Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

Egypt to Host Big U.N. Climate Summit While Muzzling Environmental Activists

By Robbie Gramer

14 Sep 2022 · 6 min read

In the run-up to hosting a major U.N. climate summit in November, Egypt has publicly touted its commitment to curb carbon emissions and framed itself as a leader in supporting the developing world’s adaptation to new climate shocks. But behind the scenes, the Egyptian government has cracked down on environmental activists in the country through harassment, intimidation, and arrests, according to interviews with environmental experts and a new report from an international human rights watchdog.

Egypt’s role as the host of the 27th U.N. Climate Change Conference, or COP27, is expected to shed fresh light on President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s widespread crackdown on the country’s civil society, including environmental advocates, posing a vexing foreign-policy challenge for major democratic powers seeking to advance ambitious climate goals even if it means cooperating with some of the world’s most repressive autocratic regimes. For U.S. President Joe Biden, the upcoming COP27 summit puts his human rights policy on a possible collision course with his climate policy.

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