September 7, 2021 – ActionAid USA joins hundreds of organizations from the United States and internationally, including many in the Global South, in calling for the postponement of the UN climate negotiations (COP26) currently scheduled for November 2021. Given the state of the global pandemic and the failure of rich countries to ensure equitable access to vaccines and health technologies in the Global South, a safe and inclusive in-person meeting of this scale (tens of thousands of people from 190+ countries) is utterly impossible.
Climate change and Covid-19 are both global crises that require global cooperation, and leadership from the world’s wealthy countries like the United States, to resolve. Thus far, rich countries are failing miserably to meet the challenge.
No rich country is doing what is needed to stop runaway climate change. No rich country has committed to, much less undertaken, urgent emissions reductions and immediate transfers of finance and technology to support poorer countries in their own transitions to cleaner economies. Similarly, no rich country has taken proactive steps towards ensuring free universal access to Covid-19 vaccines around the world, including in the world’s poorest countries.
“The US must pressure other rich countries to support an intellectual property waiver on Covid-19 vaccines, begin immediate technology transfer to enable vaccine production in the Global South, and launch a global manufacturing plan to increase and democratize vaccine production in hubs worldwide,” said Brandon Wu, ActionAid USA’s Director of Policy & Campaigns. “While we appreciate the Biden administration’s support for the WTO TRIPS waiver, which would be a first step to broadening access and affordability of vaccines in poorer countries, progress has stalled and much more is needed to ensure the Covid-19 crisis ends as soon as possible, saving lives and allowing key meetings like COP26 to take place safely.
“At the same time, the US must also commit to our fair share of climate action, including taking immediate steps to transition to a more just and sustainable economy, and providing finance and technology to enable similar transitions in poorer countries. The postponement of COP26 has no bearing on the ability or duty of the United States to live up to this obligation. Nothing less will put the world on track to stop the worst effects of runaway climate change.”
The COP26 climate negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are currently scheduled for October 31 to November 12, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. The UK government, which will preside over the COP26 proceedings, has repeatedly said that there are no plans to delay the meeting or move to a virtual format, despite the rise of the Delta variant and increasing logistical, financial and travel challenges being faced by many delegates, especially from developing countries.
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