COP26 must address climate change and modern slavery: an open letter to Rt Hon Alok Sharma

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As the world welcomes the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in the UK, we’re pleased to publish a joint letter to the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, President of COP26, and Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed by 58 actors across the human rights, anti-slavery, environmental, academic and business sectors.

In this letter, we call for COP26 to address climate change and modern slavery and recommend that governments should recognise the links between climate induced migration and modern slavery, track climate-induced migration, include climate-induced risks of modern slavery in the tracking of displacement, and provide decent work for all workers in the renewable energy sector through a Just Transition plan.

The world is experiencing climate breakdown and an era where the provision of human rights and dignity is stalling. Something is broken and the status quo will not fix it.

This is the decade in which we must both collectively limit climate change and make our societies more equal and just. Otherwise, we will emerge from the global pandemic locked into a climate and poverty emergency in which already marginalised people are at risk of becoming exploited though forced labour, child slavery and forced marriage, and human trafficking.

COP26 must deliver on the vision of a global, just and transformational recovery that integrates, defends and expands human rights; and reduces inequality by prioritising the needs of the most affected, marginalised and discriminated people.

COP26 is also an important test of the Paris Agreement and an opportunity for governments of the world to raise their ambition in response to the climate crisis.

Download our letter to President Delegate, Rt Hon Alok Sharma here

Download the Modern Slavery Strategy Implementation Group’s International Task Force member briefing here

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