The Academy
Climate Change

The CPA at COP26

This blog is part of the CPA’s blog series, ‘Climate change challenges for the Commonwealth'. The series was published as the COP26 conference takes place in Glasgow in November 2021. You can find all the articles in the series here.

The CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg, reflects on the GLOBE COP26 Legislators Summit, hosted in Edinburgh from 5-6 November 2021

From 5 - 6 November, the CPA was represented at the GLOBE Legislators Summit organised to coincide with COP26. The Summit was held in Edinburgh and kindly hosted by the Scottish Parliament and its Presiding Officer, Alison Johnstone MSP. It was a pleasure to meet with the Presiding Officer just before she opened the Summit and to see the strong cross-party commitment in the Scottish Parliament to tackling climate change.

Above: The CPA Secretary-General Stephen Twigg with Alison Johnstone MSP, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, at the GLOBE COP26 Legislators Summit

When GLOBE first approached the CPA about the Summit, we were especially keen to ensure that the voices of our Small Branches and Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians be heard in Edinburgh. We arranged a delegation of three – Hon. Regina Esparon who heads the Women’s Caucus in the Seychelles National Assembly, Hon. Juan Watterson who is the Speaker in the Isle of Man and Vice-Chairperson of CPA’s Small Branches network and Claudette Buttigieg, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Malta.

I would like to thank the three parliamentarians for sparing the time in their busy schedules to be in Edinburgh where they each played an active and constructive role at the Summit. They joined fellow legislators from other Commonwealth Parliaments including Bangladesh, the Maldives, Nigeria, Tuvalu, South Africa, India, Jersey, Canada, the United Kingdom, Uganda and, of course, Scotland as well as colleagues from other jurisdictions.

Above (L-R): Hon. Juan Watterson, Speaker of the Isle of Man and Vice-Chairperson of the CPA Small Branches network; Hon. Claudette Buttigieg MP, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Malta; Hon. Regina Esparon MNA, Chairperson of the Women’s Caucus of the Seychelles National Assembly; Stephen Twigg, CPA Secretary-General.

The mood at the Summit was captured very powerfully by the Speaker of the People’s Majlis of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed. He is a former President of his country who, in 2009, held a cabinet meeting underwater in order to demonstrate the impact of climate change on low-lying islands. His eloquent message to the Summit was that the COP26 commitments provided real hope for progress but that it is vitally important that words are put into action.

Small Island Developing States have played a vital role in pushing for urgent international action on climate change, biodiversity and the environment. Within the CPA, this has been reflected in the work of our Small Branches network on sustainable development and climate change.

  • The work of legislators will be crucial in the months and years ahead including:
  • Passing the necessary legislation to ensure that commitments made in Glasgow are delivered
  • Holding their governments to account by overseeing and scrutinising the detailed plans to move to net zero including in the critical area of financing
  • Engaging with citizens and civil society to ensure wide public support for and participation in the efforts to achieve net zero.

One of the best sessions in Edinburgh was the one in which we heard from some members of Scotland’s Youth Parliament and Children’s Parliament. Their passion and understanding for this cause shone through and reminded everyone present that we have a shared obligation to the planet and its people both today and in the future.

Agenda 2030 sets out ambitious goals and targets for sustainable development. By bringing together the two great causes of promoting sustainability and tackling poverty, the SDGs provide a roadmap for the 2020s. I hope that commitments made at COP26 help deliver that roadmap.

By Stephen Twigg, CPA Secretary-General

 


This blog is part of the CPA’s blog series, ‘Climate change challenges for the Commonwealth'. The series was published as the COP26 conference takes place in Glasgow in November 2021. You can find all the articles in the series here.

The Parliamentarian - Journal of Commonwealth Parliaments

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The Parliamentarian 2021: Issue Three - Looking ahead to COP26: the key challenges facing the Commonwealth in combatting climate change:

The Parliamentarian is the quarterly Journal of Commonwealth Parliaments published by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and features articles, news and legislative reports written by Members of Parliament, parliamentary staff and international experts across the Commonwealth about a wide range of global issues. Click here to download the latest issue.

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