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As the climate summit draws to a close, the COP26 Plenary Room ‘Pen Y Fan’ was filled to capacity by the UN constituencies representing civil society groups and climate justice movements from across the globe to stand firm on the just and urgent outcome needed at COP26.

They delivered the People’s Declaration for Climate Justice to the UN Climate Summit, which reads:

The time for words without action has come and gone. We no longer have the luxury of time to sit back and allow governments and private interests to destroy our future. Scientific predictions are increasingly dire; it is not hyperbolic to assert that the very future of humanity depends on the outcomes of these negotiations. Governments must immediately heed the growing demands of those already facing crisis and those who will face crisis and bravely reimagine our world in a way that guarantees everyone the right to live with dignity and in harmony with our planet.”

Speaking at the People’s Plenary were representatives of the UNFCCC civil society constituencies: Indigenous People, farmers & peasants, youth, women & gender, trade unions, disabled people, independent researchers, academic institutions and environmental NGOs.

Hundreds of people then left the plenary, holding red lines to symbolise the lines which have been crossed by the UN Climate Summit COP26. They have paraded to the main gates, to be met by a rally of climate justice movements. 

Ta’Kaiya Blaney, Indigenous Peoples said: “Cop26 is a performance. It is an illusion constructed to save the capitalist economy rooted in resource extraction and colonialism. I didn’t come here to fix the agenda – I came here to disrupt it.” 

Tasneem Essop from CAN International said: “As we sit in our People’s Plenary, those leaders have been busy signing off and deleting the things we’ve fought for from the agreement. Human, indigenous and gender rights have been signed out of the text.”

Jason Boberg of the Disability Caucus said: “People with disabilities are on the frontlines of climate change, and on the frontlines of the eco-ableist responses to it. Disabled people are literally left behind to die. This is a choice governments are making. There is no climate justice without accessibility.”

Soumya Dutta, from Demand Climate Justice: “We want to tell these frauds and so-called leaders, the puppets of the financial world, that you are committing not only the biggest crime in human history against humanity, not only is this the biggest crime in a generation, this is the biggest crime against all life.”

Joseph Sikulu Pacific Climate Warriors

“Those fighting the fight on the inside and those fighting on the outside are part of the same movement: we’ve always been at COP one foot inside, one outside. This could have been a much worse agreement and the intensive efforts of Indigenous, feminist, trade unions and climate justice movements have prevented big polluters from entirely rigging the COP26 agenda. But there is still a long way to go, the work is just beginning.”