First Minister should amplify voices of most vulnerable at COP26
This morning in Glasgow, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met with visitors from around the world as part of the second week of events at COP26. The visitors included our SCIAF partners Father Leonard Chiti from Zambia and Bertha Magomero from Malawi. The group represented churches from around the world, and came together to urge the First Minister to listen to the voices of people in countries most affected by climate change.
In a face to face meeting with the First Minister, representatives from churches and communities in Bangladesh, Fiji, Malawi, Nigeria, Panama and Zambia took the opportunity to share their experiences of climate change in their countries – where extreme weather events cause chaos and damage lives and livelihoods. Those who have done the least to cause the climate crisis are the most impacted by it, and the group urged the First Minister to use her international reach to amplify the voices of those on the forefront of the crisis.
The COP26 theme of the day today is Loss and Damage and the delegates attending the meeting congratulated Nicola Sturgeon on the Scottish Government’s announcement last week of £1 million to combat destruction caused by climate change overseas. This funding intends to help those most affected by the climate crisis to recover from damage and build resilience to extreme weather events.
Although the amount pledged by the Scottish Government only scratches the surface of addressing the effects of climate change on people in the world’s poorest places, the First Minister acknowledged that it is “our responsibility” in Scotland to do our fair share.
The delegates emphasised to the First Minister how important it is that Scotland continues to listen to those most affected by the Climate Emergency, long after COP26 is over. Father Chiti, our partner and Provincial Head of the Jesuits in Southern Africa told us:
“It was a pleasure to thank the First Minister of Scotland in person for stepping out as the first government to fund the losses and damages of climate change. We hope other countries follow this precedent. It was good to hear from the First Minister that loss and damage funding will be provided on an annual basis, and she recognises how it is spent is just as important. There are specific details that they need to get right in the implementation of this funding.
“We were glad to hear the Scottish Government commit to listen to communities who are facing the losses and damages of the climate crisis. It is only by working together in partnership that we can move forward on climate change.”