On 12 November 2019, Richard, Christine and Scott from the GAF Executive Committee went along to a Scottish meeting of the recently formed COP26 coalition to talk about how we can get involved in Glasgow-based activities.
(If you’re new to the idea of the COP, this description should bring you up to speed…)
Over the course of 3 hours, we met representatives from around 40 other organisations with an interest in coordinating local and national events around COP26 in November.
Principles & Structure of the Coalition
The Coalition broadly exists to help coordinate fringe events around COP26 in November. As one attendee put it:
‘we don’t want Friends of the Earth marching through George Square on the same day as Greenpeace because nobody thought to tell each other’
The key principles of the Coalition were agreed to be that:
- We (the Coalition) want to form one broad, diverse and inclusive coalition to organise UK civil society around COP26
- The Coalition should represent a range of constituencies including trade unions, direct action networks, climate justice groups, environment and development NGOs, faith groups, students and youth, migrant and racial justice networks, and a liaison to global movements
- The Coalition should not be dominated by well-resourced groups
- The Coalition should work in a flexible and open process (particularly in the initial stages) that allows for different levels of access and involvement while keeping everyone informed
- The Coalition should provide a range of support for international groups.
Lots of discussion followed, and everyone agreed on an organisational structure where a London-based group would head up the UK-wide COP26 response, comprising of reps from a range of working groups:
- political strategy
- international liaison (because people from other countries will want to come and have their voices heard outside this UN event)
- mobilisation (i.e. organising group movements across the city where relevant)
A Scottish equivalent would be formed with a similar structure, and with a representative who then sits on the UK-wide group.
The idea is that attendees at this November meeting (including us, and maybe you!) would essentially organise their own campaigning and climate-awareness-raising activities under the broader organisational efforts of the Coalition.
Where Do Allotments Fit In?
Since 40 organisations will all have very different reasons for existing, we broke up into special interest groups. The three of us from GAF joined the food-growing group, along with a couple of folks from organisations who look at food-growing strategy across the city.
We decided we’d go back to our colleagues across Glasgow’s allotments and look at ways to raise awareness how people can perhaps get involved in food-growing (whether they have an allotment or not!) or perhaps make small changes to improve the sustainability of their lifestyles.
Next Coalition Meeting
On Tuesday 28 January, the Coalition will get together again. If it’s anything like the November meeting, it’ll be a lot of people in a room that can just about hold them and no more! We’ll probably be sending along one or two people to represent GAF, and we’ll report back shortly after.
How Can You Get Involved?
Do you have an idea for an activity on your site?
Could you bring your knowledge out to the community at an official event at the Science Centre in November?
Would you like to help out with coordinating food-growing and food-policy groups across Glasgow?
Let us know or come along to a GAF meeting and we’ll make sure to keep you included.