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Practical Action at


UN Climate Change Conference 2021


What is COP26?

COP26 is the next annual meeting of the UN Climate Change Conference, the world’s most important summit on climate change. COP stands for Conference of the Parties, the countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which was adopted in 1992. Most climate experts describe COP26 as the most significant climate moment since the 2015 Paris Agreement, as countries will report on how they have progressed in implementing the Agreement. COP26 will be the first opportunity to see if we are on track to respond to the multiple challenges presented by the climate emergency and where more efforts are required.

Why is Practical Action at COP26?

This is a critical time for the world, especially the most climate-vulnerable. At COP26, our team will share the lessons and amplify the voices of the communities we work with on the frontline of climate change. These communities know what needs to change and which solutions work best for them. We need to urgently scale these up while we still can.

We need action and finance to protect low-income and frontline communities from the ongoing and future impacts of climate change. We need to drive livelihood improvements, biodiversity restoration, and job creation to deliver a just transition to an environmentally friendly, regenerative economy. And we need more of the right types of finance and solutions to flow to those most in need.

What do we bring to COP26?

We bring real-world experience and solutions that work to the climate debate. Central to our climate advocacy is building support for participatory approaches that deliver climate action for people on the frontlines. Climate action must be inclusive, build women’s leadership, empower voices from the global south, and deliver the bigger systems change required.

We are already a trusted partner influential with governments and decision-makers from the community and district to national and global scales. We are committed to working with frontline communities to ensure that they are treated as rightsholders instead of beneficiaries. At COP26, we will continue to emphasise that decisions taken at the global level should lead to national actions with local communities’ active participation.

How are we involved?

At the climate negotiations, our team will support delegates from the global south, offering our expertise and evidence from over fifty years of work with local communities.

As an official observer of the UN Climate Change Conference for the sixth year running, we will leverage that expertise to ensure the needs of frontline communities are front and central to the negotiations.

We are a member of the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance, a global multi-sector partnership that builds community resilience to floods, a climate and weather related hazard affecting hundreds of millions of people every year. Find out more about what the Alliance is doing at COP on our Flood Resilience Portal.


Our five main asks for COP26

Limit Warming to 1.5°C

Deep decarbonisation is required to limit future global temperature rise to a maximum of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Each increase in temperature rise adds to the severity of climate impacts.

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Scale Up Climate Finance

Climate finance needs to be increased considerably with at least 50% of public climate finance dedicated to adaptation in the form of grants. Loss and Damage must also be allocated new and additional finance.

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Address Loss and Damage

Many low-income and vulnerable communities around the world are facing loss and damage from climate impacts. Climate change is disproportionately affecting those who contribute the least to the problem. This needs to be acknowledged and addressed urgently.

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Drive Inclusive Action

All climate action must be grounded in a whole-of-society approach that includes women, youth, low-income and marginalised groups, and Indigenous Peoples. Only a diverse and inclusive COP that recognises these groups as rights-holders can overcome the blockages that stand in the way of progress.

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Where to find Practical Action at COP26?

Practical Action Booth

Green Zone

1 & 2 November 2021, All day, Stand C5

Practical Action is hosting an exhibition stand in the COP26 Green Zone where we will be showcasing some inspiring, innovative solutions that are already tackling climate change – including our own work supporting communities in Sudan. If you can’t make it to Glasgow in person, you can still visit the Green Zone virtually. Google’s online Digital Green Zone is showcasing stories from exhibitors via the Google Arts & Culture platform.

CAN Press Conference: Loss and Damage and the Progress of the WIM

Blue Zone

Thursday 4 November 2021, 09:00-09:45

COP26 must deliver on Loss and Damage. Practical Action, with partners, has undertaken an independent review of the progress of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage (WIM). This press conference will share the findings of the review, highlighting areas where progress has been made and where more work is required to ensure the global community is focussed on the priorities to address loss and damage in the most climate impacted communities.

“How to Use Renewable Energy to Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Economies that are Good for the Planet?”

