Advocates worry about ‘closing civic space’ at COP meetings

Jee Y. Geronimo

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Advocates worry about ‘closing civic space’ at COP meetings

FILE PHOTO: View of a COP27 sign on the road leading to the conference area in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh town as the city prepares to host the COP27 summit next month, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt October 20, 2022. REUTERS/Sayed Sheasha/File Photo

Sayed Sheasha/Reuters

'At least for the last two years, we have seen closing space in the UNFCCC, closing civic space at the COP meetings,' says Ivan Enrile, the climate justice program manager of IBON International

MANILA, Philippines – At such a crucial time for the global climate talks, civil society organizations are seeing “closing civic space” at the annual Conference of Parties (COP) meetings of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

In an episode of Rappler’s The Green Report podcast, Ivan Enrile, the climate justice program manager of development organization IBON International, said there has been some frustration as this has been happening “at least for the last two years.”

Advocates worry about ‘closing civic space’ at COP meetings

“At least for the last two years, we have seen closing space in the UNFCCC, closing civic space at the COP meetings. Many developing countries, many organizations from the Global South were not able to come to Glasgow, because it was really very expensive for them to go to COP,” Enrile said.

He echoed Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who said that with this year’s COP27 happening in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, “the space for civil society is going to be extremely limited.”

For instance, Enrile said there won’t be a parallel People’s Summit at COP27.

Wala tayong ganoon this year. Tapos, ‘yung political climate sa Egypt ay hindi conducive para sa ganoong tipo ng independent civil society mobilization and action,” he told Rappler.

(We don’t have that this year. And then the political climate in Egypt is not conducive for that type of independent civil society mobilization and action.)

Public demonstration is banned in Egypt and limits on accreditation and attendance badges for activists have been a point of contention at previous UN climate summits.

Thunberg, who summarized the 2021 COP as “Blah, blah, blah,” said she won’t attend this year’s climate conference.

Still, Enrile will be there, with his organization set to participate in an official side event that will discuss the global stocktake of the Paris Agreement, which is a periodic review mechanism for climate mitigation and adaptation.

“It’s very important for civil society and developing country parties to be there at the table because they are the ones who are in the frontlines of the climate crisis, sila ‘yung pinakaapektado (they are the ones most affected), and they have a very important agenda to push and promote sa loob ng (inside the) Conference of Parties,” Enrile said.

He added: “We cannot just let big polluters and developed countries set the agenda. Actually… COP27 is being sponsored by Coca-Cola. So, importante sa atin ‘yun na hindi natin hahayaan lang na malaya silang mag-set ng agenda (it’s important for us that we don’t let them just freely set the agenda), although it’s going to be very challenging for civil society. Importante (It’s important) that we put up a fight.”

In September, the COP27 presidency announced Coca-Cola as its “supporter sponsor.” Environmental campaigners have branded the sponsorship deal with a “top plastic polluter” as “greenwashing.”

COP27, happening from November 6 to 18, also marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UNFCCC, to which the Philippines is a party. Follow Rappler’s COP27 coverage here. – with a report from Reuters/

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!
Avatar photo


Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.