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Economic development and COP26

For the first time, the UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 1st-12th November 2021, in partnership with Italy. COP26 brings parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

In our December 2020 member survey, IED members were asked about their awareness of COP26 and its relevance to them. 53% of responding members said they were aware and that it is relevant to their work/organisation, 32% said they were not aware, and 15% said they were aware but that it is not relevant to their work/organisation. Separately, climate change/environmental issues was identified by responding members as a Top 5 key topic for CPD and a Top 5 priority for the IED to champion.

The IED Board subsequently formed a working group around COP26 and we undertook a member survey in May/June 2021 to gather more insight on related areas. This found that:

• 62% of respondents said that their organisation has a formal plan to deal with its impact on lowering carbon.

• 58% of respondents said their organisation has a strategy to influence the local economy to address climate change issues.

• 42% of respondents expressed interest in submitting an article, sharing resources, or taking part in an IED-run webinar related to COP26.

• 29% of respondents said that they, or their organisation, has plans to directly participate in COP26.

For economic development professionals leading or supporting growth, regeneration and placemaking initiatives, climate change and environmental issues (and the drive for net zero carbon emission locally) are at the uppermost of their thinking. As of August 2021, around three quarters of UK local authorities have declared a climate emergency. Councils are taking action to reduce their own carbon emissions and working with partners and local communities to tackle the impact of climate change on their local area. A dedicated COP26 local government day will take place on 11th November.

Economic development and regeneration consultancies, many of whom are IED members, are busy supporting national and local government with their climate response. In further and higher education institutions, another key area of IED membership, a number of UK universities and colleges have declared a climate emergency, which recognises the scale of the crisis and the need to act urgently in response.

Here you will find:

• Member resources, case studies and blogs that show how organisations are tackling climate change issues and sustainability from an economic development perspective.

• Details of our online events related to COP26, and the longer term issues around climate change/environmental issues facing our sector.

• Updates on CPD on climate change/environmental issues topics offered for 2021-22.

The IED’s quest to convene the discussion around economic development and climate change/environmental issues (sharing knowledge, examples of best practice and future thinking), amongst our membership and beyond, will continue long after COP26 has ended.