By Our Reporter
Many of the Ugandan climate activists attending the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27, in Egypt are unsatisfied with the way they are blocked from being part of key discussion rooms.
Morris Nyombi an activist and founder of Uganda’s Earth Volunteers has revealed that he left Kampala with great aspirations of representing his community in Sharm El-Sheikh, but that his goal has already been dashed.
“The biggest challenge has been mostly on accessing the events, you can not enter inside because you do not have the party accreditation,” Nyombi said.
“They refused to give me accreditation so I came as an observer,” he added.
Access to the COP discussion rooms is always restricted to delegates with party (country/government) accreditations, whereas representatives of civil society are mostly restricted to the blue zone and other side activities.
Nyombi, who says his family was displaced by the disastrous floods that ravaged Butaleja in 2008, told this website that most of the activists are now rendered ineffective and can only attend side events, which is not why they are in Egypt.
“Activists are just loitering around, doing nothing. I wanted to tell the world that we are not tourists, we have a lot of tourist attractions in our country that we can be visiting other than coming here where it is even too hot…,” Nyombi said.
Patience Nabukalu, a member of the Fridays for Future Uganda, stated that she does not comprehend the notion of COP27 because “victims of the climate crisis are still being left out.”
Despite the fact that the global north is responsible for more than 80% of global emissions that cause climate change, Africa is bearing the brunt of the repercussions of climate change, and Nabukalu believes that these are the people who should be heard.
“I have been at COP27 for three days now but I haven’t still gotten the all concept. Why do I still feel the victims of the crises are still left out. We want to tell our stories, we want to push our demands for we are the solution,” Nabukalu said.
Worries on security
According to Nyombi, the campaigners are also concerned about their safety in Egypt.
Civil society organisations have condemned the Egyptian government’s violation of human rights, claiming that a number of activists and journalists have already been imprisoned in the run-up to COP27.
This website understands that activists who want to protest at COP27, which is being hosted in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, must apply for accreditation 36 hours in advance, including information such as the names of the protest organisers and the details of the intended march.
“I am worried because they gathered a lot of information concerning us and right now it is restricting us from protesting so we have to be smart, which is hard. We are being silenced from putting pressure on world leaders and this is the only chance because after this conference, we will not be able to meet them,” Nyombi said.
The COP27 in Egypt has been dubbed the “African COP,” and Nyombi told this website that it would have been the ideal opportunity for African activists to demand anything they have been demanding.
Destin Sempijja, CEO of Cherish Aid Foundation and African coordinator of the HBCU Green Fund, stated that his goals for this COP27 were to exert pressure on rich countries to put in place the promised climate financing to simplify programs with the potential to reverse the climate catastrophe.
“We cannot transition to renewable energy without the climate finance,” he said.
The COP27 will run until November 18, 2022.