Context

The UNFCCC secretariat and the UK Government, the Scottish Government, and Glasgow City Council are pleased to welcome all participants to UNFCCC COP26, in particular to the pre-sessional meetings, the sessions of the COP, CMP, CMA and the subsidiary bodies (hereinafter referred to as “the Conference”); other meetings organised by the UNFCCC secretariat, for example, the meeting of the CDM Executive Board (hereinafter referred to as “the UNFCCC meetings”); and the associated World Leaders’ Summit (hereinafter referred to as “the WLS”)

The Conference, UNFCCC meetings and WLS have had to be adapted to enable the event to take place safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Protecting the health of participants and the local community, while at the same time enabling an effective, inclusive and safe Conference, UNFCCC meetings and WLS is of utmost importance. Everyone participating has an important role to play in keeping us safe.

To this end, all participants accredited by the UNFCCC secretariat and issued badges to attend and participate in the Conference, WLS and UNFCCC meetings (hereinafter collectively referred to as “the Participants”) must adhere to the COP26 COVID-19 requirements which are summarized below. These build on the regulations in place across England and Scotland.  Violations of COVID-19 requirements risk everyone’s safety, and as such they will be taken very seriously and may lead to the removal of conference accreditation (de-badging) or even criminal prosecution.

The Conference, UNFCCC meetings and WLS are guided by the highest ethical and professional standards, and all Participants are expected to behave with integrity and respect towards all other Participants.  

Applicability

This Code of Conduct summarises the COVID-19 requirements that all Participants (regardless of P&I status) must abide by and outlines the additional measures taken to ensure a safe conference. 

Its provisions also include those travelling in order to attend or facilitate the WLS, Conference or UNFCCC meetings even if not actually joining the WLS, Conference or UNFCCC meetings themselves.

Health Protocols

Registration / Vaccine Status

Accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccination status of Participants will help to inform health planning for the event.  

Participants should declare their COVID-19 vaccination status as part of the registration process within the UNFCCC online registration system. This information will also be used to inform the relevant travel exemptions.

Before Arrival in the UK

The UK Government has introduced COP26 specific changes to the travel rules for Participants arriving from overseas.

The rules for entering England and Scotland are based on where travellers have been in the 10 days immediately before they arrive. 

All Participants arriving from overseas must (regardless of P&I status): 

  • Take a pre-departure COVID-19 test in the 72 hours before departing to England or Scotland. You will be required to show evidence of a negative result before you start your journey and on arrival.
  • Complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) before arriving in the UK.
  • Provide, when asked, either:
    • If you are attending the Conference or UN meetings: the official confirmation letter from the UK Government which will be generated by the UNFCCC as part of your registration process and once you have confirmed that you will comply with this code, or
    • If you have been invited to attend or facilitate WLS: the official confirmation letter from the UK Government sent to Heads of Missions once they have confirmed that all named individuals in their WLS delegations will comply with this code. 
  • Take a COVID-19 PCR test within 48 hours of arrival.
  • Take a COVID-19 PCR test on day 8 if you are unvaccinated and have not been in or travelled through a red list country in the previous 10 days. This does not apply to those leaving the UK after fewer than 8 days. 

Additionally Participants who have been in or travelled through a red-list country in the previous 10 days must:

  • Quarantine, at the point of arrival, within approved Managed Quarantine Service (MQS) hotels. This quarantine stay must be booked before departing for England or Scotland and you may be asked to provide confirmation during your journey. 
  • Fully COVID-19 vaccinated Participants and Participants who are under the age of 18 (accompanied by a vaccinated responsible adult who is also a Participant) must quarantine for 5 days. (Participants are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after completing a full course of COVID-19 vaccinations. Participants who are required to go into MQS on arrival will need to have received their final vaccine dose at least 10 days before arrival in the UK, with the day of the final dose being day 0 and the day of arrival being day 10, to qualify for 5 days MQS.)
  • Non COVID-19 vaccinated Participants, and those who have not declared their vaccination status on the UNFCCC system must quarantine for 10 days.
  • During your stay in managed quarantine, you must comply with the MQS COVID-19 testing regime. This will be included as part of your MQS package. The testing protocol for MQS is as follows:
    • 10 day MQS (unvaccinated Participants): PCR tests will be required within the first 48 hours and on Day 8
    • 5 day MQS (fully vaccinated Participants): PCR tests will be required on Day 0 (day of arrival) and Day 3. You will also be required to do a Day 8 PCR test after leaving quarantine. 
  • If a positive COVID-19 test result occurs during this period, quarantine is extended by a further 10 days from the date of the positive test. 

The following Participants are exempt from managed quarantine including when arriving from, or having travelled through a red-list country in the previous 10 days, but are required to take a PCR test on their day of arrival (Day 0):

  • Individuals named on the WLS confirmation letter issued by the UK Government to Heads of Missions. This includes those invited by the UK Government to attend or facilitate the Conference and/or UNFCCC meetings in addition to the WLS. 
  • Ministerial Heads of Department plus two immediate staff members who are all part of their national delegation, all of whom must be named on the confirmation letter issued by the UK Government. 

