CSOs have raised numerous concerns with respect to accessing, participating at COP meetings especially at COP26.
Daisy Emoekabu from Nigeria, who represented the Women and Gender Constituency, spoke on behalf of CSOs. She expressed gratitude to Patricia Espionosa and the UNFCCC for acknowledging the difficulties that CSOs are facing in accessing COP meetings.
Daisy stated that although there are efforts that have been put in place to make participation of CSOs and observers more accessible, things have fallen far short of CSOs expectations.
In her statement, she said, “In two informal meetings, Observers were kicked out because one Party did not wish for observer`s participation.
“This was not an issue of overcrowding, or space. Observer´s participation in key informal is critical to ensure that standards of human rights, gender and environmental integrity are being applied transparently.”
“We are deeply concerned that this poor understanding of the needs and efforts of Observers participation at this COP will set a dangerous precedent for future COPs.
“Further, the outcomes of this COP are entirely dependent on the meaningful participation of Observers. However, the numerous challenges that we face make it virtually and ‘in-person’ impossible to effectively engage in the meetings and discussions.
“Despite Observers requesting that this COP be made into a hybrid model of virtual and in-person neither of these requests were heard and now we are facing the consequences of very poor decisions.”
“Now, we require clear information on how to access the venues and meetings for next week. We need the UNFCCC and the UK Presidency to really step up and address our concerns, so that the remainder of the COP26 allows for more efficient access and participation.
“A list of issues including Travel logistics – The train delays meant that many of us had to return and arrive the following day. We had to buy tickets again. No alternative means of travel could be arranged.
“In the recent weeks so much conflicting and complicated information on how to complete immigration, vaccination and PCR and Lateral Flow Tests were shared.
“The rules kept changing and many of us were not informed as we were transiting when the information kept changing. A number of us paid a lot of money to complete these tests. Also, information is mostly shared in English and this is not accessible to the diverse women from the Global South.
“The red list countries were only cleared days before the COP26 event began, deliberately forcing many of our members to not be able to travel at this late stage. This has resulted in a lower feminist observer participation at what is perhaps, the most critical COP for global south women around the world facing increasingly adverse impacts of the climate and COVID crisis.
“Accommodation in Glasgow is exorbitant and most of us were not able to find or afford lodgings. Thus, we were forced to stay hours away from the conference centre. This adversely affects our participation within our own Constituency meetings and engagements.
“A lot of information that we received were confusing, it was contradictory and much of it was delayed making it extremely difficult for us to follow and understand what was needed to access and participate meaningfully.
“Moreover, the time, energy and resources it has taken us to simply manage the logistics affect our powerful presence pushing for stronger feminist climate policies and actions from our governments.”