Despite organizers’ claim COP27 will be “the African COP,” activists from the continent least responsible for and most vulnerable to climate change are being shut out, the Guardian Reports. Africa’s 54 countries comprise 15% of the world’s population but just 4% of cumulative climate pollution; 70% of sub-Saharan Africans are younger than 30 years-old. “I need to be there to advocate for communities like mine to be prioritised in loss and damage finance. We are at the frontline of the climate crisis, facing the risk of extinction,” Mana Omar, 27, of Kenya, the founder and CEO of Spring of the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and member of Fridays for Future, said.
The issue of whether wealthy nations should (be required to) compensate developing nations for the losses and damages caused by climate change is a long-contentious issue receiving increasing attention in the runup to COP27. Organizers say COP27 will be the best-attended ever, citing 35,000 registrations, but registration does not guarantee access, and so far zero young advocates from Egypt, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Tanzania, Morocco, Chad, South Africa, Benin, or Somalia have secured badges enabling them to attend.
Badges are far from the only barrier, however, even with a badge, and even if an advocate can navigate the byzantine visa system, and even if an advocate can afford to travel to Egypt, they’ll still need a place to sleep. “It’s still 50:50,” Omar said, of whether she will be able to attend. “It’s very, very hard to get the funding and the hotel costs are too high.” (Access barriers: The Guardian; Loss & Damage: Bloomberg $, Reuters, Climate Home)