Sheikh Hasina one of the most influential negotiator of COP26: BBC

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Published on November 4, 2021
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been named as one of the five influential dealmakers at COP26 being held at Glasgow, according to a BBC report that described the Bangladesh leader as “voice of the vulnerable”.

The four other influential dealmakers who will have a major impact on the summit's success or failure are China's climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua, Saudi Arabia's Ayman Shasly, UK minister Alok Sharma, Spain's minister for ecological transition Teresa Ribera.

Hasina spoke on behalf of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a grouping of the 48 among the countries most threatened by climate change.

She's an experienced and straight-talking politician, who will bring the lived experience of climate change to the COP, said the BBC report headlined “Climate change: Five dealmakers who will influence the outcome at COP26.”

Just last year, the report said, about one-quarter of Bangladesh was underwater as floods threatened a million homes.

"People like Prime Minister Hasina put a human face on climate change and can help world leaders understand what climate change already looks like," said Dr Jen Allan, an expert in international relations from Cardiff University.

Despite the fact that they are among the poorest nations, the Climate Vulnerable and the Least Developed Countries group have a strong track record in the negotiations.

These countries "punch above their economic weight, so to speak", says Dr Allan.

"Because they are a strong moral voice, and because decisions are taken by consensus, they have been able to get a good deal of progressive decisions through the UN machinery."

According to Quamrul Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi negotiator, who works as part of Sheikh Hasina's team, the vulnerable nations are coming to Glasgow with a clear set of goals.

"There are over one billion people now on the hook of adverse climate impacts," he told BBC. "We want to get them off the hook by getting the richest countries to steeply cut back emissions, to fix the outstanding Paris rules, to ramp up climate finance and to address loss and damage.”

While Greta Thunberg, Sir David Attenborough and world leaders will attract most of the media attention at COP26, the real work of getting 197 countries to commit to changes will fall to lesser-known diplomats and ministers - the negotiators, said BBC.

Their complex role requires a sharp mind, a deep reserve of tact and incredible endurance. Talks often go through the night and rarely finish on time.