Organized by the Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change, Environment and Human Rights, the event offered an opportunity for faith-based groups to reflect and evaluate their involvement in the COP27 process, in order to better prepare for the COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from 30 November-12 December 2023.
From a human rights perspective, participants explored how they can be even more engaged in the climate negotiation process to bring a perspective on faith and compassion in order to inspire and encourage decision-makers to include human beings, Mother Earth, and other beings in their consideration.
During the COP27 in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, a significant number of faith-based organisations were mobilised to participate both in the negotiation process, as well as in raising public awareness on the importance of having an ambitious target for climate actions, as mandated by the Paris Agreement.
As they took a look back at COP27—with an eye toward an even stronger engagement in COP28—speakers also offered an overview of the relationships and different elements that went on during COP27.
Vicente Paolo Yu, Filipino lawyer and coordinator for the G77 and China who led negotiations on climate-related loss, and damage, gave an overview of what he termed “the slow development of the multilateral climate regime over time” linked to geopolitical power dynamics.
There is a deep underlying question on “whether climate action is about decolonization or continued hegemony,” Yu observed. He urged faith-based organizations to continue to contribute towards changing the narratives framing climate negotiations - from climate action as a “technology-driven, private wealth-generating mechanism” to a “community-driven public good.”
Cindy Kobei, a Kenyan citizen representing the Ogiek Youth Council, lifted up Indigenous perspectives on climate justice and expectations for COP28
“It is really unfortunate that, after every COP, we are always discussing the next COP instead of implementing the pledges of the previous one,” she said. “Indigenous people and local communities live at the center of the global climate and biodiversity crisis.
“We want to see more implementation of these pledges and we also wanted to see more local Indigenous leaders creating and co-designing the climate solutions,” Kobei added. “It is important to ensure that we have the local voices, that we have the local people. that we had the community organizations leading the climate solutions.”