COP26: Call for rich countries to 'pay up' billions in climate aid as UN summit in Scotland looms

Farmers from some of the world's poorest and most climate-hit communities have hit out at rich nations over their failure to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, in a damning letter that will be presented to world leaders at the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

The open letter, drafted on behalf of 1.8 million Fairtrade farmers and agricultural workers from across the globe, accuses developed countries of “reckless harm” to the planet, failure to cut greenhouse gas emissions and exploitation of land workers.

The countries are being urged to honour their pledges to provide $100 billion in annual finance to low-income nations disproportionately hit by the environmental crisis.

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Titled ‘Be fair with your climate promise’, the letter states: “We grow the food eaten at the tables of people all around the world, as well as other essential produce.

Coffee farmers in Kenya grow crops enjoyed the world over, but are among those dealing with the most severe impacts of climate change

“But our ability to do so has been badly damaged by the reckless harm done to our environment from years of broken promises concerning the climate crisis.

“You promised to cut the emissions that drive extreme weather, which dry up our fields one day and flood them the next.

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“But emissions are increasing dangerously while your ambition remains too low.

“You promised to provide climate finance, to help us keep growing food despite the changing weather.

“But next to nothing is reaching us.

“You promised to change business from exploiter to partner.

“But shareholders earn billions while millions of farmers earn less than a dollar a day.”

In 2009, the world’s richest nations pledged to provide $100 billion of funding every year by 2020 to help developing countries tackle the climate crisis.

That goal has never been reached.

The contributions include loans and grants, plus private investments which public bodies help mobilise.

Kate Nkatha Ochieng, Fairtrade Africa’s commercial director, is part of the delegation representing farmers at COP26 in Glasgow.

“World leaders must pay attention to this urgent call for action from Fairtrade farmers,” she said.

“For generations the exploitation of people and planet has caused extreme global inequality and a climate emergency.

“Wealthy nations must deliver on their promise to invest in tackling climate change right now.

“After decades of all-talk-and-no-action, the UN COP26 is our last best chance to change our collective fate and prioritise farming communities already living with the harsh effects of climate change.”

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