COP 27 summit set to be held in Egypt, but with concerns


Countries are ramping up for the COP 27 climate summit, but not without concerns about Cairo. The climate crisis has been a source of growing concern globally, as increasingly volatile and destructive weather patterns have been attributed to rising temperatures. The link between environmental issues such as climate change and man-made pollution is now undeniable, and the effects of greenhouse-gas-emitting processes and infrastructure are being felt keenly – whether in the melting of polar ice caps or the extinction of endangered species in changing landscapes.

Importance of COP 27

World governments are not naïve to the effects of man-made climate change, but climate scientists have been increasing public pressure for change. The main drivers for legislation-led approaches to mitigating the damage done to our planet are the various summits in which nation-states meet and agree to joint measures and targets.

Perhaps the most important of these is the Conference of the Parties, or COP summit – a yearly summit at which 197 member countries meet to hear evidence, analyse data and make large-scale decisions regarding climate strategy. Therefore, COP is the annual meeting of the global leaders regarding the climate change capacity. Over the years, the number of member nations has increased in the UNFCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and now 195 countries take part in this annual meeting. The last COP took place in Glasgow in 2021, and the next COP summit has been arranged to take place in Sharm el-Sheikh.

COP 26, and Outcomes

COP 26 took place in November 2021 and was a bellwether year for the global response to the climate crisis. The summit had been postponed by a year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and recent reports by the IPCC had illustrated the clear danger to life afforded by new developments in global temperature figures.

The aims of COP 26 were to evaluate the implementation of accords and agreements set at previous summits – such as the Paris Agreement, which saw member states commit to a five-year cycle of legislation and review, as well as an overarching commitment to limit the global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius.

One of the chief outcomes of COP 26 was the development of frameworks for measuring the effectiveness of business’ environmental, social and governance strategies (ESG). The creation of an International Sustainability Standards board, as a complement to the International Financial Standards Board, promises to hold businesses accountable with regard to ESG reporting. Another was the establishment of a ‘Paris Rulebook’, dictating the guidelines for the delivery of nationally determined contributions to emissions-curbing efforts.

COP 27, and Expectations

The 27th session of the COP (Conference of the Parties) will take place in Egypt’s Sham El-Sheikh. Even though primarily the COP 27 was expected to be held from 8-10 November 2021, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the United Nations rescheduled the COP 26 from November 2020 to November 2021. Due to this reason, COP 27 will be held from 7-18 November 2022.  With COP 27 set to take place in Egypt later this year, there has been much consternation regarding Egypt’s recent track record for civil rights; protest at COP summits has been a unique way to apply specific pressures to governments and leaders regarding climate action, and the potential inability to freely protest at the summit could lead to relaxation on certain key issues.

Nonetheless, the pressure is on member states. Growing concerns that we are approaching a point of no return make the next steps particularly prescient, as crucial updates regarding the progress of NDC implementation are keenly awaited by activists and scientists alike.

The Global Leaders in COP 27

As of now, the agenda of COP 27 is unfamiliar. Nevertheless, high-profile global leaders are expected to attend the meeting. For instance, last year, US president Joe Biden attended the Glasgow climate change summit and delivered a speech. Other high-profile leaders such as former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Canadian President Justin Trudeau also attended the last summit. Some prominent figures such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Barack Obama, and the activist Greta Thunberg also joined the Glasgow summit. However, Greta participated n the fringe events, not in the main events.

The Aims of COP 27

There were several new promises and commitments made during COP 26. Therefore, the main aim of COP 27 will be to evaluate the progress of those commitments. In the last summit, the global countries agreed upon returning the new national determined contributions (NDCs) on a yearly basis. These steps are essential for each country to meet the emissions targets.

Therefore, the Egypt summit will be the first year for the participating countries to announce new steps regarding NDCs. The president of the Egyptian summit, Sameh Shoukry stated that he expects the upcoming summit to be focused on climate mitigation and finance. This summit will also be crucial for limiting the global heating up to 1.5 C.

Concerns rgarding the Egyptian Summit

As the next will be held in Egypt, several human rights activists and green experts are expressing their concerns about the suppression of any civil society action by the hardline Cairo regime. The choice of Egypt is a real concern here due to the Egyptian government. Since Abdel Fatah al-Sisi came to power in 2013, a huge crackdown on civil rights started in Egypt. According to the estimation of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, there are 65000 political prisoners inside the detention system of the country. Whether it’s politicians or people who criticised against the price rise or made comments on social media platforms on the Cairo metro, have been imprisoned or detained on the charges of terrorism. Therefore, while Egypt will host the COP, the tension between civil society and government may increase.

Even though there are certain concerns regarding the Egypt summit, it is to be seen the outcome of the upcoming summit. Whether the Egypt summit will be able to put some pressure on the countries on emission cuts. Above all, the purpose of the COP summits is to make the climate better, therefore,  yet to see how the next summit make a progress towards achieving this.





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