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Poor countries say lack of vaccines may exclude them from climate talks


Poor countries say lack of vaccines may exclude them from climate talks
Vials labelled, AstraZeneca, Pfizer – Biontech, Johnson & Johnson, Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine are seen in this image taken May 2 this year - (Reuters)

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LONDON – The world’s poorest countries asked for more help on Friday to meet vaccination and quarantine requirements and costs to ensure they can take part in next month’s global climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

The talks aim to spur bigger commitments to start reducing man-made greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and keep the rise in the global average temperature since pre-industrial times to well below 2 degrees Celsius to stave off the worst effects of climate change.

“Delegates from the LDC Group remain concerned about the logistics of getting to Glasgow,” Sonam Phuntsho Wangdi of Bhutan, chair of the group of the 46 Least Developed Countries (LDC), said in a statement.

“Our countries and our people are among the worst affected by climate change – we must not be excluded from talks deciding how the world will deal with this crisis, determining the fate of our lives and livelihoods.”

About 20 LDCs, such as Ethiopia, Haiti, and Bangladesh, are on Britain’s coronavirus “red list”, which means their delegates will have to quarantine in a hotel for up to 10 days before attending the “COP 26” talks, which run from October 31 to November 12.

Britain said it would pay the quarantine costs of delegates from red list countries and has cut the time to five days from 10 for those who are vaccinated.

It has also said it is distributing COVID-19 vaccines to delegates struggling to get them.

On Tuesday, Climate Action Network (CAN), a coalition of more than 1,500 environmental groups, called for the talks to be postponed because of delegates’ difficulties in obtaining vaccines.

CAN said Britain had been slow to provide the vaccines it promised, and many countries were likely to miss out.