Campaigners have warned that the participation of activists and low-income country delegates risks being restricted again at this year’s climate talks following an increase in hotel prices and the absence of engagement with green groups.
The Cop27 climate talks are expected to take place in the beach resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt from 7-18 November and Civil society groups are hopeful that the summit can give a voice to millions of Africans on the frontlines of the climate crisis.
But high accommodation costs and concerns over Egypt’s human rights record threatens diverse participation.
Ahead of the conference, which is expected to spotlight adaptation and resilience, the tourism ministry has established a list of minimum prices hotels should charge for rooms in Sharm el-Sheikh.
A letter from the Egyptian Hotel Association to hotels in Sharm el-Sheikh for instance has set a price of at least $500 per night for a room in a five-star hotel. This is nearly five times the usual cost.
According to reports, rooms in four-star hotels will not go for less than $350 per night while $120 per night is the floor rate in two-star institutions.
An Egyptian climate campaigner, who preferred not to be named said that the government was likely seeing an opportunity to capitalise on the summit, adding that “It is indicative that inclusion is not within the government’s priorities or maybe even nor on their agenda”.
This is not the first time a climate conference will be experiencing high accommodation prices. Recall that during the Cop26 summit in Glasgow last November, prices reached prohibitively expensive costs for many delegates.
However, the executive director of Climate Action Network International, Tasneem Essop has warned that Cop27 must not see a repeat of the exclusion civil society participants experienced at Cop26 because of logistical challenges.
“We do not want a situation where participants, particularly from civil society and those from developing countries, are excluded from being at a UN climate summit simply because of exorbitant costs,” she said. “Accommodation and logistical arrangements should be “affordable for a wide range of participants”.
Story was adapted from Climate Home News.