The symbolism of holding a UN Climate Conference in Africa has been overshadowed by complaints about difficulty in gaining access to the conference. African activists have reportedly been struggling to get access to the next iteration of the Conference of Parties (COP27) to be held in November at a resort town in Egypt.
Just over 20% of grassroots activists have secured accreditation and only a handful have secured funding to cover expenses such as travel, accommodation and visas, The Guardian reported citing a coalition of African youth climate leaders.
It has been tough for activists to secure the all important badge which grants them access to main events and negotiation areas. Climate activists in Africa now fear that the negotiations will be unrepresentative of the people of the Global South and little more than a “greenwash”.
The inability to reach the Conference site in Egypt would also mean a less diverse and vibrant conference. Unofficial discussions and demonstrations that run parallel to the main conference play an important part in COP events. They exert pressure on official panels to be sincere in their efforts.
At last year’s Glasgow COP26 event, a People’s Tribunal was organised and hours of evidence was heard against the UN and UNFCCC. At the end, the unaccredited Tribunal held the climate body guilty of failing to address the root causes of climate change and global socio-economic injustices.
Earlier this month, climate activists from various nations in Africa gathered for a Climate Justice Camp in Tunisia to campaign for issues including adaptation funding and compensation from countries that have been most responsible for climate change. The attendees also discussed how transnational climate action can thrive amidst governmental and corporate apathy.
Climate activists from the 4 corners of the world , we gathered at the #ClimateJusticeCamp in Nabuel (Tunisia🇹🇳) and in order to strengthen our ties to be able to work in synergy to achieve climate justice. @Greenpeace pic.twitter.com/rAGeHxhV3A
— Yero SARR (@SarrYero2) October 3, 2022
COP27 has also run into criticism because of a sponsorship deal between the conference and drinks major Coca Cola, which is one of the biggest plastic polluters in the world. In a bitingly sarcastic tweet, writer and professor of climate justice Naomi Klein said it was “super fun to have a climate summit in a police state sponsored by Coca Cola.” Klein was also part of a discussion that tackled questions about meaningful climate action and political freedom, in context of Egypt’s pitiful human rights record.
Super fun to have a climate summit in a police state sponsored by @CocaCola while most "civil society" delegates save their indignation for jacked up hotel prices instead of locked up political prisoners. #COP27 in #Egypt is shaping up to be very cool and normal. #SaveAlaa https://t.co/28NEuyYxVD
— Naomi Klein (@NaomiAKlein) October 1, 2022