By Dr. Marianna Leite
Today is Friday the 11th of November and we are reaching the end of the first week of COP27. By now, most people are overwhelmed with news about the Summit taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh but also rather curious about what is happening and what will ultimately be its outcome. Based on my experience as one of the co-coordinators of the ACT Alliance delegation to COP27, I’d like to give a flavour of what it’s like to be a participant and what lies ahead of us.
Checking in and checking out
ACT has a diverse, gender-equal and regionally balance delegation for COP27. We are part of a wider ecumenical delegation which we co-lead jointly with the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation. We have an ’insider’ and ’ousider’ track of delegates that help us strategise internally from the venue and online from elsewhere. This means that we have quite strong cohort of people that share the same values and drive for climate justice.
Everyday we meet to look at the official agenda according to themes/expertise as well as the side events, actions and related activities. We divide the responsibilities amongst ourselves and then report back on the main achievements and points of tension at the end of the day.
Dividing and Conquering
Instead of following the same events and activities, we try to ‘divide and conquer’. We connect with the different like-minded groups and support those that are part of negotiations.
This does not come without challenges. The Wi-Fi in the venue is patchy making the connection with our fellow online delegates difficult and, at times, frustrating. The venue is huge and its layout is not exactly intuitive, meaning that many of us spend a lot of time looking for rooms and often getting lost.
Getting basic things done like eating and going to the bathroom is a challenge. There are huge lines everywhere, limited options and, well, a general sense of disorientation.
The silver lining
This is not an easy space or context to operate in but, in a way, the massive civil society mobilisation can be seen as the silver lining. Like other groups, ACT has organised media ’stunts’ calling attention to our asks and the asks of those missing voices at COP27. In one of those stunts we acted out detectives looking for missing loss and damage financing. I never fail to be impressed and inspired by the energy and passion brought by the different ACT delegates and partners. Their successes in driving transformative and structural messaging, their relentless work and unwavering dedication to climate justice demonstrates that ’united we can and will overcome this massive crisis’.
The (steep) road ahead
What’s next? Well, we are still looking for the missing climate finance! Many countries have announced pledges which, although encouraging from a political perspective, are not anywhere near the level of finance needed to address the current challenges.
Stay posted for outcomes after week two at COP27.
Dr. Marianna Leite is ACT Alliance’s Global Advocacy and Development Policy Manager. She attended the first week of COP27 in Egypt. Stay posted for more reporting on outcomes following week two. PHOTO: Dr. Marianna Leite.