Anglican Communion COP26 Policy Brief presented to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church

5 November 2021

Anglican Communion COP26 delegation members, Dr Elizabeth Perry and Mr Nicholas Pande, present the policy document to Archbishop Justin Welby and Bishop Mark Strange.

The Anglican Communion delegation has now arrived in Glasgow, Scotland, and is actively engaging in the United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP26. On Monday 1 November the delegation presented the Anglican Communion’s COP26 Policy Brief to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop Mark Strange. They met at a prayer breakfast hosted by the Scottish Episcopal Church, to pray and share together at the start of COP26. Other Anglicans from around the Communion, also present at COP26, joined the prayer breakfast.

The policy brief is titled, Climate Resilience and Just Financing: Anglican Leadership for Climate Action and Climate Justice. It sets out these two interconnected policy priorities, areas in which the Member Churches of the Anglican Communion have specific expertise and concerns.

Climate resilience

As the frequency and severity of climate-related disasters intensify, communities everywhere – and especially those on the frontline of the climate crisis – are increasingly vulnerable. Building climate resilience is a necessary, practical, and pragmatic response to build communities’ adaptive capacity. This helps them to withstand both acute climate shocks and stressors, such as hurricanes or wildfires, and long-term, slow-onset events, such as shrinking water resources and rising seas levels.

Just financing

Building resilience requires adequate resources; without it, countries most impacted by climate change will be increasingly financially overburdened as they tackle loss and damages. Just financing, therefore, encompasses policies and initiatives that encourage and expect a sharing of burden – often whereby high-income countries, with fossil fuel driven economies and wealth derived from extractive industries, ensure that money is flowing to more vulnerable low-income countries.

Supporting resilience and just finance must include an analysis of the way in which climate change disproportionately impacts certain population groups. In particular, this policy brief engages with the unique insights of indigenous people and young people, and particularly women within these groups.

The brief highlights the Church as a critical actor for climate action and climate justice and showcases examples of how Anglicans have leveraged their experience, expertise and learning to contribute to global efforts to tackle climate change.

Finally, the brief focuses on specific policy areas and calls for concrete actions aimed at governments, multilateral organisations, financial institutions, the private sector, and civil society, including faith actors. It offers a series of policy recommendations under five themes:

  • critical importance of faith actors
  • building resilience
  • localisation of responses
  • just financing
  • technology transfer.

The brief has been drafted under the auspices of the Anglican Consultative Council’s COP26 Working Group in preparation for the 2021 UNFCCC COP26. The working group membership is drawn from the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, Anglican Indigenous Network, Anglican Youth Network, Anglican Alliance, Lambeth Palace, and the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations.  

Summary document

The key messages, executive summary and urgent call to action found in the Policy Brief for COP26 are also summarised in this short document.

ACC’s voluntary submission to COP26

COP26 is the first opportunity for the Anglican Consultative Council to participate as an admitted non-governmental organisation. The voluntary submission by the Anglican Consultative Council to COP26 addresses climate resilience, just finance and political courage.

This document opens with a quote from Archbishop Justin Welby: “Climate Change is the greatest challenge that we and future generations face. When we look at Jesus, we see one who instinctively stood alongside the most vulnerable in society. It is absolutely clear that following Jesus must include standing alongside those that are on the frontline of this unfolding catastrophe”.

Archbishop Justin Welby received the policy brief at a prayer breakfast, where he said: “I am here as a guest of the Scottish Episcopal Church, invited to come and support the work that the faith communities are doing at COP: firstly, to listen to the voices of the global south and indigenous peoples, to listen to their wisdom in dealing with the realities of climate change; secondly, to encourage where good things are happening; thirdly, to challenge; and, fourthly, to pray.”

Prayer requests

Please pray for the negotiations at COP26 that the governments will commit to real and transformative change for the wellbeing of humanity and all creation. Please pray for the role of the Anglican Communion delegation and other delegates as they engage in the process. Please also hold in prayer all those people and places experiencing the impact of climate change, that they might see a hopeful future.