COP27 @ Egypt

March 15, 2024

Global environment concerns are increasing immensely and such a call shows that no country is immune with the natural devastations around. The onslaught of climate disasters in 2022 has left little breathing space for the international community to respond.  A third of Pakistan flooded, Scorching summers in Europe in 5 centuries, typhoons in Philippines, power outrage caused by the Hurricane in Cuba and more and more such devastations come to highlight for a more environmental session to tackle challenges.

COP27 – Climate conference of the parties happens every five years since 1995. The 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC shall take place in Sharm El- Sheikh, Egypt. Every UN member state is a signatory for the UNFCCC, as well as Palestine, the Cook Islands and Niue. The Holy See is also an observer of the treaty. Effectively every nation, country, or state in the world is involved, giving a total of 197 signatory parties.

COP26 was in Glasgow last year 2021.

Each year representatives from every party come together to discuss action on the various sustainable actions on climate change. COP hosting duties rotate around five UN regional. Egypt’s presidency is controversial because of its poor record on human rights. Since seizing power in 2013, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s government has overseen a widespread crackdown on dissent. At least 65,000 political prisoners are currently behind bars, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information estimates. The UNFCCC secretariat undertook a fact-finding mission to check Egypt has the resources to put on such a huge event.

The controversial side of hosting the summit in Egypt –   

Having Egypt host this conference will confer unacceptable legitimacy on a government that serially violates norms of good governance, human rights, and environmental protection. Under the military-backed regime of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt is one of the world’s worst human rights abusers, with tens of thousands of political prisoners. Egypt denies its citizens basic rights, suppresses public participation, and harshly punishes criticism of the government, including through the systematic use of state violence. There are credible reports of political detainees suffering torture, overcrowding, denial of medical care, and death in custody. The state routinely uses enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings against perceived opponents. The media and civil society are under tight state control. On the environmental front, authorities have targeted trade unions and civil society organizations involved in environmental justice work. Al-Sisi’s government cannot act as a responsible shepherd of the environment when it silences the very voices advocating for reform. It is in a state of brutal authoritarianism. Moreover, the Egyptian government has been slow to act on the climate crisis despite dire situations of global warming predicted in some populated regions of Egypt which might be underwater, decimate the water supply, and wreak havoc on agriculture. Egyptians also suffer from water and air pollution and the razing of greenspaces to make room for the president’s vanity projects, among other serious environmental problems.

Human Rights Watch states that thousands of people, including children, have been prosecuted in mass trials, “in unfair proceedings lacking the simplest resemblance to due process.” Last year Amnesty International ranked Egypt as the third worst country by number of executions.

It’s for this reason that some climate justice campaigners, including author Naomi Klein, are calling this the "Carceral Climate Summit".

King Charles III has decided not to attend the international climate change summit COP27.

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