COP26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, will be hosted in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November 2021 and will bring partners together to accelerate the goals of the “Paris Agreement" and tackle climate change.

The focus of Public Health Scotland (PHS) for the last 18 months has been on supporting the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In tandem, PHS is working with stakeholders to ensure plans are in place and we are ready to play our part in supporting the successful and safe delivery of COP26.

During COP26 tens of thousands of delegates and visitors will be welcomed to Scotland. Working with organisers, the UK Government, Scottish Government, NHS boards and other public health bodies, PHS will be conducting enhanced health surveillance throughout the period to identify any health protection issues.

Effective surveillance and response systems are already in place to identify and manage public health issues. We gather and examine information from GPs, hospitals, laboratories and NHS Boards for a range of infections and threats, including COVID-19, to the health of people in Scotland. The surveillance undertaken during COP26 will allow us to identify and support investigations into any potential incidents.

If a public health risk is identified, PHS, NHS Boards and other stakeholders will jointly undertake investigations and appropriate action. By combining national oversight and expertise with local knowledge, we are confident that any health protection risks are addressed.

Director of Public Health Science, Dr Nicholas Phin at Public Heath Scotland said:

“As we plan for COP26 coming to Glasgow, protecting the health of the people of Scotland, as well as that of the participants at COP26, is our top priority.

“We are working closely with Health Protection colleagues in NHS Boards, as well as others, to monitor and investigate any potential threats to public health. We we will support NHS Boards in managing and addressing any health protection risks which are identified.”

Environmental Health plays a crucial role in health protection so we are also ready to participate in COP26. Decisive action must be taken now to limit global warming and ensure urgent climate action is taken. We look forward to hearing what commitments are made to tackle climate change at the COP26 summit and are dedicated to promote and drive real action.

Last updated: 30 September 2021