The United Nations on Tuesday rejected a call by a global non-government network to postpone the upcoming COP26 climate summit in Britain on the grounds that a lack of COVID vaccines risked sidelining developing countries.
“For now, no changes are planned, but we understand the concerns,” UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said of the UN Climate Change Conference set to kick off October 31 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Earlier Tuesday the Climate Action Network, a global collection of more than 1,500 climate NGOs, called on Britain to postpone COP26 amid an increase in COVID-19 cases, unequal global vaccine rollout, and stringent quarantine requirements for dozens of countries seeking to attend the 12-day UN talks.
But the United Nations joined the host government in countering that the climate crisis was too urgent for the meeting to be put off.
“The global scientific community has made clear that climate change is now a global emergency,” Haq said.
“Only an urgent and major step up in climate action can keep the goals of the Paris Agreement within reach, and protect the most vulnerable countries and communities from worsening climate impacts.”
Haq said UN authorities and offices are working with the British government “to make COP as safe and inclusive as possible, including offering vaccines to all participants and paying for hotel quarantine costs where quarantine is required.”