This year’s climate COP27 (short for 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention of Climate Change) took place in Sharm-El-Sheikh from November 06th to 20th and was framed as an African COP. One of its rather few successes entailed the adoption of a Loss & Damage Finance Facility, after decades of advocacy by civil society and countries from the Global South to financially support Global South countries struck hardest by climate change, such as natural disasters. Yet, parties missed the chance to address the closely linked and needed phase out of fossil fuels once more!
Most of the negotiated items were dominated by discussion on formalities, leaving little room for substantial content related discussions and observer engagement. Specifically negotiations on gender as part of the Gender Action Plan (GAP) degraded gender justice within the UNFCCC as a mere side show and an empty shell. The conference was overshadowed by the constant surveillance of the autocratic Egyptian regime, putting human rights activists, environmental defenders, LGBTIQ* advocates and especially Egyptian activists at special risk. The unambitious outcomes of COP27 reflect these harmful circumstances.
This year’s negotiations on Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE), covering capacity building and education, were among the most progressive and produced an Action Plan, featuring explicit mentioning of human rights, entailing specific requirements for dis_abled, gender, children and youth and indigenous Peoples. These successes can be traced back to active engagement by civil society, which was lacking for most other negotiated items. In the outcomes of Article 6, on market and non-market mechanisms, a dangerous proposal on carbon removal by the Supervisory Body could be averted, which would have opened doors to human rights violations and geoengineering projects. After much pressure from civil society, parties send the proposal back to the Supervisory Body for rework, yet failed to add guiding demands for the new removals proposal and to anchor human rights and labour rights.
Gender Action Plan
The negotiations on the Gender Action Plan (GAP), once celebrated as a first big step to gender and climate justice in Madrid 2019, left anyone looking for ambition empty handed. Instead of using the chance to evaluate how finance can be gender-responsive at this year’s midterm GAP review and supporting countries in setting up a national gender action plan, the evaluation has downgraded the GAP to a mere lip service. Many parties were eager to renegotiate gender just language already agreed on at past COPs and delayed conversations about substantial aspects of the evaluation. In a final attempt to have an outcome on gender, the COP27 presidency increased pressure in the final days for parties to agree on a text, which was not substantially discussed and mostly happened behind closed door for observers. Feminist organizations had pushed for countries to take the discussions forward to the SB Sessions in Bonn in 2023 and work on a more ambitious text, to avoid a watered down text on gender. On behalf of these organizations the Women and Gender Constituency, grouping of feminist, women and gender organizations, activists and researchers, has voiced its strong disappointment with the outcome and the lack of observer engagement.
In and outside of negotiations civil society made a strong point in showing that the way to achieving climate justice is solidarity, particularly in the face of the ever increasing fossil fuel lobbyists at COPs every year. Throughout actions and marches, support for the silenced and missing voices at COP27, specifically with prisoners such as Egyptian activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah, were at the centre. Repressions on Egyptian activists, such as Sanaa and Mona Seif, sparked before the COP and are expected to rise again thereafter. Therefore, it is the obligation of civil society organizations returning home to keep up the pressure to release political prisoners in Egypt and all over the world. Looking at the United Arab Emirates as the upcoming host country of COP28, we expect a very well organized COP but fear that civil society demands for justice, human rights and gender justice will yet again be pushed to the side lines.
The Women and Gender Constituency (WGC) have outlined their key demands for the outcomes of COP27. The key demands are as following:
1) Ensure the full and inclusive participation of women—in all their diversity—across all climate action and advance implementation of the gender action plan (GAP)
2) Recognize, redress and compensate for loss and damage
3) Deliver on climate finance as a matter of climate, social and gender justice
4) Dismantle false solutions to climate change—particularly the emphasis on net zero, carbon trading and offsets, and Nature-based Solutions (NbS)
5) Advance a just and equitable energy transition
6) Invest in resilient, gender-transformative, climate justice education
7) Apply a social-justice framework and a human rights based approach to climate action that includes the full range of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)
8) Fulfill commitments to gender equality and ecosystem integrity via the full implementation and realization of sustainable development and biodiversity goals
You can download the full key demands here.
Find out more about the activities of the Women and Gender Constituency
Climate action is transformative if grounded in human rights and locally led. What actions should we take to ensure integration of human rights, equity, just transition, gender justice, and consideration of non-state actors’ solutions in global and national climate policymaking.
Saturday, 12 Nov 2022, 11:30—13:00 (EST) Memphis (300)
The Programme of the side event is available here.
During the first week of COP27, GenderCC co-organised a well-attended Side Event on Nov 9th at the Blue Zone at the EUROCLIMA+ Pavilion on “¡No sin nosotras - not without us!” together with WECF. With a focus on Abya Yala (Indigenous chosen name for South America) the event touched on how just transition needs to be rooted in gender justice.
Saturday, 9 Nov 2022, 12:00—12:45 (EST) EUROCLIMA+ Pavilion
The Programme of the side event is available here.