At COP27, protesters at the UN call for climate finance

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, November 9 (Reuters) – Civil society groups and youth activists held small pop-up rallies at the UN’s COP27 summit on Wednesday in designated areas of this seaside resort Red.

None lasted more than a few hours and some ruptured after less than an hour. They were all detained in areas under the responsibility of the UN during the two weeks of the international summit.

“There’s no time left to keep coming to these COPs as an exercise, when the parties arrive in their private jets and are sponsored by Coca-Cola, etc., and we do a whole dance around an issue so critical and so urgent,” said Zukiswa White, 29, a South African campaigner for gender equality in climate policy.

She and about 50 others held a brief rally in an outdoor area of ​​the conference center on Wednesday.

“Pay an indemnity!” they shouted as delegates gathered to watch the event.

“We try to respect the organization of the COP and the restrictions,” said White. “We also want to emphasize that this is a site of genuine engagement, and if engagement is to be meaningful and effective, we must also be driven to follow through.”

Ahead of the conference, activists feared their voice would be restricted in Egypt’s tightly-secured tourist resort, where public protests are effectively banned and activists struggle to operate legally amid a wide-ranging crackdown on political dissent.

Egypt had said it would allow protests in confined areas at COP27.

A woman walks past a giant baby balloon inflated by climate change activists in the rain in Glasgow Green during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain November 8, 2021 .REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

White said civic groups had worked hard throughout the year leading up to the summit to ensure its agenda included the issue of compensating poor countries for loss and damage already suffered in disasters. climate-driven, such as floods or forest fires.

“We are operating on the premise this year that climate finance is not about charity…but rather about fairness and justice, and that we are asking no more, simply saying: it’s time to pay. “

One of the organizers noted that rain-triggered flooding in Nigeria had claimed hundreds of lives in recent months.

“Can the adaptation fund pay for this? Can the adaptation fund pay for the destroyed infrastructure, or the farms that have been destroyed, the livelihoods of the people that have been destroyed. It can’t pay for this,” said John Baaki, deputy executive director of the Women’s Environmental Program.

Pressure from developing countries helped put the issue of payment for loss and damage on the conference agenda for the first time in the UN climate negotiations.

At another small rally, about 20 protesters demanded an end to the use of fossil fuels, chanting, “What do we want? Climate justice… when do we want it? Now! Now!”

Youth activist Lucky Abeng of the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance said the group wants world leaders to take the funding program seriously.

“Adaptation finance and also climate finance for Africa is non-negotiable,” he said. “Our future as young people is at stake.”

Earlier on Wednesday outside the main summit venue, in the ‘green zone’ set up for trade shows and civil society groups, 32 students lined up in front of the cameras while holding up signs about how whose climate change is destroying coral reefs, which are a key attraction in Sharm el-Sheikh, where the conference is being held.

Reporting by Gloria Dickie and Mai Shams El-Din. Additional reporting by Chiara Rodriguez, Fanny Broderson and Jehad Shalbak; Editing by Katy Daigle

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