COP27 diary – Bronwyn Nielsen on the ground in Egypt

By Bronwyn Nielsen

On 6 November, 112 world leaders gathered in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt for COP27 under the theme: “Together for implementation to deliberate on how to further deliver on the global climate agenda and translate current climate commitments into implementation.” Throughout the two-week conference the gravity of the climate crisis was underlined and the importance of redoubling efforts to ensure the delivery of concrete results was stressed over and over, albeit in different guises.

In partnership with Nedbank, BizNews and The Nielsen Network digital media teams hit the ground in Sharm El Sheik  determined to cover the climate conference with the same fervour as a traditional broadcast organisations. Right from the start the pace was frenetic; internet connectivity and logistics were at times extremely challenging but the team was determined to make the coverage a successful, full-blown affair. After forty high level interviews over nine days, including with the Right Honourable former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, as well as capturing the views of most of the South African COP27 delegation, an exhausted but elated digital broadcast partnership proved that we can run with the big dogs in the media game.

Across BizNews and The Nielsen Network is a measurable game and for our next global conference we know how we can up our game and more importantly, have an aggregate viewership number that we can target to surpass. As Henry Ford famously said, “What you can measure, you can manage”. This is easy in the digital world and a refreshing change from the lack of measurability in the traditional media space.

Barbara Creecy, South Africa’s Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs, led the South African delegation and was clear on her stance that developed nations would not be allowed to backtrack on the commitments they had tabled on COP26 in Glasgow. Creecy did South Africa proud and led robust conversations on compensation for poor countries that have not caused climate change but are being devastated by its effects. The Minister expressed her satisfaction at the fact that nearly 200 countries agreed to set up a fund in the next year for loss and damage which would rescue and rebuild the physical and social infrastructure of countries ravaged by extreme weather events. The challenge now, of course, is that the fund must be set up, filled with cash and agreement reached on how the finance should be provided and where it should come from.

There are many varied views being expressed on the success of COP27. Many still criticise the Climate Convention as just a talk shop. But as one gentlemen replied when I asked whether he thought it was just a talk shop: “What are you advocating? Would it be better not to talk about the climate crisis? Talk is essential to galvanise action.” Conferences of this nature are critical to the process of aggregating action against climate change to ensure that we have a future. A response I can’t argue with.

The UAE was named as the next host for the UN Climate Change Conference. The 2023 event will be held at Dubai Expo City and you can bet your bottom dollar that BizNews and The Nielsen Network will be back in full force.

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