Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has said she will skip a major UN environment summit due to be held in the UK later this year because of global COVID vaccine inequality.
World leaders and climate campaigners are expected at COP26 in Glasgow in November. The summit was delayed from 2020 because of the pandemic, and there have been reports it could be pushed back again, to 2022.
Warnings have been sounded for months that people in poorer countries will struggle to access the COVID vaccine because rich countries are hoarding supplies.
Thunberg tweeted about her decision following an interview she gave to the BBC.
“Inequality and climate injustice is already the heart of the climate crisis. If people can’t be vaccinated and travel to be represented equally that’s undemocratic and would worsen the problem,” she wrote.
“Vaccine nationalism won’t solve the pandemic. Global problems need global solutions.”
Thunberg rose to prominence after launching a solitary school strike outside Sweden’s parliament in 2018, which snowballed into a huge international movement variously known as Fridays for Future or the Youth Strike for Climate. While she was not due to play any formal role at COP26, her decision not to attend is significant, and could see other activists follow suit.
VICE World News has contacted the UK government for a response.