Civil Society and Youth Groups

Cop26 – in the House of Commons on 1st December 2021.

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Photo of David Simmonds David Simmonds Conservative, Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner

What steps he took to ensure that (a) civil society and (b) youth groups were included in the COP26 process.

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma Minister without Portfolio , COP26 President (Cabinet Office)

In the run-up to the summit, I met civil society and youth groups on international visits. We established the COP26 civil society and youth advisory council. I attended a Youth4Climate conference in Milan, and obviously the conference of youth in Glasgow. I can confirm that, at COP itself, we had over 160 youth, indigenous peoples and broader civil society speakers who participated in presidency-themed events.

Photo of David Simmonds David Simmonds Conservative, Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner

Does my right hon. Friend agree with me that it is an important feature of this COP event that so many young people’s voices were able to be heard, in particular through digital methods, such as the children of West Lodge Primary School in my constituency, who told me on Monday how much they had valued their opportunity to participate directly?

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma Minister without Portfolio , COP26 President (Cabinet Office)

My hon. Friend makes a really important point, and I want to pay tribute obviously to the children of West Lodge Primary School and also to him for all the work that he does in his constituency. We have an opportunity for all of us to play our part in tackling climate action, and we want to ensure during our presidency year that the voices of young people are integral to driving climate action.

Photo of Valerie Vaz Valerie Vaz Labour, Walsall South

I also pay tribute to the President of COP26 for the incredible work that he did. Has he had any discussions with the Egyptian Government about whether civil society groups can attend the fringe meetings, including very important people such as David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, and also first nations around the world that maybe did not have a seat at the table?

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma Minister without Portfolio , COP26 President (Cabinet Office)

I thank the right hon. Lady for her kind words. Obviously, we had some initial discussions with Egyptian colleagues at COP26 itself, but I hope to have a conversation with them, certainly before Christmas, and to visit Egypt again in the new year to talk about how we work in our presidency year as we move to COP27.