Government announces COP26 postponed due to COVID-19

2nd April 2020

The COP26 UN climate change conference set to take place in Glasgow in November has been postponed due to COVID-19. This decision has been taken by representatives of the COP Bureau of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), with the UK and its Italian partners.

Dates for a rescheduled conference in 2021, hosted in Glasgow by the UK in partnership with Italy, will be set out in due course following further discussion with parties. In light of the ongoing, worldwide effects of COVID-19, holding an ambitious, inclusive COP26 in November 2020 is no longer possible.

Rescheduling will ensure all parties can focus on the issues to be discussed at this vital conference and allow more time for the necessary preparations to take place. We will continue to work with all involved to increase climate ambition, build resilience and lower emissions.

COP26 President-Designate and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma, said:
“The world is currently facing an unprecedented global challenge and countries are rightly focusing their efforts on saving lives and fighting COVID-19. That is why we have decided to reschedule COP26.

“We will continue working tirelessly with our partners to deliver the ambition needed to tackle the climate crisis and I look forward to agreeing a new date for the conference.”

Chief Executive at EAUC, Iain Patton, said: “With the news that COP26, that was scheduled for Glasgow in November, has been postponed, EAUC wants to reassure members and partners that we will continue with our work on supporting institutions to having a voice at COP26 and leading the sectors response to the Climate Emergency.

We remain a member of the COP26 youth roundtable for the Cabinet Office as well as working with United Nations Environment (UNEP) and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to ensure education is seen as a critical voice at COP26.

“Through EAUC-Scotland, we will also continue our work supporting Scottish institutions and the public sector to further build on this to ensure a strong Scottish voice is present. We will continue to support the UK COP26 Research Group as well as our key partners to ensure COP26, when it happens, is seen as a success in highlighting the work that universities and colleges are leading on.”

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, said:
“COVID-19 is the most urgent threat facing humanity today, but we cannot forget that climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity over the long term.

“Soon, economies will restart. This is a chance for nations to recover better, to include the most vulnerable in those plans, and a chance to shape the 21st century economy in ways that are clean, green, healthy, just, safe and more resilient.

“In the meantime, we continue to support and to urge nations to significantly boost climate ambition in line with the Paris Agreement.”

Italian Minister for the Environment, Land and Sea Protection, Sergio Costa, said:
“Whilst we have decided to postpone COP26, including the Pre-COP and ‘Youth for the Climate’ event, we remain fully committed to meeting the challenge of climate change.

“Tackling climate change requires strong, global and ambitious action. Participation from the younger generations is imperative, and we are determined to host the ‘Youth for the Climate’ event, together with the Pre-COP and outreach events.

“We will continue to work with our British partners to deliver a successful COP26.”
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