Written evidence submitted by Dr Jennifer Allan, Lecturer in International Relations, University of Cardiff (COP0004)
I would highlight three issues, if I may:
- Gender diversity: the UN keeps tracks of the gender composition of bodies established to advance its work and of delegations. Only one woman on the team would certainly be noticed and commented on privately by parties, and publicly by the media, and NGOs. It’s essentially an unforced error that raises unnecessary questions of the quality of the UK’s leadership.
- Prioritized issues: I realized after the meeting that all of the speakers kept noting the need for 3-4 key issues that the Presidency will focus on. We could not name those priorities because they have not yet been articulated. By spring, there should be a clear statement of what a successful COP will look like, and what issues the Presidency expects to see parties produce positive outcomes.
- Heads of State: There is no need to invite heads of state. They were useful in Paris, but a disaster in Copenhagen and a distraction in Marrakech. Heads of State and Government need a role and there is no role for them at this COP. This is particularly true given the need to limit numbers on site due to COVID. Perhaps, at most, there could be an online session with Heads of State and Government, similar to the statements provided at the UN General Assembly’s Biodiversity Summit this past September.
Dr Jennifer Allan, Lecturer in International Relations, University of Cardiff