COP26: Climate activist Vanessa Nakate calls for 'full representation' at Glasgow summit

·2-min read

A climate activist is calling for the landmark COP26 conference to include "voices from the most affected communities" and "full representation" from around the world.

Vanessa Nakate said there was "always an imbalance" between the numbers of black and white activists at key climate events and called for COP26 to be different.

Sky is sponsoring the climate summit, which is due to be hosted by the UK in Glasgow in November.

Speaking to Sky News, the Ugandan campaigner said: "When you look at the number of white activists and activists from countries like mine, or activists from, you know, Africa, there is always an imbalance.

"There is under representation of those from the global south and we see more of activists from the global north.

"And yet every activist has a story to tell and every story has a solution to give and every solution has a life to change.

"We will not be able to have climate justice if we do not include every community."

The 24-year-old was cropped out of a picture taken with a group of white activists in Davos in January 2020, which she said was "hurtful" and made her feel her "presence was erased".

She added that climate activism had become a "big thing" in Uganda because people recognise the increasing future threats.

"In the beginning when I started, it wasn't a very big thing, but right now as I speak, climate activism is a very big thing because the number of activists who are doing incredible work from different parts of the country," she said.

"There are so many young people who are coming up to speak up for the planet because they are seeing the dangers that we are in. Our future is at stake.

"The upcoming COP26 conference, I believe it could be physical with us being there, with people meeting physically.

"There should be a change at this COP of this year to have voices from the most affected communities.

"We want to see full representation in these high-level events because many times we do not see activists from the most affected communities.

"I think organisations who make this happen for climate activists, I think now is the time for them to balance the representation of activists at these conferences.

"It shouldn't look like an organisation has invited an activist maybe from Uganda or an activist from Africa - it shouldn't look like that was an option so that they show that they have a black activist among their delegated activists.

"There should be full representation from the global south and the global north."

She added that if "the leaders hear from the voices that are being affected", then they will "get a certain guilt in their conscience to take the action that we deserve".