Luciano Della Mura

Luciano Della Mura

Corporate Client Executive

Charities Aid Foundation

Why is COP27 important for charities?

The annual United Nations climate change conference has been running for almost three decades, with the 27th Conference of the Parties taking place in the coastal town of Sharm al-Sheikh, on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, from the 6th – 18th November 2022.

Previous COP summits delivered the Paris agreement in 2015, and the Glasgow Climate Pact last year at COP26. So, what is in store this year?

Framed by war in Europe which has consequences for energy and food supply constraints, COP27 focuses on four key themes:

  • Mitigation - Actions to reduce or prevent greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere.
  • Adaptation - Changes to processes, practices, and structures in response to our changing climate.
  • Finance - Public, private, and alternative sources of financing that supports climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • Collaboration - Enhancing and facilitating agreement in the negotiations is incredibly important for the Presidency of COP27 to achieve tangible results.

A crisis in acceleration

The climate crisis is progressing at an exponential pace, and as Alok Sharma stated recently, whilst 1.5 degrees is alive, the pulse is weak. The world is currently on track to more than double the 1.5-degree goal by the middle of the century, with some models even showing potential warming could reach 4 degrees. Just in the past week the UN environment agency’s report found there was “no credible pathway to 1.5C in place” and that the inadequate progress on cutting carbon emissions means the only way to limit the worst impacts of the climate crisis is a “rapid transformation of societies”.

This year alone we have witnessed record breaking heatwaves in India and Pakistan, then monsoon flooding left about a third of Pakistan under water, affecting an estimated 33 million people. Extreme heat in Europe led to wildfires, the drought in Spain dried up reservoirs, electricity generation in France plummeted, with low rivers reducing the ability to cool nuclear power towers, and German barges had difficulty finding enough water to navigate the Rhine River – an unprecedented combination of events.

The impact of climate change is real, and no longer an issue of the future – it is not just about the frequency of natural disasters, or that it is warmer in summer or colder in winter. Not only does climate change disproportionately affect those in poverty, but it exacerbates economic, gender and several other social inequalities.

Now more than ever, the reliance on charities to respond to crises, inequalities, and other climate-related risks is growing – but is enough being done to help charities with these increased pressures? 

Impact on charities 

Having come out of the pandemic, and now living through economic and political uncertainty, a cost-of-living crisis, and war in Europe – the charitable sector has been of utmost importance to individuals across the UK and the world - but worryingly it has also witnessed a substantial increase in pressure through rising demands for their services and the costs associated. 

As the climate crisis deepens, the impacts of climate change will only serve to intensify the need for charitable organisations to provide much needed, often life-saving interventions, across the world.
Compounding this, research in our UK Giving Report already suggests a drop in income levels for UK charities. Inflationary pressures point to a real term decrease in the financial resources available for charities. Fewer resources at a time of increased need will have devastating consequences, not only for the individuals they help around the world, but also the momentum for social change that charities inspire. Indeed, a survey commissioned by the People’s Postcode Lottery, found that environmental charities and organisations hold the unrivalled power to motivate people to act and change when it comes to their own impact on the environment.

Although often overlooked, charities have a substantial role to play in the mitigation and adaptation measures the world needs to adopt to circumvent the worst effects of the climate crisis. Without much needed funding, the charitable sector remains as susceptible to the climate crisis as every other sector. Although it has remained relatively resilient despite numerous worldwide pressures, this should not be taken for granted as environmental degradation deepens and paves the way for increased societal issues. 

What are CAF looking out for at COP27?

COP27 offers a beacon of hope in the face of turbulent times. As an organisation which exists to accelerate progress in society towards a fair and sustainable future for all, we understand the need for bold, inclusive, and meaningful action on the climate agenda and will be looking out for:

  • Whether the UK government takes the lead and uses its status and power to encourage nations to move pledges from the drawing board to delivery.
  • Announcements on philanthropic pledges to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. Recent figures according to ClimateWorks show climate change mitigation represents 2% of philanthropic giving worldwide.
  • A ‘seat at the table’ for civil society groups, and whether voices are given to those who are most impacted by climate change.
  • Collaborative efforts between policymakers, scientists, businesses and civil society groups to mitigate against the effects of climate change.
  • Collaborative efforts to act on climate change between scientists, businesses and civil society groups, such as the Deutsche Bank Ocean Resilience Philanthropy Fund announced last year. 


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