Blue Zone

Monday 8 November 2021, 17:00-17:45

Productive uses of renewable energy in agriculture have the potential to achieve “triple wins” for rural poverty reduction, climate change adaptation and mitigation. We will address the trade-offs between achieving energy access for productive uses in agriculture through renewable energy and doing it in economically and environmentally sustainable ways. This session will bring together members from both the agriculture and energy access sector.

Speakers: Mattia Vianello (Head of Energy, Practical Action), Koen Peters (CEO, GOGLA), Maria Goss, (Agriculture Systems and Innovation Lead, Practical Action), Liva Kaugure (Natural Resource Officer, FAO), Petra Hans (Lead of Agriculture, Ikea Foundation – TBC).

“Lessons from the Frontline: How can NbS Deliver Development and Climate Benefits?”


Tuesday 9 November 2021, 7:30-9:00

Organisers: IIED, Farm Africa, Farmers Seed Network China, RSPB, Practical Action

This session shares evidence on how nature-based solutions (NbS), when done well, can help address those interconnected challenges. Building on case studies from the frontline and engaging with participants, the session will highlight key ingredients for success and challenges and opportunities for NbS to deliver development and climate benefits on the ground.

Chris Henderson (Head of Agriculture, Practical Action) will be present as co-facilitator.

“Opportunities for Green and Grey Infrastructure to Increase Flood Resilience”


Tuesday 9 November 2021, 14:30-16:00

Organisers: WWF, WB, IFRC, Practical Action

This session will discuss the opportunities and challenges of green infrastructure for flood resilience and how it can be combined with hybrid solutions and grey infrastructure. Practical examples and experiences from community level will be presented from organisations and participants. The potential for partnerships and collaboration on NbS for flood resilience in disaster management contexts will be explored. Speakers include WWF, Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance and World Bank.

Speakers: Colin McQuistan (Practical Action), Anita van Breda (WWF).

Climate Risk and Security Virtual Pavilion

Blue Zone & Online

Tuesday 9 November 2021, 15:30-17:00

Organisers: UNEP, Chatham House

Dr Dharam Uprety (Practical Action) will join other experts to discuss climate risks and the world security impacts of climate change.

“How are Vulnerable Countries Responding to Loss and Damage and What Support Do They Need?”

Blue Zone

Thursday 11 November 2021, 16:45 – 18:00 Lomond Auditorium 144 pax

This event will provide a presentation of case studies on national preparedness for loss and damage. What are the challenges and opportunities for developing countries, local governments and communities as loss and damage impacts accelerate? This session will highlight the mechanisms required to strengthen global solidarity.

Speakers: Reinhard Mechler (IIASA), Sunil Acharya (Practical Action), Asim Saqlain (Oxfam Pakistan), Dr Yiqing Song (Nanning Green Seeds Poverty Alleviation Service Centre), Speaker (Prakriti Resources Centre), Speaker (Government of Nepal).

Snapshots from our work

As Practical Action, we are committed to working with communities on the frontlines of climate change. Below are three examples of our successful projects that have transformed rural lives and livelihoods in Peru, Sudan, and Nepal. Our projects are designed, managed, and implemented with local communities in the driving seat. These projects serve as evidence to support our five asks for COP26, proving that it is possible to achieve big strides in climate change adaptation through locally-led and inclusive solutions that generate livelihoods, protect biodiversity, and reduce or prevent exposure to slow-onset and extreme weather events.

Coffee agroforestry as a win-win solution in Peru

Coffee is the second most popular drink globally and the most important agricultural commodity in Peru. The unpredict...

Community-based land and water management for adaptation at scale in Sudan

Changes in the reliability and intensity of rainfall add stress to farming systems already under pressure from popula...

Bio-dykes: Working with nature to reduce flood losses

The Terai plains in Nepal are inhabited by indigenous communities farming soils enriched by annual floods. Climate ch...

Building flood resilience in vulnerable communities

Floods affect more people globally than any other type of natural hazard and cause huge economic, social and humanita...

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