Countries most affected by global warming are least represented at COP26

At the United Nations (UN) Climate Conference (COP26), held in Glasgow, Scotland, which will last for 12 days, the countries most affected by global warming are represented at the lowest rate.

More than 30 thousand delegates, political and country leaders attended the summit, which started on October 31st.

While China’s President Xi Jinping, the country that causes the most carbon emissions in the world, did not attend the summit, the USA, which ranks second after China in greenhouse gas emissions, came to COP26 with more than 1000 representatives.

However, most of the island countries in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, which are the regions most affected by global warming, could not send representatives to Scotland due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

“This summit is the most comprehensive and most attended COP meeting to date,” COP President Alok Sharma had previously said. However, the complaints about participation in the summit and the representatives trying to make their voices heard on this issue make statements on the contrary.

Only 4 representatives from SIDS countries were able to show up at COP26

Known as the countries and people most affected by global warming and briefly called MAPA (Most Affected People and Areas), the formation complains of not being able to make their voices heard at COP26.

Countries, mostly located in the Pacific Ocean, could not send representatives to the COP meetings, the first of which was held in 1979, and the 26th of this year, due to the coronavirus epidemic.

These island countries, known as SIDS (Small Island Developing States) for short, will be largely submerged after the sea level rises due to global warming. In addition, the climatic events and severe weather changes in these countries have increased significantly. In other words, let alone being affected by the climate crisis, even the living spaces of the people of this country are in danger of being destroyed.

However, of the SIDS countries, only Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu and Palau were able to send their country leaders to COP26. Other SIDS countries could not participate in the summit.

SIDS countries played a decisive role in the decision to “keep the temperature increase in the world below 1.5 degrees Celsius (℃) annually”, which was stated in the Paris Climate Agreement, which was signed by more than 180 countries at the COP21 Conference held in 2015. The leaders of SIDS countries declared that global warming is real and that their own people feel the effects the most.

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, one of the important names in COP26, stated that the temperature increase in the world is 1.1 ℃ annually, and emphasized the risks of global warming by saying, “Our sovereignty and our survival are at stake.”

Apart from US activist Alexandria Villasenor, many young environmental activists, including Greta Thunberg, were also unable to attend COP26. Young activists such as Haven Coleman, Anuna De Wever, Leah Namugerwa, Jamie Margolin and Saoi O’Connor are trying to get their voices heard from the outside.

Mini Aktar from Bangladesh, one of the young climate activists of ActionAid, said, “We are one of the sectors most affected by climate change. However, we were not allowed to attend COP26. It is not possible to make fair decisions at these meetings.” He expresses his disappointment this year.

Haya Alghrair, one of the Jordanian representatives of ActionAid, is of the opinion that the politicians in her country do not make enough efforts to adopt some climate-related sanctions; “World leaders know how to deal with the climate crisis, but they lack a sense of responsibility when it comes to action. They are paying more attention to other issues. We expect more responsibility and action related to the Paris agreement.”

MAPA countries complain about not being able to make their voices heard

MAPA countries, which represent the regions most affected by the climate crisis such as South America, Africa and the Pacific Islands, are trying to make their voices heard in order to be successful at the summit in Glasgow.

Aqli Farah, a Somali activist and climate educator, states that the economy in her country is completely dependent on natural resources, and for this reason, the Somali people are one of the segments most affected by global warming:

Saying, “It’s as if they silenced my country,” Farah says that the topics discussed at COP26 and the decisions taken should be shared with all segments; “Information sharing is very important. Countries should share their own experiences in tackling the climate crisis with each other.”

Lidy Nacpil, the Asian People’s Movement on Debt and Development representative, working on issues such as the environment, economy, social and gender inequality in Asian countries, has been sending representatives to this organization since COP13.

Continuing his work in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, Nacpil believes that countries with strong economies dominate the COP summits.

“Rich countries and large cooperating companies are quite dominant at COP meetings. Therefore, MAPA countries are working hard to take important decisions. We want our voices to be heard, too. Reducing the participation of MAPA countries in COP26 creates an environment of inequality and antidemocracy.”

Internet access to COP26 meetings is also limited.

Lidy Nacpil states that they use the opportunities on virtual platforms intensively to make their voices heard at COP26 despite all the negativities.

“Our friends and the organizations we cooperate with are doing their best to make our voice heard at COP26. We also use social media actively. Awareness campaigns we organize in our own countries also continue.”

However, it is not as easy as it seems to be able to attend the meetings at COP26 via video conference from outside. The number of accredited ones is quite limited.

Nacpil says that they made the accreditation process weeks ago, but they were not given a quota. In addition, in the previous meetings with COP26 officials, an agreement was reached on the participation of activists and representatives of non-governmental organizations in the meetings via the internet, but these decisions could not be put into action.

Muhammad Malik, the founder of NeuerEnergy, which offers solutions in the field of sustainable energy, is another name who could not attend COP26.

Malik expresses his surprise that a hybrid model that will enable physical and virtual participation in COP26 meetings has not been implemented despite the high demand.

“In the last year, the organizers had to take all necessary steps to increase interaction with the virtual world. This would increase participation and increase the efficiency of COP26. Ensuring virtual participation is as important as holding these meetings. It is a pity that there is no balance in this regard. In a short coffee chat Even a short speech can be enough to attract companies with large capital to zero emissions. Therefore, increasing physical and virtual participation will greatly benefit the purpose of these meetings.”

In Aqli Farah, it is very important to ensure that the most vulnerable countries in the climate crisis participate in COP26, albeit in limited numbers, via the internet. Because internet and social media access in these countries is limited and they need to make their voices heard.

Press members’ accreditation was suspended 20 days ago

Alaina Wood, a scientist and one of the founders of Ecotok, one of the lucky activists who have been accredited to COP26, can only enter the public green zone despite this opportunity.

Wood’s access to the Bleu Zone, where a large network and conferences are held, is very limited. The accreditation of members of the press was terminated 20 days ago. For this reason, many members of the press cannot attend the COP26 meetings.

Wood, who could not understand the restriction of his entry to COP26 as a scientist representing the rural part of the US state of Tennessee, said, “Many people representing the countryside cannot enter the Blue Zone. However, viable solutions are not produced for people living in rural areas in the fight against global warming. “It is necessary to tell leaders and politicians. As someone who organizes conferences in the field of science, I cannot understand why I cannot enter the Blue Zone. I am lucky to be able to attend COP26, but it would be much more useful if I could enter the Blue Zone.”

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