World Leaders Summit’s lacklustre commitments are lacking ambition [Press Release COP26]

For two days leaders from all over the world have shared their views on the current climate crisis, during the World Leaders Summit at COP26. Everyone who entered the stage acknowledged that there is a crisis and that it must be handled. However, leaders had different views on the way forward.

The Co-chair of the ACT Alliance climate change group, Mattias Söderberg, co-chair of the ACT Alliance Climate Justice Reference Group, said,“I am worried and frustrated. My expectations may have been too high, but the Leaders Summit did not deliver the energy or the inspiration we needed to make sure that COP26 can bring a successful result. There were so many strong words, and well formulated messages, but so few concrete commitments and promises.”

Developing countries made a joint and strong call for climate finance. Many commented on the urgent need for support, to address climate related disasters, and to enable the green transition, and many shared their disappointment about the fact that developed countries have not delivered on their promise to mobilise 100 bn USD annually from 2020.

The Co-chair of the ACT Alliance climate change group, Elena Cedillo, Co-chair of the ACT Climate Justice Reference Group, reflected,“It is clear that developed countries must listen to the call for more climate finance. Greater ambition is needed to make progress in the climate agenda and provide climate finances to support vulnerable countries. And we need climate action now.”

“I understand the concern developing countries have,” she continued: “With the lack of mitigation action, the risk for climate induced loss and damage increases. At the same time there is still no agreement about loss and damage finance.”

It was clear that developed countries are aware of the demands from developing countries. A number of leaders presented their plans to scale up climate finance, and to increase the focus on adaptation.

Söderberg said,“We welcome all the climate finance pledges. Every dollar will make a difference, and is valued. We should remember that poor and vulnerable communities are in an urgent need for support.”

“However,” he noted, “When we consider the pledges, we must be aware that the nature of the pledge will differ. The US pledge will for example depend on a decision in the congress, and many pledges may be materialised as loans, which will have to be repaid.”

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the leaders were men, and neither gender equality, nor women and girls’ rights, were themes which leaders addressed.

Patriciah Roy Akullo, Co-chair of the ACT Climate Justice Reference Group, stated;“There is no climate justice without gender justice. I hope the fact that most leaders were men, won’t mean that gender specific issues will be lost on the COP26 agenda. ACT Alliance, will continue to push for transformative climate solutions that promote gender equality.”

“The fact that there were so few women speaking today reflects that gender equality is still a distant reality. We must ensure an intersectional gender lens is present in every single climate policy and every action linked to the Paris Agreement, at global, regional, national and local level, ” she concluded.