GLD lawyers and COP26

Led by Deputy Directors Claire Macmillen and Julia Goring, the team supported the event prior to, and during COP26 itself.

Over the past two and a half years the team worked extensively with lawyers across GLD and the wider Government Legal Profession to provide the necessary legal frameworks to enable COP26 to take place in the UK. The team led the negotiations with the UN on the principal international agreement – the Host Country Agreement – as well as advising on numerous supporting mechanisms with the UN and other partners on the hosting of the COP during the pandemic.

The conclusion of these complex arrangements delivered an inclusive, accessible and safe event and enabled tens of thousands of people from almost 200 nations, comprising party delegates and observers, and representatives from civil society, NGOs, business, and indigenous groups to attend COP26.

The legal team also supported the UK Presidency to deliver its key objectives. In the lead up to COP26 our expert team of international climate change lawyers provided advice to the Presidency negotiations team on a large range of strategic and process-related preparatory matters. During the two-week conference the team were embedded in the Presidency team on the ground, and continued to provide support and guidance on a very wide range of climate negotiations issues, many culminating in decisions adopted by the Parties, notably the Glasgow Climate Pact, which should ultimately be translated into actions, policies and laws around the world. Some of the key issues concerned finance, completing the technical rules to operationalise the Paris Agreement, and ramping up ambition for countries to increase their carbon reduction ambitions by 2030 and beyond.

Lawyers from the team continue to lead on important climate change matters alongside COP26, such as the net zero strategy, opening the next round of renewable energy auctions, and delivering international climate finance supporting developing countries around the globe.

In an article published on the International Bar Association it states, ‘there’s a sense that the law and legal work can help translate words into action when it comes to addressing the climate crisis’. The article includes a comment from Claire who says, ‘It’s all very well and good to make the pledges, but how do you make these into translatable actions? The law can be a very powerful force in that.”

The event was also a time to remember Clare Radcliffe who sadly passed away at the beginning of the year. Clare was dedicated to making a positive change, and was a leading figure in GLD’s work for COP26. In tribute to Clare, her work and exceptional legacy, a plaque in the conference centre garden in Glasgow was unveiled at COP26.

Lead image photo credit: UNFCCC_COP26_31Oct21_OpeningPlenary_KiaraWorth-37

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