COP27 was far from perfect but some remarkable things did happen for the first time.

COP27: What it means for older people everywhere

COP27 was far from perfect but some remarkable things did happen for the first time.


COP27 was far from perfect but some remarkable things did happen for the first time.

1 – Rich nations agreed to the long-awaited Loss and Damage fund, a triumph for the developing countries that have been demanding such a fund for close to thirty years.

Entirely funded by the countries most responsible for the climate catastrophe, the fund will help developing countries to cover the costs caused by extreme weather.

“The establishment is not a charity. It is a down payment on our shared futures. It is a down payment on climate justice.”
Sherry Rehman, Minister for Pakistan


Why is the Loss and Damage Fund so important?

It is the first concrete recognition of the damage wrought by the global north; an admission too of the disproportionate impact extreme weather is having on developing countries who emit a fraction of greenhouse gases.
Importantly, it’s a glimpse of global solidarity and climate justice.

2 – A clean, healthy and sustainable environment becomes a human right.

A win for everyone, everywhere. For the first time, access to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is embedded in the international treaty known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).  No longer a ‘nice to have’, it has become a human right – the first time this gets a reference in international environmental negotiations.

© HelpAge International

3 – Food security gets a mention.

The COP27 deal also says that “safeguarding food security and ending hunger” is a fundamental priority and that communities can better protect themselves if water systems are protected and conserved.
By contrast, Glasgow’s COP made no reference to food, agriculture or water. In addition, protecting, conserving, restoring and sustainably using nature and ecosystems have been reflected which was missed at Glasgow too.
Older people are disproportionately affected by food price hikes and limited food availability: they are far less able to secure work to compensate for the additional costs. Importantly their specific nutritional and food needs are also often overlooked when crises bite. We see this time and again in famine and malnutrition outbreaks where the food distributed is often entirely unsuited to older people, who require softer foods dense in nutrients.
So, while we welcome the recognition of food security, the needs of older people remain unseen, let alone embedded.

No parallel action on rapidly cutting emissions.

Any advances made last week will be ineffective without parallel action on the radical reduction of emissions.
COP27 fell short on phasing out fossil fuels – a must to keep temperature rises well below 2C. Without rapid emissions cuts, we will not limit the scale of loss and damage.

What now?

There is much work ahead of us if we are to secure a success that leaves no one behind. As our world rapidly ages, we need a COP that recognises older people’s vulnerability and their vast knowledge, contributions and experience.  
Our Grey and Green Manifesto kickstarts a global movement of older people and sets out our top 5 priorities to securing true climate justice for all.

Sign up to secure climate action for older people where you are.

If you haven’t signed up, you still can here.
And if you have, thank you – I’ll be in touch soon!

Javeria Afzal, Global Climate Advisor