06 December 2022

Making Waves at COP27

Written by: Shanna Edberg

For the first time ever, Hispanic Access Foundation attended COP27 this November at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt– a huge step in the growth of our climate program!

What is COP27?

If you’re not familiar with the climate advocacy world, it may take some explanation to understand what exactly COP27 is and why our presence there was so momentous. COP stands for Conference of the Parties. It is an annual convening by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It takes place every year in different parts of the world. So COP27 means we attended the 27th annual Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(The United Nations loves acronyms and complicated names).

Every year at COP, the leaders of every country in the world, or their diplomats and delegates, come together to try and create a global agreement to address climate change. For example, at COP22 in Paris in 2015, the world signed the Paris Agreement to agree to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of keeping global warming from heating the world above 1.5 degrees Celsius.

However, while every country agreed to this goal in the Paris Agreement, their actual plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions have fallen dramatically short of what we need to stop global warming. Every year since then, organizations, countries, and individuals who care about climate change have advocated for the U.S. and all countries in the world to do more to limit greenhouse gas emissions that causes climate change.

Long story short, the negotiations at COP are vital for the survival of humanity and our natural world, becuase this is the platform where every country in the world can agree to limit climate change. Other outcomes from past COPs have included new funding to help countries make the transitions they need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become more resilient to the climate crisis.

What did Hispanic Access do at COP27?

COP is a highly concentrated media and event opportunity–like a year’s worth of media coverage and speaking engagements all in one! I was there for one week (it runs for 2 weeks), and had on average one media interview and one speaking engagement every day. When I wasn’t organizing events or talking to the media, I networked with amazing new partners and did my best to live-tweet COP27 happenings and the events I joined.

These were our goals in joining:

  • To put pressure on the U.S. to drastically reduce our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and enact a just transition to a regenerative economy.
  • To remind world leaders that disinvested communities are those who suffer the most from climate change, and we must receive special consideration in terms of policies and funding for mitigation and resilience.
  • To ensure that nature access is a key component of climate negotiations and climate policy.
  • To uplift climate justice and equity as a key component of climate action.
  • To give our Latino leaders and communities a voice in this important process for addressing climate change.

The big news for us at COP27 was the release of our new report on how nature access and Indigenous stewardship are essential for environmental justice: You can check out our NowThis! Interview on the release on Twitter and Instagram, and read my tweet thread summary of the report here.

I met incredible young climate advocates like Raysa França with Youth for Nature, Sofia Luna with Latinas for Climate, ocean scientist Josheena Naggea (check out our Instagram chat), and the wonderful U.S. and international Nature4Climate teams who helped bring us to COP27. I spent time with impressive leaders like Queen Quet of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, Rep. Sheila Babauta from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, David Hernández Palmar with If Not Us Then Who, founder of the field of environmental justice Dr. Robert Bullard, Frances Colon at the Center for American Progress, and so many more Indigenous and minoritized leaders making waves in a space that remains white- and male-dominated.

What was it like to be at COP27?

COP27 was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It was an energizing, fascinating, joyful, maddening, and a wildly chaotic week. The energy was dazzling: 30,000 people all together in one place with a singular goal. You’ll unknowingly stroll by heads of state, famous activists, and even celebrities. Many wear their national dress to events, so the people watching was top-notch. There are a million events to join and people to meet. I must have walked around with heart eyes the whole time!

That said, it was also frustrating: the infrastructure was a mess, there was no food, water, internet, reliable transportation, nearby bathrooms, or adequate maps, so everyone kept getting lost and going hungry (see There was so much going on, it could be overwhelming trying to direct your focus.

But on the whole, it was so, so fulfilling to be a part of.

What did Hispanic Access learn at COP27?

We learned that there is so much more that needs to be done. While all 30,000 COP27 attendees may agree that we need to limit climate change, the world has yet to come to an agreement that we must phase out the use of coal, oil and methane gas and protect and restore as much nature as possible in order to do that. In addition, even the advocacy space at COP27 was largely dominated by the “big greens”– the biggest international NGOs with deep pockets and resources to spend on their presence at COP27, and there was a large presence from oil and gas companies as well.

I came away from COP27 feeling all the more that Hispanic Access is needed at COP, to provide the voice for our communities that don’t have the same access to resources and aren’t able to be present physically. Next year, if we are able, I’d love to provide that access to our leadership networks, and bring the amazing leaders we work with in our Latino Climate Council, Ocean Advisory Council, and Por La Creacion Faith-Based Alliance to lend their voices to the next round of climate negotiations. Our communities and our biosphere are depending on us.

About Us

Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

Phone: (202) 640-4342

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

EEO Policy


At a young age, Yara Marin and some of her family members were diagnosed with asthma due to Phoenix, Arizona’s air…

RT @Chavez_Fndn: Join us as we celebrate Cesar Chavez Day all month long! Download our new coloring page at & ent…

RT @ecomadres_: As part of @HispanicAccess’ #LatinoAdvocacyWeek2023, @EcoMadres will host a webinar on climate change and mental health imp…
Follow Hispanic Access Foundation on Twitter