Vital to keep up efforts for climate justice

6 Apr 2020
Young people urging for climate action during COP25 in Madrid, Spain. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Young people urging for climate action during COP25 in Madrid, Spain. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

LWF calls for continued action for the most affected in response to COP26 postponement

(LWI) - “Postponing COP26 should not be a reason to reduce commitments or efforts to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change,” says Elena Cedillo, Program Executive for Climate Justice at the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

Last week the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) announced that because of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic the 26th session of the Conference of Parties (COP26) is postponed indefinitely. The conference was scheduled to take place in Glasgow, United Kingdom, in November this year.

The UNFCCCs “Youth for the Climate” event in Italy will be rescheduled, while the UN Climate Change meetings of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB52) – the so-called Bonn talks – have been postponed until October 4-12. Pre-sessional meetings will take place from September 28 to October 3.

The LWF recognizes the tremendous impact of the pandemic and has been calling on governments, civil society, and churches to stand with the most vulnerable and people disproportionately affected by this crisis,” says Cedillo. At the same time, “it is vital to keep up and even raise our ambition to tackle the climate crisis,” Cedillo said. People in many parts of the world suffered long periods of drought before the pandemic, she added. “They did not have sufficient water then – how will they cope with this new crisis on top of it?”

Following the outcome of COP25 in Madrid, expectations for COP26 are high. The negotiation and submissions of new National Determined Contributions (NDCs) continue this year. Governments should increase their emission reduction goals to limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C degrees to stop the unprecedented impact that disproportionately burdens the poorest and most vulnerable.

The rescheduling of the conferences aims at ensuring full inclusion and participation at all levels, including the young generation, and that no issues are left behind.

The LWF has been participating at COP events with delegations of young people since 2011 when COP17 took place in Durban, South Africa.

“The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is affecting all, irrespective of social status, age or gender,” says LWF Program Executive for Youth Pranita Biswasi. “The climate crisis should be faced in the same collective way. We depend on science to contain the virus. Let us not forget the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is based on scientific findings.”

When countries are preparing for economic recovery, there is an excellent opportunity to include generational, gender-responsive climate action, and to provide for climate funding in their respective plans, Biswasi is convinced.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties

A delegation of young people from the member churches has been representing the LWF at the annual conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change since COP 17 in Durban, South Africa. At COP 24, the seven delegates from each of the seven LWF regions, come with different experiences and expertise in climate action, climate advocacy and theology of creation.

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