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November 30, 2022

Our outreach at COP27 in Egypt

The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took place from November 6th to 17th in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. In the middle of a desert, the Egyptian government put together the “African COP of Implementation”. As in the years before, Plant-for-the-Planet had an amazing delegation on the ground with 20 participants from different continents advocating for a climate-just future.

This COP was extremely important for climate vulnerable countries to finally secure climate finance, a mechanism to secure and disburse it. Equally important was to secure the 1.5°C target, which was envisioned under the Paris Agreement in 2015. Through the Mitigation Work Program (MWP) countries were reviewing collective ambition under their respective Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Especially for first time COP delegates, the space can be just as exciting and impressive as overwhelming. With 35,000 attendees, the conference is the ideal space to meet other young activists, attend workshops, press conferences, humbly listen to the most affected sharing stories of their lived realities or networking in the youth constituency of the UNFCCC.

About our on-site actions

Besides participating in many important panels, workshops, and networking events, we also hosted a successful side-event with around 80 participants in collaboration with the International Forestry Students’ Association on “Youth Innovation Driving Restoration with Technology and Precision”. You can re-watch the livestream here.

TreeMapper: Youth Innovation Driving Restoration with Technology and Precision

Furthermore, Plant-for-the-Planet was an official partner of ActNowFilm2 – a global youth voices film led by the University of Bath Institute for Policy Research (IPR) and Cambridge Zero that was broadcasted to decision-makers at COP27. 

Supported by the UK Universities Climate Network (UUCN), and in partnership with ForAfrika and the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate (GAUC), ActNowFilm2 is a short film compiled of intergenerational conversations from around the world in which young and older people share their lived experiences as well as the hopes and fears of climate change across generations. You can re-watch the film here

Some first-hand insights of our Delegates

Johann, Plant-for-the-Planet Delegate from Germany

Johann: “Working as a climate activist can often be overwhelming and it is easy to feel hopelessly outgunned in the fight against the climate crisis, which can bring about a sense of powerlessness. Meeting so many young activists from all over the world at COP27, all with the same goal, reassures you that you are not alone in the fight against the climate crisis. After the COP, I come home inspired and full of energy, knowing that so many great and highly motivated people are with you in resisting climate chaos and demanding climate justice. 

As the biggest congress of its type I find that the Conference of Parties is a unique place where all countries can make their voices heard, from small island states to Western industrialized countries and civil society organizations, exchanging views and demands with each other. Only the COP offers such a place for international exchange. Now stakeholders need to put their unilateral thinking aside and act multilaterally to fight the climate crises as one united world.”

Matthaeus, Plant-for-the-Planet Delegate from Brazil

Matthaeus: “Thanks to the Plant-for-the-Planet, I had the opportunity to go to COP27 and understand how the negotiations were working there and how the states negotiated the new agreements. The best thing I saw at COP27 was massive civil societies from the southern countries. I am Brazilian, and I’ve seen many people from Brazil and South America, primarily indigenous and from poor communities, coming to the conference to use their voices to speak about climate change.

I believe the main topic in this COP is the loss and damage and climate justice. The happenings in Pakistan were cited many times. States are waking up for a change and seeing that the only way to stop the climate catastrophe is for everyone to unite. We can have a change. We can look at the past and see that it was the most challenging obstacle to pass, and know we are all united for the same reason and the survival of our species. The other reason is that everyone needs some chocolate (it is the best thing in the world) because ‘no change, no chocolate’, and with this phrase, Heads of State can listen to us and change something.”

Our special message

The “No change, no chocolate” slogan that Matthaeus is referring to was printed on our T-shirts at COP27. The story behind this is that Plant-for-the-Planet usually distributes the famous “Change Chocolate” at the COP, a sweet reminder to all decision-makers that we must act to combat the climate crisis in order to have a future worth living. This year, we went one step further, claiming “No change, no chocolate!” Because if we don’t limit global warming to at least 1.5°C, it will become too hot for chocolate in the future…

Our Delegation of the first week, wearing the “no change, no chocolate” T-shirts

In a nutshell

On the surface, the results of COP27 sound like progress, but the details remain unclear: On the one hand, it was actually decided to provide compensation for those nations that are particularly suffering from the consequences of the climate crisis – an action that should have been introduced decades ago. It is now to be clarified by next year how money will come into the fund.

The fact that there was no agreement to exit all fossil energies is the biggest disappointment. This has been blocked in particular by the OPEC countries, which export oil and gas and therefore profit economically. But also Europe and the United States have not pushed hard enough for mandatory exit rules. Overall, the final declaration of the COP27 hardly goes beyond that of COP26 in Glasgow last year.