Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt – Equation Campaign has launched a global legal network for climate defenders, CliDef, which, alongside local partners, is providing direct legal services to climate activists attending or acting around COP27 who find themselves in legal trouble.
Equation Campaign is working with partners and local human rights lawyers to ensure legal safety for climate activists who are attending COP27. This includes rapidly supporting legal and financial resources, preparing legal toolkits, and “Know-Your-Rights” training with global coalitions to legal and climate activists prior to COP27.
Equation Campaign has also launched a legal protection hotline, operational from November 2-20th, where activists in Egypt can access urgent legal advice if they find themselves in trouble at the airports, the conference, or the country of Egypt at-large.
Human rights organizations have been sounding the alarm for months about the threats posed to activists seeking to protest at or near the UN’s climate conference. In October, a group of United Nations’ appointed experts expressed concern that the political environment in Egypt will not allow for full participation of all individuals and organizations wishing to attend and make their voices heard at COP27.
Equation Campaign, a ten-year funding initiative to keep oil and gas in the ground, supports people on the frontlines, with a focus on strategies that center the expertise and power of the communities impacted first and worst by both the climate crisis and the impacts of oil and gas operations.
CliDef – whose founding director is Goldman Environmental Prize winner and Liberian environmental lawyer Alfred Brownell – is especially concerned about three groups during and after COP27 in Egypt:
- Youth climate movements: As these groups generally have a higher risk tolerance and greater vulnerability, Equation Campaign is prioritizing legal support to youth activists. Equation Campaign’s youth climate legal fellow Ayisha Siddiqa is attending the conference.
- African grassroots activists: This COP is frequently called the “African COP,” yet only 20% of grassroots African climate activists have secured official participation, according to Rise Up Africa. People will be seeking other ways to have their voices heard. Earlier this month, Equation Campaign helped secure the release of nine students in Uganda who faced arrest during a climate protest, which helped us prepare and fill a gap of what is to come at COP.
- Activists returning to repressive regimes after COP: Equation Campaign has identified “hotspots” where activists may be at risk when returning home, and putting lawyers in place to address their problems.
Equation Campaign’s launch of CliDef fits into its strategy to support two missing pieces of the equation in most climate philanthropy and activism to date: supply side strategies to stop or delay new or expanded projects, and to directly target the power of the fossil fuel industry, and racial justice movement strategies that center the expertise and power of the communities impacted first and worst by both the climate crisis.
Katie Redford, executive director of Equation Campaign, said, “Equation Campaign recognizes that the fossil fuel industry, and the governments who enable their destructive activities, have used their immense power, wealth and political influence to keep expanding operations by intimidating climate activists by weaponizing the legal system against them. This is true all over the world, but at COP27 in Egypt, activists are facing legal threats in the context of limited freedom of speech and association. This threat doesn’t end after COP27 is over. Across the world, activists are facing similar pressures when they get back home and are on the frontlines of stopping oil and gas expansion. We need governments to protect their rights over corporate rights; and we need philanthropy to step up and join us to ensure their ability to safely advocate for climate justice. They are fighting for all of us, and it’s time we have their backs.”
About Equation Campaign
Founded in 2020, Equation Campaign (https://equationcampaign.org) is a ten-year funding initiative working to bring about a safe and just future by enhancing the power of movements to keep oil and gas in the ground. Equation Campaign supports the climate movement by funding resistance on the ground and diminishing the industry’s sources of financial support. The fund makes grants for strategic litigation and the legal defense of activists, while also working to revoke the fossil fuel industry’s social license by countering its deception and unmasking its deceit. Co-founders Rebecca Rockefeller Lambert and Peter Gill Case, two Rockefeller family members and cousins, recognize the window of opportunity to fast-track their philanthropy with the urgency that science and justice demand.