During the Conference, WLS and UNFCCC meetings – testing, isolation and support

A comprehensive test, trace and isolate regime will be in place during the Conference, WLS and UNFCCC meetings to ensure the safety of Participants and the local community. 

All Participants must:

  • Complete self-administered daily COVID-19 Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests in their accommodation, throughout the duration of the Conference, WLS and the UNFCCC meetings. A negative test result will be required for entry each day to the Conference, WLS and UNFCCC meetings premises.  
  • Engage with any COVID-19 spot-testing regime or COVID-19 detection trial that may be in place within the Conference, WLS and UNFCCC meetings premises.

Any Participant that reports symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive on a daily LFD COVID19 test, must self isolate immediately and undertake a confirmatory COVID-19 PCR test. 

Any Participant who receives a positive COVID-19 PCR test result must:

  • Follow the COP26 COVID-19 isolation rules, as outlined here and isolate immediately in their existing accommodation for 10 full days.  Public transport should not be used. (If individuals are unable to self-isolate in existing accommodation for any reason the UK Government will find them suitable alternatives.)
  • Follow the COP26 COVID-19 reporting procedures, as outlined here and report their positive result. Participants will then receive advice and will be contacted directly by the National Health Services Test & Protect programme, by SMS (text), email or phone call. 
  • Engage with contact tracing, when asked to do so, and provide the relevant details to enable contact tracing to be conducted.

If individuals are unable to self-isolate in existing accommodation for any reason the UK Government will find them suitable alternatives

Any Participant who is contacted by NHS Test & Protect must follow the advice given to them in relation to their need to take a COVID-19 test and isolate. This advice may differ from published guidance based on an individual risk assessment taking into account vaccination status and previous infection history.

Within the Conference, WLS and UNFCCC Meeting Premises

Within the Conference, WLS and UNFCCC meetings premises to protect individuals and the Conference/WLS/UNFCCC meetings from any potential spread, Participants are requested to maintain 1 metre of physical distancing (measured shoulder to shoulder). To ensure distancing is maintained, Participants should follow sign-posting and instructions from staff and should not move furniture. 

Participants must wear face coverings except when eating, drinking, sitting in office spaces/meetings, sitting to perform negotiations, or are medically exempt. Hand sanitiser stations will be located throughout the Conference, WLS and UNFCCC meetings premises and Participants should make frequent use of them.

Regular cleaning of all surfaces will take place throughout the Conference, WLS and the UNFCCC meetings and deep cleaning of all rooms will be undertaken regularly throughout the day. We ask Participants to ensure events / meetings finish in a timely manner to ensure the cleaning teams have sufficient time to do their valuable work.

Outside of the Conference, WLS and UNFCCC Meeting Premises

Outside of the Conference, WLS and UNFCCC meetings premises, including within public spaces, hospitality venues, accommodation and on public transport, all Participants must adhere to the relevant local COVID-19 measures and restrictions that apply at the time.

These include the wearing of face coverings in indoor public spaces (unless eating, drinking or seated in a hospitality setting) and on public transport which is mandated in Scotland by law, unless medically exempt. 

It is unlikely you will spend all your time in the UK inside the Conference, WLS and UNFCCC meeting premises. Fringe events, retail and hospitality venues that have adopted similar COVID-19 safety measures as the Conference, WLS and UNFCCC meeting premises will be prominently displaying their COP26 Enhanced Business Accreditation Scheme credentials. It is preferred that you focus your time outside the venues in such ‘accredited’ locations to safeguard the public and the Conference. 

Breaches of the Code of Conduct

Any breaches of this Code of Conduct will be dealt with by the UNFCCC Secretariat individually. The UNFCCC Secretariat will take the necessary measures in order to address such breaches adequately, as soon as possible and usually within 24 hours, in order to ensure a safe Conference. Such breaches may lead to a temporary suspension from the event and serious breaches may lead to de-badging. Criminal prosecutions may also be pursued if serious breaches occur.  

The following is a non-exhaustive list of serious breaches:

  • Providing false information on vaccination status in order to qualify for a shorter Managed Quarantine period
  • Failing to undergo, when required, or leaving Managed Quarantine before the required period of time
  • Failure to comply with Managed Quarantine testing requirements and COVID19 protocols where applicable
  • Falsifying information on a Passenger Locator Form or failing to complete a PLF
  • Failure to comply with the required COP26 COVID-19 testing regime
  • In the event of a positive COVID-19 test, deliberately failing to record or falsifying the test result
  • In the event of a positive COVID-19 test, failing to observe self-isolation protocols
  • Failure to comply with testing or isolation advice from NHS Test and Protect
  • Failure to engage with the contact tracing process


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