COP27: Sharm el-Sheikh Day
My first trip to the Middle East has been a long one, but I finally arrived to Sharm el-Sheikh yesterday and could not be more excited, nor proud, to participate. Leaving Miami on Friday night I first traveled for nearly nine hours to London and then it was off to Cairo, Egypt’s capital, on a five-hour fight. Sunday morning I awoke early and flew from Cairo into Sharm el-Sheikh, an Egyptian city located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula on the Red Sea. All in all, the trip took about 35 hours from Miami including layovers, but I’ve arrived in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt (which means “Bay of the Sheikh” in Egyptian and is also known as the “City of Peace” given the many peace conferences held here over the decades) and today, Monday, I have been fully immersed in COP27.
And speaking of firsts, this is the very first ever COP that’s taking place in the Middle East. Given this region’s impact on fossil fuel production, having a COP here (or, for that matter, having next year’s return to the Middle East by being in the UAE) is a very important step in my view to transitioning our energy systems from fossils to sustainable solutions.
This year’s event will be held at the International Convention Center (SHICC), which is one of the largest conference centers in the Middle East and Africa. And having a large site is important given the scale of COP as the world comes together to discuss our climate crisis.
This year’s conference will include:
- Over 2,000 speakers
- More than 35,000 participants including what are called Representatives of Parties to the Convention and Observer States, members of the media, Representatives of various organizations and members of the public.
- 300 climate-oriented topics
- 150,000 square meters of meeting space
My day yesterday was centered on traveling from Cairo to “Sharm,” as the locals call this city, checking into my hotel, and then the Conference, obtaining my official identification (I’m here as what’s called an Observer, in this case via my affiliation with the University of Miami where I attend graduate school) and visiting the SHICC where the convention is being held.
Given the seven-hour time difference between Sharm and Miami I am writing this post on Monday morning local time. Allow me to just end by saying to my youngest readers that if a kid from Miami like myself can have an impact on a topic she’s passionate about that takes her around the world, then so can you. I will be thinking about you and our mutual future a lot this week and will be hoping that as many of you as possible will find a way to be at next year’s COP28 meeting in the United Arab Emirates to voice your concerns with the world like I plan to do here in Egypt this week.