GLASGOW City Council today launches an appeal for 1,000 volunteers to help support the staging of the UK’s most prestigious international gathering: the United Nations’ Conference of the Parties climate change summit.
The COP26 event, which will run from November 1 to 12 at the Scottish Event Campus, is due to see scores of world leaders descend on Scotland in what will be the largest such gathering ever to take place in the UK.
Among those expected to attend will be Joe Biden, the new US President, Xi Jinping, the President of China, and Hassan Rouhani, the President of Iran, who studied law in the mid-1990s at Glasgow Caledonian University.
Alongside experts and campaigners, the heads of government will to try to find an agreement to cut carbon emissions and turn back the tide of global warming with an emphasis on each country producing ambitious so-called Nationally Determined Contributions, setting out credible plans to achieve net zero targets.
A variety of volunteer roles will be available in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, including providing information on the conference and the venues, supporting delegates staying in and travelling around the city, and promoting the best of what Glasgow and Scotland has to offer.
Ahead of taking on their roles, volunteers will receive a workshop on sustainability from the UN and be given the training and tools required to carry out their roles successfully and confidently.
COP26 was postponed by a year to November 2021 to allow time to deliver a successful summit while the world tackles the pandemic.
The Cabinet Office in Whitehall made clear that it remained the intent to hold the summit in person while putting the health and wellbeing of all involved at the centre of future decisions about the event.
Susan Aitken, Leader of the City Council, said: “Glasgow has firmly established itself among the best in the world at hosting world-class events and volunteers have long been at their centre. Our COP26 volunteers will provide delegates and visitors with our world-famous warm Glasgow welcome, ensuring they have the best possible experience.
“We are proud to be staging COP26 and I would encourage anyone interested in grasping this opportunity to step forward and be part of our volunteering team. You will be joining a collective of people who share your enthusiasm for the event, the cause and our vibrant city.”
Alok Sharma, the COP26 President, explained: “Time and time again, we see the generosity of the great British public in making global events a triumph and we are asking you to play a part in making COP26 a huge success.
“This is an exciting opportunity to volunteer in Glasgow and help us all tackle climate change.”
David Duguid, the Scotland Office Minister, added: “COP26 is an exciting opportunity to showcase Glasgow and Scotland on the world stage. It will be pivotal for international environment action, addressing how society can tackle climate change and plan a brighter future for generations to come.
“We urgently need to protect our planet and I urge people to apply for this rare opportunity to volunteer to help the running of a global event. It’s an opportunity to gain valuable experience personally and professionally. If interested, I encourage people to apply as early as possible.”
As part of the recruitment launch, local volunteering ambassadors from across Glasgow have stepped up to be the face of the campaign and encourage others to get involved.
They spoke about their experience of volunteering and its many benefits, including gaining valuable life and career experience and new skills, meeting new people, having fun and feeling part of a community.
Proud Glaswegian Karen Donaldson from Cardonald, who volunteered at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and Glasgow Doors Open Day, said: “Being part of the volunteering programme is a cracking opportunity to represent your city. Through volunteering I’ve learned so many things and met so many people.
“Volunteering at COP26, in particular, will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance so for anyone thinking of applying, my advice would be: do it! Event volunteering is such a buzz, you get so much from it and it opens your mind. There’s also a community spirit among all the volunteers. You’re joining people from all walks of life and it gives you a warm feeling to know you’re part of that team.”
Scott Twigg from Govanhill, who is originally from Liverpool but has lived in Glasgow for five years, shared his reasons for getting involved, saying: “I’m very passionate about climate change so the COP26 volunteer programme is a fantastic opportunity for me to follow that passion and represent the city I love and call home, to an international audience.
“Whether you want to have new experiences, learn new skills or represent your city, I recommend you take this opportunity to be involved in a collective, collaborative effort in Glasgow and make it your own. It’s a really exciting thing to be part of and I personally hope to come away with a fantastic experience that I’ve learned from and can use in the future.”
Any person interested in volunteering is invited to step forward and submit their application at www.ukcop26.org/volunteer. Applications are open now until Wednesday March 31