STATEMENT: COP26 Postponed Due to Global Pandemic
The United Nations Framework on Climate Change, together with the UK government, which is serving as the COP26 Presidency, announced that it will be postponing the summit due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The exact date will be determined following consultation with parties.
Following is a statement from Andrew Steer, President & CEO, World Resources Institute:
“Shifting the timing of the UN climate summit was no doubt a difficult decision, but it is also the right one. In the face of this unprecedented health crisis, the world needs to rally together to fight the virus and help those most vulnerable to the economic fallout.
“In the face of a health emergency and the climate crisis, we cannot afford to tackle one or the other. We must do both. The COVID-19 pandemic serves as a tragic reminder that global risks require collective action. Leaders need to work together to identify and prepare early for such risks, share information, and mobilize resources to make their own citizens and others safer and healthier.
“As countries move forward with their revised national climate plans and set new commitments under the Paris Agreement, it is critically important that they take the necessary time to adjust to the current situation while also aiming to achieve the highest possible ambition. Strong climate action is as urgent as ever. A number of countries – particularly the smaller, developing economies – have already shown leadership and announced they will come forward with enhanced plans. These are extremely welcome. But now we need more of the large economies to step-up to the plate and set more ambitious targets. These national climate plans should not be disconnected from the recovery, but instead should be an integral part of national efforts to create jobs, boost growth, reduce health risks, and build more resilient economies.
“Leaders should commit to help devastated communities to build back better, taking every opportunity to make people, our economies, and communities safer and stronger. This includes investing in low-carbon technologies and better preparing for future shocks of all kinds. If done right, investing now in a low-carbon infrastructure and solutions can boost employment, deliver higher productivity, and higher added value to the economy than traditional, polluting and carbon-intensive activities. Business leaders and the finance sector are already waking up to the economic benefits of low-carbon and resilient investments, and the risks of the alternatives. Governments should follow their lead and seize this moment to make a more decisive shift toward climate-smart, resilient growth that will benefit all people and the global economy.
“We look to the United Nations and the UK government to move forward with arrangements and take steps soon to set a date for COP26. We encourage them to set a new date as early as possible in 2021, as they continue to mobilize global support behind climate action. Our hearts are with those affected by the global pandemic and we must band together to create a safer and stronger world for everyone.”