COP26 opens for registration in bid to facilitate vaccinations for delegates

COP26 opens for registration in bid to facilitate vaccinations for delegates

UK government kicks off plan to offer vaccinations to COP26 delegates, as participants, observers, and media invited to apply for accreditation to crucial COP26 climate summit

The UK and UN took another step towards delivering this autumn’s COP26 Climate Summit in person today, as the official UN portal for registering delegates to the event was opened to participants.

The UN climate secretariat said the portal was now open for participants, observers, and media to register their application for a pass to the event so as to facilitate vaccination for the conference. 

The move will provide a further boost to hopes the Summit will proceed this November in person, but the UNFCCC stressed that the early opening of the registration portal was “independent of the decision on the precise format of the COP”.

“Decisions on the format and more details of the logistical arrangements will be communicated in the coming weeks,” it added.

COP26 President-designate Alok Sharma today reiterated the UK government’s desire to ensure the talks proceed in-person as currently planned. “Success at Glasgow requires representatives from every part of the world physically sitting around the same table,” he said. “Whether the global north, or the global south, we all share one planet and are facing the challenge of climate change together.”

He also called on those planning to attend the talks to take up the UK’s offer of a covid vaccinations. “This will be part of wider measures put in place to ensure a safe, in-person COP this November for delegates and the local community,” he added.

At this month’s G7 Summit the UK government said it would offer vaccines for those registered Parties, admitted observers, and media representatives who have not yet received a vaccine, are not able to get one in time for the attendance at COP26 and cannot access a vaccine through other means.

The UNFCCC said early registration of delegates would help it ensure the promised vaccines are provided to delegates. As such interested participants are being requested to respond to the offer by 23 July 2021 so the vaccination programme can be rolled out in time for COP26 in Glasgow. However, the UNFCCC added that registration will remain open after this deadline for those participants not requesting a vaccine.

“We will collaborate closely with the UK government to ensure that the vaccination offer is implemented in an inclusive, transparent and fair manner,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa.

With the UK’s vaccine roll out delivering jabs to the vast majority of the population and the government expected to bring an end to the last of the country’s lockdown conditions later this month, the hosts are increasingly confident an in-person summit can be staged.

However, there has been some disquiet at the plans, particularly amongst developing economy delegations, with some observers warning that providing vaccines to officials and media in countries where national vaccine roll out programmes remain badly underfunded and may have barely started could be seen as queue jumping.

Equally concerns remain that new variants of the virus that prove resistant to the vaccines and the continuation of overseas travel restrictions in parts of the world, including the UK, could yet result in further disruption to a crucial summit that has already been postponed once.

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