenous communities, who make up 6% of the world’s population but protect 80% of the planet’s biodiversity. “Without our voice, it risks creating rules that continue to violate the human, territorial and spiritual rights of indigenous peoples,” said Eriel Deranger, an observer with Indigenous Climate Action.

Pointing out the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic, the UK government says access has been improved thanks to the new online platform that has been used by 12,000 people so far.

But for some trying to virtually keep track of what’s going on, technical glitches have made access a “logistical nightmare,” said Hellen Kaneni, regional Africa coordinator for the international nonprofit Corporate Accountability. “The cop was never credible, but this year it’s a lot worse, access has been restricted in many ways, it’s terrible.”

Kaneni’s colleague Aderonke Ige from Nigeria, who made it to Glasgow for her first cop despite the Covid restrictions, said she felt “disappointed and unfulfilled” after not going online and having access to the African meeting rooms and offices Group negotiator was denied.

A spokesman said: “The UK is keen to host an inclusive police officer. Ensuring that the voices of the people hardest hit by climate change are heard is a priority for the Cop26 presidency.

This cop’s success will be judged over the years. But, according to Nathan Thanki of Demand Climate Justice (the second environmental constituency), the legitimacy of the summit was reduced by access restrictions and the way rich countries had used the Cop26 to make headline-grabbing announcements outside of the UNFCCC’s pledge and scrutiny framework, seriously undermined.

“It is impossible to monitor these announcements, which means there is no accountability to civil society or any other country. That is the sad situation at this summit. “


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