The Foreign Affairs Committee (FCO) has announced today (March 27) the launch of a new inquiry into environmental diplomacy.
The inquiry will examine how the FCO conducts environmental diplomacy, the UK’s current strategy to bring government departments together, and the management between environmental goals and other diplomatic tensions.
The committee will also focus on preparations for COP26, speaking to other recent host countries in an attempt to learn from their experiences.
The committee has said they welcome written evidence on what environmental diplomacy should look like, how the UK’s environmental and decarbonisation goals interact with other diplomatic priorities, and how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the UK’s approach to environmental diplomacy.
They are also asking for submissions on what role the FCO should have in preparing and setting objectives for COP26, and what needs to be done to ensure that COP26 is successful.
Submissions should be no longer than 3,000 words and should be submitted by May 4.
Chair of the foreign affairs committee, Tom Tugendhat MP, said: ‘Cooperating to manage and even reverse the causes of a changing climate transcends borders demands international cooperation and scientific understanding.
‘Diplomacy has a critical role to play in the coordinated effort against climate change, and the annual COP summits provide a moment to bring world leaders and experts together to assess the continuing challenges and pace of progress.
‘These conferences have proved indispensable, but this year’s is in doubt. Containing the spread of coronavirus and mitigating the damage caused by COVID-19 will be more pressing, but the UK must retain a focus on COP26 if it is to be worthwhile.
‘This unprecedented pandemic makes it reckless to bring people together. It is clear that in order to ensure that COP26 is a success, it must be postponed.
‘COP26 was only part of the environmental strategy of the FCO. This inquiry will examine the effectiveness of the FCO’s wider commitment and ask what more can be done to ensure that environmental diplomacy is a coherent element within the UK’s strategy for global engagement.’
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