This article was written by Fiona Broom and originally published on 5 November in SciDev.Net, the media partner of the Global Landscapes Forum at COP26.
Today’s theme at COP26 is youth and public empowerment, which aims to elevate the voices of young people and demonstrate the role of public empowerment and education in climate action.
While country delegates within the sheltered Blue Zone may be able to avoid hearing their voices, it is expected that up to 10,000 people will march across Glasgow, host of the COP26 summit, as part of youth and empowerment day.
The Loss and Damage Youth Coalition has taken one climate change convention mechanism to school, and graded it a “fail”.
The coalition says the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage – known as WIM – has fundamentally failed in its mandate to address loss and damage associated with impacts of climate change.
WIM was established at COP19 in Warsaw, Poland and its focus is on creating comprehensive risk management approaches, cooperation on climate displacement and migration, and action on finance.
“We find that the [executive committee] has made little to no progress or effort to enhance action and support to address slow onset loss and damage. For this reason, we give the WIM a grade of ‘D’ for its progress on slow onset events,” said the Philippines’ Jefferson Estela.
“But the WIM can improve by using the Santiago Network to develop pilot initiatives that can help slow onset events on the ground.”
The Santiago Network aims to catalyse technical assistance to avoid or address loss and damage – the impacts of climate change that can’t be mitigated or adapted to – in the developing countries that are particularly vulnerable.
Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, the former UN special rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples, yesterday described loss and damage as: “Damage that has happened already and you can never adapt anymore because your island has sunk.”
The head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, yesterday announced that “fully achieving all net zero pledges to date and the Global Methane Pledge by those who signed it would limit global warming to 1.8 C”.
But Selwin Hart, the UN’s assistant secretary-general for climate change, said that the war was not yet won.
“The fight to keep 1.5 [degrees Celsius] goal alive is far from over,” Hart said. “Today I urged the [Powering Past Coal Alliance] to continue the good fight to end coal and accelerate the just and fair energy transition. We cannot become complacent. This is a fight we can’t afford to lose.”