45 countries making up the Climate Vulnerable Forum released a statement calling for assurances that COP26 will happen in person in October to November this year.
They demanded: “We are calling for COP26 to deliver a “Climate Emergency Pact” to rebuild confidence in international climate cooperation, accelerate adaptation and to keep 1.5 degrees celsius within reach.”
The statement comes after a global coalition of green groups called for the climate talks to be delayed due to fears that delegates from vulnerable countries may face exclusion over vaccination status.
The world’s most vulnerable counties, however, rebuffed the suggestion that the talks should be postponed, saying: “This is the most important meeting for the future of the planet and it cannot wait.”
Representing some 1.2 billion people, the Climate Vulnerable Forum consists of countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific.
They instead called for support and “facilitated access” to ensure inclusive participation.
“Further postponement is unnecessary,” said Giza Gaspar-Martins, a climate diplomat from Angola, a red zone country.
“There are important items that need to be sorted. Delegations need not be large and side events can be significantly reduced. The UK must make the necessary adjustments to allow for inclusiveness.”
The UK government has agreed to pay the quarantine hotel expenses of any delegate, observer or media from a developing country. The government has also promised that delegates can received AstraZeneca vaccines if they have not had them in their home countries.
They have required any unvaccinated attendees from red zone countries to quarantine for 10 days ahead of the November conference.
Alok Sharma, the minister in charge of the climate talks, said: “COP26 has already been postponed by one year, and we are all too aware climate change has not taken time off.
“We are working tirelessly with all our partners, including the Scottish Government and the UN, to ensure an inclusive, accessible and safe summit in Glasgow with a comprehensive set of COVID mitigation measures.
“Ensuring that the voices of those most affected by climate change are heard is a priority for the COP26 Presidency, and if we are to deliver for our planet, we need all countries and civil society to bring their ideas and ambition to Glasgow.”
Carlos Fuller, a climate diplomat from Belize, an amber list country, said: “Vulnerable countries will suffer most if COP decisions are deferred. The UK is planning for a hybrid events. I think everything is still up in the air. If we cannot meet in person, we should meet virtually and adopt decision.”
The vulnerable nations have said that richer countries must fulfil their obligations to deliver $100bn in climate funds for each year between 2020 and 2024.
They want this money split 50:50 between cutting carbon and helping adapt to the adverse effects of rising temperatures.
The Climate Vulnerable Forum called on the “United Kingdom to take full responsibility for the development of the Delivery Plan”.