Intersectionality, MAPA and the COP26 Are The Central Themes of This Year’s Global Climate Strike

Intersectionality, MAPA and the COP26 Are The Central Themes of This Year’s Global Climate Strike

On the 24th of September, millions of people worldwide are expected to take to  the streets in this year's climate strikes. Fridays for Future (FFF), the global movement leading the climate strikes, doubles down on demands for climate action and justice. Their claims resonate well with current issues around inclusivity of the next UN climate change conference, the COP26, in November. 

Ahead of the COP26, FFF urges leaders of the global north to drastically cut emissions and pay a climate debt for the most developed countries' disproportionate amount of emissions. Furthermore, they implore world leaders to recognize that the climate crisis is a serious risk to human safety and stop the violence against environmental land defenders. To the general public, FFF emphasizes that it needs to follow the lead of the most marginalized people and amplify and center their voices in the climate debate.

On top of these messages, this year’s FFF agenda is dominated by the intersectionality of climate justice. Intersectionality denotes the intersection of various identities, such as race and sex which creates systems of marginalization, discrimination, and disadvantage. In the context of climate change, the climate crisis intersects with and aggravates other socio-economic crises and vice versa. For instance, Environmental Racism describes the fact that black communities are hit worst by the effects of climate change. Therefore, overcoming climate injustice inevitably also calls for justice in issues of race, sex, and class. 

Intersectional justice is also highly relevant in light of the possible exclusion of Most Affected Peoples and Areas countries (MAPA) from the upcoming COP26 due to Covid-19 regulations. MAPA are the countries and communities which contribute least to climate change but suffer the most from its effects. MAPA countries’ delegates, mainly from Africa and Asia Pacific regions, might not be able to participate at the COP26 because they are unable to receive a vaccine or pay for quarantine to comply with the Covid-19 regulations in Glasgow. Consequently, the voices of the most marginalized sectors of society are threatened to be left unheard at the most important high-level climate change event of the year, thereby reinforcing the systematic marginalization of MAPA countries in climate change.