Campaigners have expressed their outrage after being kept out of Cop26 climate talks, despite the Tory pledge that the international summit would be “the most inclusive ever” this year.
Cabinet minister Alok Sharma, who was appointed by Boris Johnson as the event’s president, promised the Glasgow conference would be “the most inclusive Cop ever”, but only four tickets were allocated for around 30 negotiating sessions, according to ActionAid.
Many of the meetings are claimed to be “open”, but non-ticket holders are reportedly not allowed to attend, according to The Independent.
‘Never been excluded like this before’
Teresa Anderson, climate policy coordinator at ActionAid, said: “We have never been excluded like this before at previous Cop summits.
“Preventing civil society from watching governments and holding them accountable could have real climate consequences with communities on the front line of the climate crisis suffering the most.
“Even though this is a critical moment for the planet’s future, it’s becoming harder than ever to hold polluters’ feet to the fire.”
The summit has also been criticised as being the most privileged ever because of UK’s changing travel rules and visa obstacles.
Last month, firms that spent millions of pounds to sponsor Cop26 labelled the event as “mismanaged” and “very last minute”.
The sponsors formally complained about UK’s “very inexperienced” civil servants for postponed decisions, bad communication and decaying relationships between the companies and the organisers.
Major sponsors include Sky, energy giants Hitachi, National Grid, Scottish Power and SSE, as well as NatWest, Reckitt, Sainsbury’s and Unilever – but the latter refused to sign a complaint letter sent by Sky on behalf of the sponsors.
The sponsors were promised an “outstanding opportunity” and “unique benefits”, such as promoting their companies at the event and having ministers attending their events in return.
But sources told The Guardian that there was a lack of information about how the event will run, companies discovered rivals would be attending against what they were previously told, and promises such as having ministers coming to sponsors’ events have not been kept.
‘Shifting goal posts’ and high costs
“Shifting goal posts” and “inertia”among the event planners were also complained about, as well as the “top-down public sector approach” which shocked companies used to professionalism in high-profile events.
In addition, high costs required by the UK organisers raised concerns about developing nations, with some claiming pavilion renting is up to 30 per cent more expensive than it was at Cop25 in Madrid.
A Cop26 spokesperson said organisers were “working closely” with sponsors to ensure the lowest possible costs for taxpayers.
The UK government also came under fire last month for telling its trade negotiators to not let environmental concerns get in the way of post-Brexit trade deals, according to a leaked document.
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