Did COP26 deliver real action?
Our aim by taking part in various events throughout the COP26 conference was to persuade decisions makers to make ambitious commitments that will tackle the climate crisis and will promote climate justice.
We want the poorest countries and the most vulnerable communities to benefit the most from the agreements and commitments.
So, what did we achieve amongst the commitments we were pushing for?
1. Ensuring that global temperature increases remain below 1.5°
Some progress has been made in limiting global temperature increases, but nowhere near enough to keep temperature rises below 1.5°. Current estimates suggest that the world is set for an increase of 2.4° above pre-industrial levels. This will mean that climate change will continue to have severe negative impacts on the poorest and most vulnerable communities across the world.
2. Increasing children and young people’s participation in decision-making forums at local, national and international levels
There's an increasing role for young people in climate discussions and decision-making processes, but less so for children. One of the documents agreed at COP26 does mention the need to “develop guidelines for enhancing public participation in climate change decision-making and the inclusion of children and youth”, which is encouraging, but it hasn’t been given a high profile.
Children and young people will continue to make their voices heard through their campaigning, and World Vision will also work with children from the most vulnerable countries to raise their voices at important events like COP26.
3. Significantly increase climate finance available for the least developed countries, and targeted at the most vulnerable communities
Back in 2009, the developed countries committed to increase climate finance for the world’s poorest countries to help them adapt to climate change. The amount made available was due to reach US$100 billion per year by 2020.
However, this amount has not been reached, and at COP26, it has been admitted that this figure is unlikely to be reached until 2023.
This lack of adequate support for those on the front line of climate change is very disappointing. However, there is some hope that from 2025 onwards there may be substantially more finance made available. We must keep the pressure on leaders to ensure that a clear timeline for this is put in place and that they keep to these commitments.
4. Increase investment in programmes to protect and restore local environments and ecosystems, in ways that support vulnerable communities’ food security and livelihoods
In the first week of COP26, the Glasgow Declaration on Forests and land use was launched and has now been signed by 141 countries.
This is potentially a very positive development and should go a long way to stopping destructive deforestation, and also giving much more control over forests and the use of land to local communities.
The declaration refers to promoting land restoration, sustainable agriculture, food security and benefiting the environment, all of which is to be welcomed. This is very much in line with World Vision’s work with local farmers and communities to adopt climate-smart agricultural techniques and to restore forests through our approach known as ‘Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration’ which is a low-cost way of regrowing trees and restoring degraded ecosystems.