The COP 27- the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) was held in Sharm- El-Sheikh, Egypt from 6th November to 18th November 2022. This Conference of the Parties occurs to deliver action on an array of issues critical to tackling the climate emergency that ranges from urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building resilience and adapting to the inevitable impacts of climate change. This year’s COP 27 seeks renewed solidarity between countries to deliver on the landmark Paris agreement, for people and the plan.
At the summit, several Heads of State, ministers, and negotiators, along with climate activists, mayors, civil society representatives and CEOs are gathered in Sharm-El-SHeikh for the largest annual gathering on climate action.
While protests in and around the venues of the previous COPs were not surveilled and things generally went smoothly, things have been different since COP 27 is in Egypt where protestors are generally not encouraged. Unfortunately, the Egyptian authorities have arrested several people for calling for protests and restricted the right to protest in the days that led up to the summit. Furthermore, they have added security measures that include mandating the installation of cameras in all taxis and allowing agency surveillance of drivers and passengers. Meanwhile, during the previous summits, there was no need for registrations to engage in conversations about the climate and interact with summit participants, the Egyptian authorities imposed a complicated registration process to access the Green Zone outside the COP venue.
However, during the UN Climate Summit, several protestors protested against fossil fuel companies and other polluters. The protestors sang, danced and chanted the slogan, namely, “kick polluters out, let people in.” Another similar incident that the cameras captured was when a woman wore a facemask that read,
“ No Climate Justice Without Human Rights.” One of the rising themes of these campaigners was, “we will never be defeated.”
The activists including indigenous members from Wyoming Outdoor Council stood up during Joe Biden’s speech. Their passes were later canceled for the later leg of the summit.
One of the marches was led by Sanaa Seif who is the sister of Alaa Abdel-Fattah, the imprisoned British-Egyptian water striker. Seif told the crowd, “Those in power thought my voice would be drowned out. But, there can be no climate justice without human rights.”
Several other activists including the Filipino climate justice activist Mitzi Jonelle Tan highlighted the murder and imprisonment of environmental land protectors and civil society and religious leaders.
Tasneem Essop, the executive director of Climate Action Network, said, “The governments who have caused the climate crisis and made those who are least responsible for this crisis pay for it through their lives, their livelihoods, their homes and cultures- they owe us these reparations and they need to pay up now.”
Apart from Egypt, several protests took place in other cities including London, Edinburgh and Paris. Moreover, in Lisbon, Portugal, dozens of people stormed the building where the country’s Economy Minister Antonio Costa e Silva was demanding that the former oil executive resign.
As we can see, this year’s COP has been one of the most violent as well as the biggest climate summit to exist due to the gravity of the issue that remains pretty far from being solved.