Poor Countries Fear Exclusion from UN Climate Change Conference
Due to travel restrictions and lack of vaccinations, the world's poorest countries may be unable to attend the UN COP26.
The poorest nations in the world say they are concerned about making it to the UN Climate Change Conference in the UK (COP26) in Glasgow in November.
Some transit hubs are not allowing non-residents while certain flights from the Pacific islands have been suspended. Unvaccinated attendees also have to bear a 10-day quarantine.
The world's 46 poorest countries, which are on the UN's list of Least Developed Countries (LDC), have expressed their concerns about attending the conference.
Out of the 46 countries, 20 are on the UK's foreign travel red list.
The chairman of the LDC group, Bhutan's Sonam Phuntsho Wangdi, detailed how the hardest-hit countries are underdeveloped ones, stressing the need for equal representation.
1,500 green groups have called for the summit to be rescheduled due to complications that may arise as a result of the pandemic.
At the G7 summit in June, Boris Johnson disclosed the UK's plan to provide vaccines to COP26 delegates unable to get them otherwise.
A climate activist, Maria Reyes, expressed:
“This is going to be a rich people’s conversation, basically,” she said. “Rich people, from rich countries, they are not the most affected by the climate crisis. So the result of this is going to be that this COP is going to be super-biased.”
What are the risks?
It is risky enough to bring 30,000 worldwide attendees to the conference, notwithstanding the added struggle of a Scottish winter, where people will have to congregate for 2 weeks indoors.
While other nations such as China and France have adjusted their plans according to Covid risks, the COP26 officials insist that risks can be minimized and that online meetings are not a good alternative for the conference.
Glasglow's safety plan
The official defense plan is "strongly encouraged" vaccination for attendees.
There will be a 5 to 10 day quarantine period for those arriving from red-list countries, paid for by the UK.
Covid testing every other day is also on the list, and implementation of separate zones during the event for world leaders on one side and officials, observers, and media.
Numbers will be limited in meeting spaces, and masks will be mandatory.