The United Nations Climate Change Conference 2022 — COP27 — opened recently in Sharm el-Sheikh with the aim of ensuring full implementation of the Paris Agreement adopted in 2015.
- Sharm el-Sheikh, often called just Sharm, is a resort town in Egypt, situated at the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula where the Gulf of Aqaba joins the Red Sea.
- It is a major tourist centre in Egypt, and also, like Cancun in Mexico, a preferred venue for international conferences.
Selection of COP host –
- The venue for the COP meeting rotates among the five UN-identified regions —
- Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Caribbean, and Western Europe and Others.
- The countries in the region propose a candidate, and a host is usually decided at least two years in advance.
- If no country agrees to be the host, Bonn, where the UNFCCC secretariat is headquartered, steps in as host.
- The rotation cycle has not been followed very strictly.
- The first and second COPs were held in western Europe (Berlin and Geneva), and so were the fifth and sixth (Bonn and the Hague).
- After the 2012 COP in Doha, the event has not yet returned to Asia.
- Countries are sometimes not enthusiastic to host the event. This is mainly due to two reasons —
- One, the host city incurs huge expenditure on the event, not all of which is reimbursed.
- There are many thousands of participants, a large number of high-profile visits by international dignitaries, and frequent disruptions by protesters who come from all over the world — all of which stretch the city’s resources and are sometimes more trouble than they are worth.
- Two, the host country, which presides over the conference, is expected to demonstrate leadership in taking steps to combat climate change.
- This is the reason why countries like the US, China, or Russia, or even Japan, Australia, or Canada, are not keen to host COP.
- Japan hosted the 1997 event that produced the Kyoto Protocol, but it was also the first country to walk out of it in 2011.
- Australia, which too withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, has never hosted the conference.
- India, the third largest emitter, hosted the 2002 COP in New Delhi, much before climate change became a big thing.