Council leader granted funding to attend COP27 in Egypt

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Glasgow City Council’s leader, Susan Aitken, will embark on the trip from November 6-18 this year.

Glasgow’s city leader has vowed to broach the issue of human rights at Egypt’s COP27 as the local authority agreed to fund her £3000 trip.

Members of the city administration committee have agreed that council leader Susan Aitken should attend the conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, which is being held from November 6 – 18 this year.

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COP26 saw world leaders descend on Glasgow to discuss climate change, sustainable transport and supporting greener economic development.

The issue was discussed at this morning’s City Administration Committee meeting.

SNP councillor Greg Hepburn said: “As colleagues will know, Glasgow hosted COP26 and took on an active role in participating both through leadership, building networks and hosting discussions about the climate crisis that we all face.

“Given the need to address global climate issues, our own commitments which must extend beyond our role as COP26 hosts, it is only appropriate that Glasgow is represented at this event.”

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During the event Cllr Aitken is expected to sign a charter on sustainability, lead a mayoral discussion with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe on cities and climate finance, participate with partners on events around the Glasgow Declaration on Food and Climate, which was created for COP26, and take up a potential role as an ambassador for ICLEI on social justice.

A report approved by councillors listed the cost of the trip including around £1,500 for flights to Sharm El-Sheikh and £1,800 to cover hotel accommodation for four nights.

During the meeting the Green group presented an amendment which asked the leader of the council to engage in talks regarding freedom of expression and the right to protest publicly in Egypt.

Councillor Jon Molyneux said: “Colleagues will remember from the event last year that civil society activism is central to the success of these talks. We recognise that within motions that we passed as a council ahead of COP26.

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“As a council we played a part in facilitating protests but in Egypt, my understanding is that protests will only be permitted in a designated area that is held well away from the talks themselves.

“The current Egyptian Government has a record of not allowing dissent and there are several political prisoners including human rights activists and journalists who are detained unlawfully.

“The amendment asks that the leader addresses these concerns which I am absolutely sure she will share whenever she has the opportunity to do so.”

Councillor Aitken said she would work to address these concerns either ahead of time or during the conference.

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She said: “The venue of Egypt was the UN’s choice. It was designated to be an African COP this year and that does present some challenges around the freedom to protest and mobilise as activists or a civil society in the way you described.

“It is entirely appropriate that those of us who value that make those representations. It is my expectation that the Scottish Government will be meeting the particular groups that you cite in your amendment and that I would have the ability to be part of those meetings.

“I will certainly endeavour to make those connections either ahead of or during the summit.”

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