Nov. 17, 2022

COP27 in images – as Egypt hosts the United Nations climate change conference

The sun was just setting over Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt when hundreds of protestors turned towards the main plenary hall of COP27 – the United Nations climate change conference – to raise their fists into the air, shouting ‘Pay up! Pay up! Pay up for loss and damage!’
11 November 2022, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt: Hundreds of protestors turn toward the main plenary hall of the COP27 venue as United States president Joe Biden walks past on his way to the plenary hall stage, shouting 'Pay up, pay up, pay up for loss and damage!'. The action was part of a staged flooding of the venue of the United Nations climate change conference COP27, just as the conference prepared to receive Biden, ready to address the conference moments later. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert
16 November 2022

Approaching the plenary was United States president Joe Biden, who following mid-term elections in the US had acquired a special slot for addressing COP on 11 November, days later than the regular World Leaders Summit that opens the conference each year.

At the same time outside, hundreds of climate protestors, led by seven women from the global south, were staging a symbolic flooding of the COP venue, to bring home the message of how the climate crisis impacts vulnerable communities worldwide, many of whose voices seem not to be heard within the walls of negotiation rooms at the annual climate conference.
11 November 2022, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt: Seven women from the global south lead the way, as hundreds of protestors stage a flooding of the venue of the United Nations climate change conference COP27. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

The call for so-called loss and damage finance remains high on the civil society agenda at COP, as there are consequences of climate change that simply cannot be resolved by vulnerable communities adapting to changing weather patterns.
11 November 2022, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt:  Jocabed Solano, theologian and activist from the indigenous Gunadale Nation, Panamá, joins as hundreds of protestors stage a flooding of the venue of the United Nations climate change conference COP27. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

COP27 in Egypt and its slogan ‘Together for implementation’ rings of a Paris rule book completed in Glasgow 2021, but whose fruits are yet to be seen by communities around the globe, and the justice issue of those who have done the least to drive escalating global temperatures on suffering the most from the consequences continues to loom over negotiations.
11 November 2022, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt: A group of COP27 participants from Africa raise their voices at the venue of the United Nations climate change conference COP27, rallying with the words 'Stop oil in Africa, stop pipelines' written on their hand. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

As expressed in a statement by the World Council of Churches executive committee (https://www.oikoumene.org/news/wcc-statement-on-cop27-a-critical-occasion-to-re-envision-a-roadmap-for-sustainable-tomorrow)  on 12 November, there are communities and nations already facing catastrophic impacts of climate change but whose urgent appeals other members of the international community have failed to heed.
10 November 2022, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt: Alexia Leclercq from SustainUS and a group of other youth rally at the venue of the United Nations climate change conference COP27 -- as the event marks Youth Day in the COP27 negotiations agenda -- calling for those responsible for the climate crisis to 'Pay up for loss and damage'. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

At the same time, the 27th COP is taking place in a context where civil society’s limited opportunities to speak up publicly have been widely criticized.
7 November 2022: An Egyptian flag flutters in the wind by the venue of the United Nations climate change conference COP27. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

What is more, COP27 has turned out to be the most heavily infested one so far by delegates related to the fossil fuel industry – raising questions about the legitimacy of the negotiations.
10 November 2022, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt: An airplane flies past the venue of the United Nations climate change conference COP27. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Yet the voices of civil society continue to cry out in Sharm el-Sheikh.
12 November 2022, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt: Civil Society representatives from the Pacific Islands chant 'We are not drowning, we are fighting', as many hundred people from a variety of civil society organizations and faith communities across the globe march through the venue of the United Nations climate change conference COP27. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

And as people gathered for the traditional COP climate march – normally held in the heart of the hosting city but this year confined to the perimeters of the venue of COP27 itself – faith communities were represented right at the front line.
12 November 2022, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt: Anglican Bishop Julio Ernesto Murray Thompson of Panama speaks on behalf of faith communities represented at COP27, after many hundred people from a variety of civil society organizations and faith communities across the globe march through the venue of the United Nations climate change conference COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Held on the grounds of the Coptic Orthodox Church’s Heavenly Cathedral in Sharm el-Sheikh on 13 November, an ecumenical prayer service also heard representatives from various church traditions speak words of repentance and forgiveness, while praying to the Lord for guidance in caring for the Earth.
13 November 2022, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt: Ecumenical prayer service held at the compound of the Heavenly Cathedral in Sharm el-Sheikh, with participants from different Christian traditions, in connection with the United Nations Climate Change conference COP27. Here pictured, Metropolitan Seraphim Kykkotis of Zimbabwe. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

“Our love for authority and power has pushed the planet beyond its limits. Our consumption became inconsistent with the rhythm of the earth and its ability to heal itself, so many species became extinct, and systems and habitats that were vibrant with life from the bottom of the seas and oceans to the tops of the mountains collapsed”, the prayer read, and continued: “We are enriched by your grace in the new covenants to take care of our common homes and live our vocation. Thank you for choosing us to work and save the earth…”
13 November 2022, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt: The Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, or The Heavenly Cathedral, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, home to congregants of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert