What Quakers in Britain and the Quaker United Nations Office will be doing ‘inside’ COP26
The formal negotiations at COP take place within what is known as the ‘blue zone’, which is only accessible to delegates and accredited observer organisations. The blue zone will be in the Scottish Event Campus (SEC). Glasgow Science Centre, just across the river, will host the ‘green zone’, which is managed by the COP26 Presidency (the UK government) and is open to the public. There will also be many unofficial activities and events taking place elsewhere in Glasgow.
The UK government says it is committed to an in-person COP. However, given the ongoing pandemic, it is not clear what this will look like. It does not seem likely that the negotiations themselves will take place virtually, but there may well be restrictions or primarily virtual events within the green zone.
Our partners, the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO), has official observer status under the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC). QUNO has been active at the climate negotiations since 2013, offering small, informal and off-the-record meetings for negotiators (known as ‘quiet diplomacy’) to help build communication and understanding between a diverse group of countries. QUNO facilitates these meetings to focus on sensitive issues facing the negotiations at that particular time. Over 60 countries have participated in the quiet diplomacy since 2013; the work has continued virtually during the pandemic, as negotiators say they continue to value the ‘safe and humane space’ and ‘sense of community’ that QUNO’s quiet diplomacy helps to create. In preparation for COP26, QUNO recently published the Climate Empowerment Trilogy
, FWCC and Act Alliance, to host a side event in the ‘Blue Zone’ called “A moral call to conscience – fair share in finance for people affected by loss and damage
”. QUNO will be present in the negotiation rooms throughout the COP, to support negotiators seeking effective, fair and ambitious guideline decisions needed to operationalize the Paris Agreement. Support from Quakers in Britain has been fundamental to the ability of QUNO to do this and related work in human rights, peace and disarmament, and sustainable and just economic systems.
Quakers in Britain have provisionally been granted observer status at COP26. If this status is confirmed, we hope to work alongside QUNO (FWCC) and QEW to support several British Quakers inside the blue zone, in addition to co-hosting the loss and damage event. Quakers in Britain will also be present in the unofficial civil society fringe 'outside' COP26. Scroll down to read more about this!