Scottish activists condemn Cop26 as ‘most exclusive of all time’ | Cop26: Glasgow Climate Change Conference 2021

Scotland-based climate activists have condemned ‘the most exclusive cop ever’ as they reveal a waiting list of nearly 2,000 delegates and activists who were still seeking affordable accommodation for the November summit in Glasgow.

The Cop26 Homestay network, which launched in May and is described by organizers as a ‘non-corporate Airbnb’, aims to connect local hosts from across Scotland’s central belt with climate change activists, visiting scientists and non-governmental organizations.

So far, the network has connected 211 guests with local hosts, booking a total of 2,097 nights. But there are 1,783 others on the waiting list who are still looking for accommodation.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and the COP26 Coalition – who set up the network – fear that official delegates from poorer countries and those hoping to attend side events at the summit will struggle to find rooms they can afford for the duration of the conference.

They point out that in previous summits, the local government worked with activists to provide hostel-style accommodation for those who could not afford expensive hotel rooms, converting gyms and community centers into dormitories. .

While acknowledging that the Covid-19 restriction adds an extra layer of difficulty this year, campaign groups wonder why Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government cannot extend this option to visitors.

Rituraj Phukan, the founder of the India-based Indigenous Peoples Climate Justice Forum, found a room through the Homestay Network, but said he was aware of many others who had not.

“Many of my colleagues representing indigenous peoples’ organizations are concerned about the uncertainty regarding access to vaccines, travel restrictions and the lack of accommodation,” said Phukan.

He added: “It is impossible for people outside the Global South to imagine the impact our communities are already facing as a result of climate change. If they are not represented because they have nowhere to stay, that would be totally unfair.

Raising fears that – despite promises to the contrary – this conference will be “the most exclusive cop ever,” Mary Church, campaign manager at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “If the British government insists on moving forward, ‘before, despite calling for a further postponement this week, they need to think about how to facilitate and safely accommodate people coming to Glasgow to influence and participate in the summit. “

The UK government this week announced a quarantine support program for delegates from accredited Red List countries. But that does not cover time spent at the Cop itself, or civil society groups without official accreditation coming to Glasgow to participate in the green zone or other events.

The Homestay Network also forwards reports from potential visitors who say they are so overwhelmed by logistical challenges and uncertainties as time is running out until November that they have not had the capacity to work on their goals for the summit. .

Asad Rehman, Director of War on Want and Cop26 Coalition, said: “Not just the UK Presidency [of Cop26] failed to deliver on his own promise to be “the most inclusive cop of all time” as he continues to block access to life-saving Covid-19 treatments, creating vaccine apartheid between the richest and the poorest, but It has also failed to address growing concerns over travel, accommodation costs and left many people in doubt that they can be safely at the table while crucial decisions are made.

“Locking in the voices of those most affected by climate chaos not only reproduces the same underlying patterns of global injustice that are the root causes of climate inaction, it undermines the ability of civil society to hold governments to account and achieve the necessary results. “

A Glasgow City Council spokesperson said: ‘One of the reasons Glasgow was chosen by the UK government to host Cop26 was due to a range of accommodation options available and accessible within a distance of acceptable commuting from town.

“UK Government accommodation partner MCI has secured high quality hotel rooms at properties in central Glasgow, the surrounding area and Edinburgh. All with a range of transport options near or within walking distance of the main venue.

“In addition, MCI has only obtained about a third of the market availability of hotel rooms in Glasgow, Edinburgh and surrounding areas, so other accommodation booking options at the hotel are still available, as well as other types of accommodation in the central belt. “

A COP26 spokesperson said: “As the host of COP26 it is of utmost importance to the UK that there is a wide range of reasonably priced accommodation options which suit the budgets of delegates from around the world. We have worked with our hotel supplier, MCI, to make sure this is the case. “

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