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Reflections from the Opening Ceremony

Delegate reflections and updates direct from the first week of COP26.

During the Opening Ceremony, there was a clear call from Sir David Attenborough, COP26 People’s Advocate, to the world leaders attending COP26 that humanity ‘is already in trouble’. He stressed that a motivation for the negations ‘must not be fear but hope’.

You can watch his full address here:

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

This speech was followed by a direct call to action from Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, where she urged world leaders to ‘try harder’:

1.5C is what we need to stay alive – two degrees is a death sentence for the people of Antigua and Barbuda, for the people of the Maldives, for the people of Dominica and Fiji, for the people of Kenya and Mozambique – and yes, for the people of Samoa and Barbados. We do not want that dreaded death sentence and we have come here today to say ‘try harder, try harder’. Because our people, the climate army, the world, the planet, needs our action now – not next year, not in the next decade.

–Mia Mottley, (2021)

You can watch her full speech here:

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Kenyan climate activist, Elizabeth Wathuti, also gave a powerful presentation where she called on world leaders to ‘open your hearts and act!’. She made it clear that ‘children can not live on words and empty promises’.

You can hear her full speech here:

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Combined, these opening speeches set a clear tone for COP26 which feels like one of a moral obligation for taking action on climate change. These were powerful and passionate opening statements – and it will be interesting to see how these words translate into actions and commitments over the coming weeks!

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Learning for a Sustainable Future: Live at COP26

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