Were our Expectations met? Reflecting on the Outcome of COP27

Disclaimer: The Women Environmental Programme is an organization supported by Climate Action Africa through the South-South Exchange component of the project. Views expressed in this blog are not official views of the project.

From 6-18 November 2022, the Women Environmental Programme’s (WEP’s) team was in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt for the 27th session of the Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

With a team comprising members representing different African countries: Nigeria, Togo, Niger, and Tunisia, we had different expectations from COP27 for our countries, but most importantly, we all had collective expectations from COP27 for Africa.

Top of our expectations was the establishment of a funding facility for losses and damages associated with the impacts of climate change on vulnerable regions. Women and Gender Constituency and the African Feminist Task Force were our allies in advocating for these expectations through side eventsprotests, press conferences, and informal meetings with negotiators.

At the end of the two-week-long conference, decisions were reached, but we would only have some of what we expected.  But we were glad that COP27 established a funding facility for loss and damage after decades of advocacy. As one of the COP27 participants remarked,

“It is worth noting that we have the fund, but we need money to make it worthwhile. What we have is an empty bucket. Now we need to fill it so that support can flow to the most impacted people suffering right now at the hands of the climate crisis.”

We expect commitments to this fund from developed countries even as the Transitional Committee on the operationalization of the fund works out modalities to be adopted at COP28.

Our expectation on the Gender and Climate Change negotiation item was not met as the parties did not reach a decision. We expected from the negotiation finance made available for National Gender Focal Points for implementing Gender Action Plans and enhanced capacity building and involvement of more women in global, regional and national climate change processes.

Like many analysts, we fear if the decisions reached at COP27 are capable of meeting the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement of lowering global average temperature. COP27 concentrated more on addressing the symptoms (impacts) rather than the causes (commitment to reduce emissions from fossil fuels). This means that even with establishing the loss and damage fund and when it becomes operational, vulnerable regions and populations such as women and people with disabilities will continue to experience severe climate change impacts as emission-reduction commitments remain low.

Our participation at #COP27 was supported by Christian AidWECF International, and the Climate Action Africa project, funded by Global Affairs Canada and implemented by Alinea International, Econoler, and WSP.