With the slogan “We are not yet defeated”, hundreds of people marched on Saturday, November 12, 2022, at COP27 in Egypt to make it clear that civil society will not give up in defending their demands.
Environmental NGOs, women and gender constituencies, Indigenous peoples’ organisations, Trade union NGOs, and Children and youth NGOs joined the COP27 coalition on the Global Day of Action to organise the big march that took place within the Blue Zone (governed by UN rules), due to the restrictions on freedom of association and assembly and free speech imposed by the Egyptian government.
These actions take place within the framework of global mobilisations to demand more ambitious climate policies and climate justice.
According to the activists, the world is suffering from multiple crises of the climate emergency, an energy crisis, a global pandemic, and rising cost of living, among others.
The added that addressing these crises and securing climate, social, and economic justice cannot take place within the boundaries of existing, authoritarian, extractive, neo-colonial, racist, patriarchal systems and societies that close civic space and do not ensure the human rights of all people and communities, particularly those who defend these rights.
Governments, they added, are refusing to step up and act in the interest of the people and, as a result, the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities continue to suffer whilst they have the least responsibility for causing it.
Janet Kachinga of COP27 Coalition said: “We march today as part of the Global Day of Action called by the COP27 coalition and in. Solidarity is the cornerstone of climate justice. We are marching inside the UN space to highlight that our movements are unable to march freely on the streets of Egypt. We refuse to greenwash the Egyptian government’s denial of the right to freedom of association, assembly, and speech by marching in a government-controlled march in the streets of Sharm El-Sheikh.
“We are marching to lift up the voices and demands of all our frontline communities and movements facing repression because they dream of a better world. We are at a crossroads of overlapping crises and governments are not on track to stop the worst of the climate crisis. Windfall profits of fossil fuel companies and accumulation of wealth among a few vs. the rising cost of living for millions, inflation, and economic precarity is leaving the majority even more vulnerable. Ongoing wars and the climate impacts have sharpened the focus on the fragility of global fuel and food systems.
“Meanwhile we are seeing the rise of authoritarianism and the crackdown on civil liberties which poses a danger to us all. COP27 needs to be a turning point for the climate crisis, and not a moment to silence people,”
The Global Day of Action enabled people around the world over to show solidarity and demand action through a digital presence, local actions, or joining the protest at the COP27 venue in Sharm El-Sheikh.
This cross-constituency-led action at the UN Conference venue looks to bring together civil society in a protest to not only demand that governments do more to ensure an outcome of COP that benefits and protects people, but also to make it clear that there can be no climate justice without human rights. To show solidarity with human rights and environmental defenders who suffered injustices and horrific harms at the hands of governments and due to fossil fuel company greed.
Mohamed Adow of COP27 Coalition: “The science of climate breakdown has never been clearer and seeing the suffering of my fellow Africans facing drought and famine, the impacts have never been more painful. Therefore, it’s no wonder that people are rising up across the world to make their voices heard so that they will not stand for inaction from their leaders. Unless more urgency is shown, marches will only be the start. The credibility of the entire UNFCCC process is at stake if states participating in the COP fail to reject the abuse of human rights wherever they take place and deny their foundational role in achieving climate justice.”
Nnimmo Bassey of Demand Climate Justice: “Today we rise as a people, despite the restrictions, to demand our collective rights to a livable future. We demand payment of the climate debt accumulated by centuries of dispossession, oppression and destruction. We need a COP led by the people and not polluters. One that rejects ecocidal, neocolonial false solutions, that will widen the emissions gap, burn Africa and sink small island states and further entrench environmental racism and climate injustice!”