Egypt closes venues for first Monday Cop27 events in crackdown on NGOs | Cop27 | Catch My Job


Civil society organizations and governments may have to cancel events at the UN climate summit in November as Egyptian hosts tighten security for the opening days.

Cop27 will open on Sunday 6 November in Sharm el-Sheikh, and on Monday and Tuesday world leaders are due to descend on the conference center for talks to direct their negotiating teams.

Many countries and civil society groups have set up pavilions inside the UN-provided “blue zone”, where governments will meet for the leaders’ summit. Pavilions typically host events with scientists, politicians, business leaders, celebrities and activists to exchange ideas on key climate issues.

However, they were told that events planned for Monday’s opening would have to be canceled unless they included visits from heads of state. In an email seen by the Guardian, the UN wrote that “the government of Egypt has decided that there will be no event at the pavilion on 7 November 2022”.

NGOs have expressed concern as they have carefully targeted their lists of events to raise key issues they say must be addressed at the two-week conference. They fear the cancellation could limit debate and undermine the role of non-state actors in the event. Media access to pavilions and other areas within the blue zone is also likely to be heavily restricted.

James Lloyd, organizer behind the Nature Positive Pavilion, said: “International UN climate meetings are not just about heads of state and ministers. They are also a space for representatives of the wider climate community to drive progress. The first few days of the climate conference allow representatives of local governments, corporations and communities to come together in partnership and share ambitious pledges and update action plans.

He continued: “We are concerned that closing the pavilion during the first day of the summit is taking away critical spaces for this dialogue, stopping events and important discussions that are crucial to moving net zero and a positive agenda for nature.”

At Cop26 in Glasgow, presidents and prime ministers, indigenous leaders, activists including Greta Thunberg, and heads of major companies attended events in the pavilions.

The Egyptian government said it had decided to limit events on the first day of the summit of world leaders due to the large number of heads of state and government expected to be present in the pavilion area. The following day, November 8, there will be no restrictions.

Countries and groups that paid for their pavilions at Cop27 may be able to seek compensation under their contracts or invite heads of state to their events to circumvent the rules.

UN climate conferences consist of a blue zone, where negotiations take place and NGOs, observers and the media can mingle with delegations, and a green zone, where businesses gather to showcase their green innovations, and which members of the public can attend. .

Although parts of the blue zone are always closed to the police segment of the leaders’ summit, the cancellation of planned events is a highly unusual action by the host country.

NGOs are concerned that Egypt may intend to clamp down on their activities throughout the Police. However, after the leaders’ summit, the right of NGOs to protest will be protected by UN rules.

Egypt’s human rights record is in the spotlight at Cop27. Civil society organizations have also expressed concern that Egyptians will not be able to march in the streets, an important part of previous police efforts to pressure governments to respond to the climate crisis.

Cop27 is likely to be a difficult summit, given geopolitical tensions over the war in Ukraine, rising fossil fuel and food prices, and concerns from developing countries that rich countries are not responding with urgency.

Kate Cook, organizer and co-host behind the Food Systems Pavilion, said: “Tackling the climate crisis is a global problem that we all share. To bring about meaningful change, we must work together to accelerate ambitious actions. This means that civil society, businesses and non-governmental organizations are joining the conversation.

“Excluding the pavilion from this critical dialogue at the start of the conference limits the impact we could all have.” As the Food Systems Pavilion, we are a coalition of organizations that have come together to bring solutions and opportunities that food systems provide to have a positive impact on our climate at Cop, but we can’t do that if we’re not in the room.”


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