With the United Nations COP 27 Climate Change Conference set to take place in the Egyptian city of Sharm El-Sheikh beginning on Nov. 6, many observers have raised concerns about the country’s human rights and environmental records and what this will mean for the conference as well as climate justice more broadly.
In 2021, images of protesters filling the streets of Glasgow, Scotland, on the sidelines of the COP 26 gathering captured public attention around the world, sparking critical conversations about the environmental records of governments and corporations participating in the summit, and their failure to do more to address the climate crisis. Other activists organized a parallel Peoples’ Summit for Climate Justice to raise important issues left out of the COP 26 agenda and to better include systematically excluded voices.
Egypt’s severe restrictions on the rights to assembly, association and peaceful protest, however, make it highly unlikely for similar convenings to take place in Sharm El-Sheikh. In fact, the country’s domestic climate policies and repressive human rights landscape give an idea of how COP 27 may play out.