By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
As the world grapples with the spread of the novel Covid-19 pandemic with its effects on the environment and livelihood, Nigeria has restated its commitment and support to the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties (COP) with the UK and its Italian partners’ decision to postpone COP26 UN Climate Change Conference until November, 2021.
The annual UN COP Meeting on Climate Change was originally slated to take place in Glasgow, United Kingdom by November 2020, with the pre-COP events to be held by co-host Italy in September and October but was postponed due to Covid-19 crisis.
This was contained in a statement signed by Saghir el Mohammed Director, Press and Public Relations Federal Ministry of Environment who said the Nigeria’s Minister of State for the Environment, Sharon Ikeazor disclosed the Federal Government’s support in a tweet following the announcement of a new date slated for 1- 12 November 2021 by the COP Bureau after its meeting on 28 May, 2020.
Ikeazor tweeted that the new date for COP26 will give Nigeria enough time to prepare and deliver on negotiations mandates while maintaining momentum on Climate Action.
Similarly, the Regional Ambassador for Sub-Saharan Africa on COP26, Paul Arkwright in his tweet described the new dates as good news, ‘‘looking forward to working with Africa to maintain momentum on climate change, ensuring focus on finance, energy transition and adaptation as partners for African host of COP27.
The primary considerations for the new date that was brought about by the COVID-19 crisis, were to safeguard the health and safety of COP26 participants, to ensure inclusiveness and maximise the potential to build climate ambition.
The COP Bureau’s decision to postpone the global annual event was disclosed in a letter jointly sign by COP26 Envoy, John Murton and COP26 Lead Negotiator Archie Young.
‘‘Our priorities when considering the new date were: the health of participants, the representation of Parties and Non-Party stakeholders, allowing time for preparation of work to deliver on negotiations mandates and the ambitious and inclusive event we are committed to, and operational considerations. Everyone we consulted agreed with these priorities’’.
The new date, according to COP Bureau’s letter, would present the lowest risk of further postponement, and the best chance of delivering an inclusive and ambitious COP26, having consulted widely with stakeholders and particularly with the African Group given implications for the timing of COP27.