The Success or Failure of COP26 Will Be Measured in Action

November 17, 2021

Statement from Tjada D’Oyen McKenna, Chief Executive Officer of Mercy Corps

“The 26th Conference of Parties conference in Glasgow brought much-needed recognition that a changed and more dangerous climate is already the lived reality for communities around the world and that adaptation is a vital necessity for survival. But the true test of success or failure at COP26 will not be in words and promises, but in action.

“There are, in the end, two critical commitments that must be made real: the reduction of emissions to hold warming at or below 1.5 degrees, and financial support for those communities already deeply affected by the climate crisis.

“The final Glasgow Climate Pact urged developed countries to finally deliver on promises made in 2009 to provide $100 billion in climate finance by 2025. Past failures to make good on this pledge leave our global community at a critical juncture. 

“Commitments such as the UK’s pledge to double climate finance, including to small island and African countries, and the Biden Administration’s PREPARE initiative are welcome, and their ultimate success will be determined by how donor governments deploy these new funds. The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero committed over $130 trillion to transforming the global economy. This, like most COP26 pledges, lacked details on its mobilization. To ensure funding goes to the most climate-vulnerable communities, these promises, new and old, must be tracked transparently, consistently, and with accountability.

“This COP the world heard the voices of women and men in low-income countries who are fighting for their lives and their futures against a changing climate. They spoke of loss and damage, of hardship and fear, but they also spoke of the tremendous opportunity for innovation and the strength of their communities. It is not too late to put our trust in those closest to the real world consequences of climate change; together we can live up to our commitments and be the stewards that our planet needs.”


Notes to editors:

  • The United States announced the PREPARE initiative, heralding President Biden’s intent to bring to bear a whole-of-government approach to supporting climate adaptation in vulnerable and developing countries around the globe and announced a request of $3 Billion USD by FY 2024 to support this initiative. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) committed to ensuring by the end of the decade at least 50% of USAID programming will be led by local communities, which will: co-design projects, set priorities, drive implementation, or evaluate the impact of programs.
  • The UK committed to double its climate finance to £11.6bn (April 2021 to March 2026) and committed new funding to small island nations and African states.
  • France pledged to increase its climate finance contribution to more than $7 billion per year.
  • The European Union committed to increase climate finance to $25 billion per year.
  • Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon committed £2million for the Glasgow Loss and Damage Facility. Scotland also doubled its climate justice fund to £36m.