Egypt shuts down NGO event spaces on first day of COP27

Egypt shuts down NGO event spaces on first day of COP27
Civil society groups and NGOs may have to cancel planned events as Egypt reportedly shut down their pavilions on the first day of COP27 on 6 November.
2 min read
25 October, 2022
Egypt has come under the spotlight for a crackdown on civil society [Getty]

The Egyptian government shut down planned events not involving visiting heads of state on 6 November, the first day of COP27, according to The Guardian.

Civil society groups and NGOs have set up pavilions inside the UN-secured 'blue zone' where international leaders are due to meet.

These pavilions typically host scientists, politicians, business leaders, and campaigners who exchange ideas on climate issues. 

The events space will not take place, according to the British daily, allegedly due to heightened security but coincides with a government crackdown on NGOs and activism.

COP27 runs from 6-18 November in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and the climate event has faced criticism for being hosted in a country almost devoid of a free press and civil society due to repressive government measures.

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This year, however, the events were cancelled on the orders of the Egyptian government. The UN said that "the government of Egypt has decided there will be no pavilion events on 7 November 2022" in an email viewed by the British daily.

Several NGOs said the order would restrict debate on key climate issues, and undermine the role of non-state actors at COP27. 

"We're concerned that the shutdown of pavilions during the first day of the summit takes away the critical spaces for this dialogue, stopping events and important discussions that are critical in moving the net zero and nature positive agenda forward," said James Lloyd, one of the organisers of the Nature Positive Pavilion. 

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The previous conference, COP26 in Glasgow, saw political leaders and campaigners such as Greta Thunberg attend events organised at pavilions. 

Egypt has embarked on a horrifying crackdown on protesters, activists, NGO workers, and journalists over the years, with new restrictions ahead of COP27.

Earlier this month, a group of UN-appointed experts criticised Cairo for imposing restrictions that would jeopardise the "safety and full participation" of individuals and organisations wishing to attend the international climate summit.