The 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Paris Agreement, was held from 6 to 20 November 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. It is usually a gathering of public- and private-sector leaders to collaborate toward providing sustainable solutions to the effects of climate change.
This year, COP27 was delivered in November at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, which not only signifies the inclusiveness in the UN’s energy transition strategy but also provides an opportunity for exploring Africa’s potential to play a leading role in accelerating the energy transition agenda.
REES Africa’s founder, Yetunde Deborah Fadeyi, was sponsored to COP27 by Sustainable Energy for All to underscore REES Africa’s engagements and impact in enabling last-mile energy access to rural communities and promoting environmental sustainability projects. The event comprised high-level and side events, critical negotiations, and press conferences. In attendance were more than 100 Heads of State and Governments, over 35,000 participants,s and numerous pavilions showcasing climate action around the world and across different sectors.
Here’s a rundown of the COP27 activities we engaged in:
The Youth Impact Framework
In partnership with the Global Covenant of Mayors on Climate & Energy and the University of Melbourne, the Youth Impact Framework measures the contributions and impact of youth-led engagements as critical players in achieving global climate and energy goals. The organisers interviewed young leaders and organisations supporting youth energy initiatives to provide data and evidence for this framework. To this effect, Yetunde, a female leader of an African youth-led energy transformation group (REES Africa), was invited to converse and provide insights into the COP27 agenda.
“Empowering People” Dialogue
World Energy Council and Consumers International organised the “Empowering people in progressing clean and just energy transitions” dialogue. This ninety-minute event showcased the diversity, inclusiveness and the corresponding effect of the current Energy Trilemma Framework. The discussion aimed at providing solutions to ensure transparent energy transition by involving women, workers, youth and other marginalised voices — in making informed choices and supporting their participation in the acceleration of clean and just energy transitions.
Children and Youth Pavillon
The International Renewable Energy Agency IRENA held a Youth as Peer Educators for the Energy Transition with IRENA at the Children and Youth Pavilion
Networking event: Women and Youth at the Forefront
The Government of Iceland sponsored a networking event for stakeholders to connect and provide insights on women and youth empowerment in sustainable energy. This initiative emphasises the role of women and youth as key stakeholders who must be at the vanguard of discussions, policies, plans and strategies to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 and net zero emissions by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The Youth Energy Transition Commission: Unifying Youth Toward SDG7
This event saw the establishment of the Youth Energy Transition Commission (YETC) by a partnership between the SEforALL, the Government of Panama, the Enel Foundation and the IEA. The YETC aims to unify youth organisations working in the SDG7 space. This initiative would allow youth to collaborate with stakeholders and empower them to contribute and influence sustainable energy transition.
Side Event: EmPower Her, Advancing Women Energy Entrepreneurs to Fuel Development
The Climate Investment Platform (CIP), a global partnership by UNDP, IRENA, and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), organised this event to celebrate women energy entrepreneurs and discuss strategies to advance them.
UN Broadcast Panel on Gender day
Representing REES Africa, Yetunde was a panel member at the UN broadcast studio on day 7, November 14, which was gender day. Women are disproportionately affected by the impact of inefficient energy access. Our quest for sustainable energy transition must put all genders into consideration.
Some crucial lessons we learned are:
- We will not achieve SDG 7 if we continue at our current rate of progress
- Climate action is an ongoing process, not an event, requiring extraordinary collaboration.
- We are already halfway between the Paris Climate Agreement and the 2030 deadline.
- We need all hands on deck to drive justice and ambition.
- All young people can play a role in energy transition irrespective of their skills, passion and background
From all indications, COP27 was a fully packed event. The diversity and inclusiveness strategy inspired relevant and future-oriented conversations. It was indeed an honour to lend our voice to a course we feel strongly about and to learn from others how we all can take progressive steps towards achieving the SDG7 agenda. Our commitment to energy transition and environmental sustainability is firmer than before, and we are open to more such collaborations and strategic actions towards achieving our goals. Taking a cue from the concluding Statement by the Secretary-General at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh,
“We can and must win this battle for our lives.”
Author: Christiana Ugbem
Photo: REES Africa, COP27