When discussing the Brazil Climate Action Hub at COP26, it is necessary to go back in time. More than just a physical space, right after COP25 in Madrid, in 2019, the Hub continued as a permanent space for the exchange of information about the international climate agenda and for consultations regarding the preparations for COP26. In almost two years, between one conference and another, with the support of the Institute for Climate and Society (iCS), Institute for Environmental Research of the Amazon (IPAM), the ClimaInfo Institute and several partners, the Hub became a space for debate on the most varied issues that could have an impact on this year’s conference — from the closing of the rulebook of the Paris Agreement, to the North American elections and the updating of the Brazilian NDC and the role of cities and states in the agenda.
During this period, we sought to capture the spirit of this initiative. What we discovered was that the most significant feature of the space is being a meeting point for good conversation, with a multi-sectorial, pluralistic, open and very respectful approach. A space for exchange in which all the people and organizations involved share a common view of an agenda for the future of Brazil, focused on solutions, each one considering its own role. What had already been a reference in Madrid, was strengthened in its coordination and was evident at COP 26.
With the support of several partners, the construction of the agenda sought to reflect the diversity of Brazilian society, presenting debates from the perspectives of civil society – not only traditional environmentalists, but also other groups, such as the black movement -, city and state governments, the business sector, the indigenous peoples and traditional populations and young people. Another strong feature of the Hub was the significant presence of parliamentarians and organizations that work with the legislative, in a reflection on the next steps for the implementation of the Paris Agreement within the Brazilian context.
Impact of the pandemic
This was a totally atypical COP. For a long period, the discussions of the Hub also revolved around the impact of the pandemic on the climate agenda and even to disseminate logistical information about the Conference, between its postponement in 2020 and its confirmation as a face-to-face event.
The uncertainties of the months prior to COP26 made the final period of coordination somewhat difficult, when organizations were overloaded with logistical issues. Until very close to the start of the event, in early October, Brazil was still on the red list for entry into the United Kingdom, the group of countries with significant travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With so many logistical uncertainties, our role was also to seek to keep the debate on strategy and negotiations active, and to adopt measures that could include those who would be left out of the conference due to these obstacles. An example is the broadcast of all the open events that took place at the Brazil Climate Action Hub, which are available on its website.
Fortunately, as a result of significant effort, what happened in practice was a much larger number of participants and visitors than had been imagined months before the conference, which also required a greater flexibility in order to accommodate agendas that had not been foreseen, thereby increasing the plurality and representativeness of the debates.
With the end of COP 26, the assessment is that the Brazil Climate Action Hub has once again become the home of Brazilians at the conference. Brazilian society has shown itself to be resilient, vibrant and eager to look to an agenda for the future. We need to take advantage of this moment to build possible paths. Next year, the challenge is to keep this network active, alive and increasingly closer to the international agenda, which now requires the monitoring of the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the commitments made by the various actors over the last two years.