Analysis: COP27 climate summit turns heat on Egypt

Owen Alterman

Senior Correspondent of i24NEWS English Channel | @owenalterman

3 min read
This combination of photos shows participants snoozing during the closing session of the COP27 climate conference, at the Sharm el-Sheikh International Convention Center in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of the same name, early on November 20, 2022.
JOSEPH EID / AFPThis combination of photos shows participants snoozing during the closing session of the COP27 climate conference, at the Sharm el-Sheikh International Convention Center in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of the same name, early on November 20, 2022.

Delegates vent to global media outlets about frustration with Egypt's leadership

It was intended to be Egypt's moment in the sun, but maybe, even the winter heat in Sharm el-Sheikh was just too intense.

The COP27 climate summit is ending with bad press for the host Egyptian government. It had been meant to burnish Egypt's brand.

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At the podium, the Egyptian foreign minister appeared in command.

 “We have come to a crucial juncture in our collective effort to address the global challenge of climate change. You have all made a tremendous effort to bring us to this point of compromise and consensus," said Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who was also the COP27 president.

But away from the meeting halls, the sentiment was reportedly different, as delegates vented to global media outlets about frustration with Egypt's leadership.

They complained about poor logistics and lack of preparation by Egyptian mediators, which they said led to a chaotic process. And to a resulting deal that came two days after the target date.

Egyptian Presidency / AFP
Egyptian Presidency / AFPEgyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (3rd R) rides a bicycle on the sidelines of the the COP27 climate conference, in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of Sharm el- Sheikh, November 10, 2022.

"This is the make-or-break decade, but what we have in front of us is not enough of a step forward for people and planet. It does not bring enough added efforts from major emitters to increase and accelerate their emissions cuts," is the view of Frans Timmermans, European Union Climate Policy Chief.

All of this is a blow for Egypt. The Egyptian government bid to host the summit in the Sinai Peninsula resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, to showcase Egypt as an international mover-and-shaker and legitimize a government battered by criticism of its human rights record.

But in the long term, the summit could still prove a boon for Egypt, because of its main achievement: a landmark deal on a fund for poor countries for "loss and damage" from climate change.

“Millions around the globe can now sense some glimmer of hope that their suffering will finally be addressed appropriately," Shoukry declared. 

This puts Egypt on the side of developing countries, positioned exactly where it wants to be seen – as a kind of champion for the world's poor.

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