VIRTUAL ecumenical delegation to COP26, the UN Conference on Climate Change

October 25, 2021

A joint ecumenical delegation of the The United Church of Canada (UCCan) and For the Love of Creation (FLC) will virtually attend the United Nations Climate Change COP 26 being held October 31 – November 12, 2021.

In their summer 2021 report, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a Code Red for humanity and for the planet.  Now is the time for collective courageous action and leadership at a global level.   Everyday, citizens around the world are imploring governments to take real climate action to protect the creation they love and create a better future for everyone. Canada has the opportunity to build on the positive momentum generated earlier this year with the announcement of an enhanced emissions reduction target and the doubling of Canada’s climate finance commitment, as well as the passage of both Indigenous rights and climate accountability legislation. To avoid far-reaching, catastrophic consequences, however, at COP26 the Government of Canada still needs to align our emissions-reduction target with the Paris Agreement temperature goals and put a robust plan in place to ensure that that target is met. 

As churches working together in Canada under the banner of For the Love of Creation, COP26 presents a significant moment for us to engage collectively on the international stage. The UCCan-FLC delegation has the unique opportunity to follow the negotiations, connect with national and international climate justice advocates, engage with Canadian officials, and share their experiences with the broad, cross-Canada network of churches and faith-based organizations affiliated with For the Love of Creation.  Participation in the accredited spaces, where possible, is facilitated through The United Church of Canada’s accreditation.

The delegates are motivated by the shared belief that the global climate emergency is a moral and spiritual issue requiring urgent and decisive action.

They will also carry with them an awareness of who is not present. Due to the pandemic and inequitable global access to vaccines, it is expected that fewer Indigenous peoples and delegates from the Global South will be able to attend. 

Indigenous wisdom, knowledge, understanding of the land, and experience are integral to creating solutions to climate change, as is respect for human rights in all climate-related decisions. This includes implementation of the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

The perspectives, needs, and voices from the Global South are also essential in creating fair and meaningful climate solutions. In light of their reduced participation at COP26, the delegation will endeavour to amplify the Global South voices that are present, and diligently press for enhanced support for climate change adaptation and mitigation measures in countries most intensely impacted by the climate emergency.

Eight delegates have been selected from across the country. Some are justice staff, others are volunteers, and one is an ordained priest. All are affiliated with The United Church of Canada or another For the Love of Creation denomination or organization. They share a deep commitment to climate justice and bring with them a diverse range of knowledge, skills, and experiences including Indigenous perspectives and an understanding of the Global South:

  • Sabrina Chiefari, Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, Toronto, ON
  • Janet Gray, The United Church of Canada and KAIROS, Victoria, BC
  • Rev. Alecia Greenfield, Anglican Church of Canada, Vancouver, BC
  • Nelson Lee, Mennonite Central Committee, Vancouver, BC,
  • Karri Munn-Venn, Citizens for Public Justice, Luskville, QC
  • Darlene O’Leary, Sisters of St. Martha of Antigonish, Antigonish, NS
  • Tony Snow, The United Church of Canada, Calgary, AB
  • Stephanie Stringer, Development and Peace and the Anglican Church of Canada, Montreal, QC

Our delegation extends beyond the limited accredited spots to enable fuller representation and capacity to be able to follow the numerous events and to report back and engage during and after COP26.  Some of the delegation will be able to access accredited spaces and some will access numerous publicly available COP26 programs. All will work together to meet the goals of the delegation. 

The delegation will collaborate with several faith-based  and secular civil society delegations, including the World Council of Churches, GreenFaith/Faiths4ClimateJustice, Action by Churches Together, and Climate Action Network-Canada. Be sure to follow the delegation’s activities at COP26 by following #FLCCOP26, #UCCanCOP26 on Facebook and Instagram. Updates and stories and calls to action from the delegation will be posted as they share their virtual experience of this international gathering.

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