COP27 took place in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, from 7-18 November and our team was there, lobbying, negotiating, observing, and participating in events. I asked some of our team the questions below to find out more about their experience and thoughts on COP27, whether they were there in-person or following remotely.
How was the physical experience for you and what did you do?
Kelo (Nigeria) said, “It was an overwhelming experience and a rewarding one too. We were able to make very meaningful progress around Youth engagement, building on articles 64 & 65 of the Glasgow climate pact. Also, we had a series of bilaterals with the UAE government around the Children and Youth (C&Y) pavilion at COP28.
Shreya (Nepal), completed: “I agree with Kelo. COP is always too much for me. Too many people, side events, meetings and negotiations but little progress on increasing climate ambition and supporting the countries that are most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis. Nevertheless, it is always inspiring to connect with youth and grassroots level activists and work together to hold world leaders accountable.
As an observer, I attended side events on topics relating to climate education, youth empowerment, and locally-led adaptation and followed the loss and damage and global stocktake process (GST). I gave four media interviews, spoke at numerous events, participated in peaceful protests, coordinated our intergenerational dialogue on the Children and Youth Pavilion event and attended bilaterals with the co-facilitators of the GST and Saudi Arabia.
We had some of our team going to COP for the first time. One of them was Cherop, from Kenya, she said, “The physical experience was one-of-a-kind considering it was my very first COP. I would say it was thrilling to have the chance to be present and engaged in shaping of the climate priorities for the upcoming year and beyond. My participation was centred around making connections and starting conversations and interlinkages for the 1.5 degrees campaign. This took place primarily at the first-ever Children and Youth Pavilion. Moreover, I was engaged in different panels as a speaker, laying out the technicalities of Mock COP’s 1.5 ranking league table and creating awareness in the lead-up to the 1.5 degrees launch.”
We also had really important conversations taking place, Mohab, from Egypt, took place in one of those. “I would say it was very rewarding after the daunting days to see that the work was transferred to outstanding achievements, the C&Y Pavilion set a legacy of more awesome impacts to come! It was definitely tiring throughout the second, especially on the negotiations side of COP!I got the chance to network with many decision makers like the Minister of Environment of Canada on matters relating to climate education implementation! Had some bilaterals with the UAE team for COP28.”
What do you think about COP27 outcomes and commitments?
Grace, from Ireland, who took part remotely said “As I was unable to attend COP27, my perception of COP has definitely been influenced by the media response. While the commitment to a ‘Loss and Damage’ fund is a clear victory, there seems to be little else to celebrate following COP27. In particular, attempts to phase out fossil fuels were largely blocked while decarbonisation was not prioritized. This is hugely disappointing, this response does not begin to address the magnitude of the threat that climate change presents. Furthermore, COP27 was not a safe space for many activists including LBGTQ+ people due to the socio-political climate in Egypt. It is essential that those advocating for climate justice feel safe, however, COP27 failed to provide a safe location for its attendees.”
Kelo, who was following an ACE, Technology Mechanism and Loss & Damage (L&D) agenda, said “I think the commitment towards establishing a L&D finance facility was a huge win for, though the outcome on mitigation was less ambitious. however, I chose to celebrate the progress we made as Mock COP and young people generally at COP27.”
Kelo had the chance to speak to Antonio Guterres, Un Secretary-General, as part of an initiative to promote dialogue and inclusion of young people at the COP27 process.
Shreya, with a Climate Education, Loss and Damage and Global Stocktake agenda, pointed, “The decision to set up a loss and damage fund which will provide new and additional finance to the developing countries is a huge milestone. The recognition of young people as stakeholders in designing and implementing climate policies under the ACE action plan is another success for us. It is the result of our continuous hard work in pressurizing policymakers. Sharm el Sheikh’s implementation plan also encourages parties to include young people as negotiators in their national delegations. However, it doesn’t mention the phase-out of fossil fuels to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius”.
“To be honest, given the urgency, the outcomes are too little, too late.”
The Loss and Damage Fund, established during COP27, was a culmination of decades of pressure by the most climate-vulnerable developing countries. Loss and damage are the negative consequences of climate change, like rising sea levels, prolonged heatwaves, desertification, the acidification of the sea and extreme events, such as bushfires, species extinction and crop failures. These events will happen more and more frequently, and the consequences will become more severe. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) research shows that finance for adaptation falls short. The 2022 Adaptation Gap Report indicates that international adaptation finance flows to developing countries are five to ten times below estimated needs, and will need over US$300 billion per year by 2030. Loss and damage finance needs are closely connected to our ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change. However, most of the most affected countries do not have the budget and technology available to take action and protect their people, that’s why wealth transference is necessary.
And Cherop noticed that, “The theme of loss and damage will definitely come up as one of the key highlights for this COP. However, I am of the opinion that raising efforts towards loss and damage requires way more than just financing. A fund is the first step, but all other fronts such as mitigation and adaptation have to fulfil their maximum potential by achieving their key milestones.” As Mohab agreed, “I would say COP27 resulted in a crucial and much-needed milestone in terms of loss and damage, yet there are other gaps that need to be fulfilled such as mitigation and raising the adaptation mechanisms in order to prevent further loss and damage. To keep this groundbreaking resolution towards justice growing, the implementation mechanism must deliver on all sides to ensure equity for all.”
What do you think about the COP27 document?
“For the first time, the COP27 closing document mentions reforming the working strategy of the multilateral bank and other financial institutions as it has failed to provide finance to vulnerable countries to tackle climate change. It has also mentioned tipping points, the cryosphere and the participation of young people in the decision-making process. This is a positive outcome.” – Shreya
What do you think about youth participation in COP27 and in negotiations?
Shreya said, ‘For the first time we had the Children and Youth Pavilion in COP which was a hub for young people to gather, share ideas and work together. It is a good thing to see that many countries have finally started to include young people in their national delegations. However, young people should be empowered and engaged in a meaningful and effective way so that they are able to negotiate on behalf of their country.
There were some challenges in organizing protests and action events due to the rules of the host country. But if we see an analysis done by YOUNGO and UN1FY, 76 out of 137 pavilions had youth-related activities, and over 116 youth-related activities were held during COP27. This shows young people actively participated throughout the conference and we were everywhere.”
And Porag, from Bangladesh, continued “I think youth participation has been one of the positives of this COP. This is my first COP, and I must say, young people all over the world are very very synergistic when they are on the same platform. Young people have been able to make themselves highlighted in this COP amid so many restrictions. Youth participating in this COP engaged them meaningfully in almost every pavilion, every zone. Even though young people might not have had much active role in the negotiations, their voices and their demands have definitely reached the negotiation tables, and this happened because of the constant actions young people have taken both in COP and outside COP.“
We had a really great presence of young people during COP27, especially from some countries and organizations that actively took young voices to the venue. This year, for example, we had Brazil with the second biggest delegation of COP, and most of those people were youth. In the photo below, you can see a lot of those young Brazilians, including Livia Pinaso, Mock COP students staff, after a session with Senator Marina Silva, former Brazilian Minister of the environment.
We had time for reviewing some campaign projects and the planning and starting of new ones and I can’t wait for year running up to COP28. Next year Climate Education, a part of my activism agenda, will hopefully be one of the key discussions at the venue and I hope to see progress and commitment on it from now.
Read this article on our host charity, SOS-UK’s webpage to discover some of our upcoming plans. Visit the Mock COP Instagram page for general updates and reflections and help us to keep meaningful youth voice central in these spaces, by contributing to the Mock COP crowdfunder set up by the coordinators.