COVID-19 pandemic prompts rescheduling of COP26

Professor Idil Boran on a COP25 panel_image by C Hoicka
Professor Idil Boran (second from the left) hosted a panel at COP25 panel. Image courtesy of Professor Christina Hoicka

Since March 2020, there has been much discussion about what the COVID-19 pandemic means for other global problems facing humankind, especially climate change. The Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has responded with a call for action for a climate-resilient recovery from COVID-19.

Professors Dawn Bazely (York University’s Designated Contact Point for the UNFCCC) and Idil Boran (annual Head of Delegation since 2012) have been closely monitoring the situation and will be keeping the York University community regularly informed via YFile.

COP Participants at the 25th conference of the parties
COP Participants at the 25th conference of the parties. Photo courtesy Photo credit: UNFCCC photo desk

The UNFCCC has rescheduled its key meetings. The 26th Annual Conference of the Parties (COP26) originally planned for November 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland, has been postponed until November 2021. Details are available here.

York University holds observer status as a member of the Research and Independent Non-Governmental Organizations (RINGO) constituency. Since 2009, when Bazely obtained Observer Status for York University, she has issued an annual call for expressions of interest from members of the York University community interested in attending the Conference of the Parties (COP) to form the annual delegation. This year’s call has been postponed until summer 2021.

Professor Idil Boran on a COP25 panel_image by C Hoicka
Professor Idil Boran (second from the left) hosted a panel at COP25. Image courtesy of Professor Christina Hoicka

By joining York University’s UNFCCC COP delegation, which changes in its composition annually, an attendee at the COP is granted access credentials. Although the number of credential spots have varied since 2009, they are limited, due to the demands from the growing number of accredited observer organizations. Consequently, not all students, faculty, staff and other members of the York community with an interest in attending a COP can be accommodated. Nevertheless, Bazely and Boran try their best to give as many people as possible a chance to experience the annual two-week COP, for the benefit of their research interests.

The York University protocol for participation in the delegation consists of five steps:

  1. Call for expressions of interest in joining the York delegation, published in YFile.
  2. Submission of an expression of interest outlining the applicant’s research plan.
  3. Selection based on the attendance quota [availability of spots] granted by the UNFCCC and relevance of COP attendance for the applicant’s research.
  4. Prior to attendance: participation by the applicant in training about best practices and UNFCCC code of conduct (mandatory for first-time attendees).
  5. After attendance: post-participation report and participation in the debrief to the York University community.

Updates on COP26 will be posted in future issues of YFile.