Nearly 100 heads of state and government are meeting for two days in Sharm el-Sheikh, facing calls to deepen emissions cuts and financially back developing countries already devastated by the effects of rising temperatures.
A multitude of other crises, from Russia's war in Ukraine to soaring inflation and the lingering effects of the Covid pandemic, has raised concerns that climate change will drop on the priority list of governments.
"Time is running out and the end of the decisive decade is a few years away, and we must make use of it to resolve this battle in the way we want. It is time for action and implementation. There is no way to retreat or place for excuses, as missing the opportunity will waste the legacy for future generations of our children and grandchildren,” stated Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egyptian President
Nations worldwide are coping with increasingly intense natural disasters that have taken thousands of lives this year alone and cost billions of dollars -- from devastating floods in Nigeria and Pakistan to droughts in the United States and Africa and unprecedented heatwaves across three continents.
"I don’t believe it is justice to the young generation when our rivers and lakes are polluted. I do not see justice when big politicians are untouchable. Is it justice for the world leaders to choose profits over lives?" prompted Leah Namugerwa, Ugandan youth climate activist.
"Let the African Cop be a different cop. Let the African Cop listen to the biggest stakeholders. Let the African Cop be an action cop."
On Sunday, the heads of developing nations won a small victory when delegates agreed to put the controversial issue of compensation for "loss and damage" on the summit agenda.
Pakistan, which chairs the powerful G77+China negotiating bloc of more than 130 developing nations, has made the issue a priority.
The United States and the European Union have dragged their feet for years on the proposal, fearing it would create an open-ended reparations framework.
Guterres said COP27 must agree on a "clear, time-bound roadmap" for loss and damage that delivers "effective institutional arrangements for financing".
"Getting concrete results on loss and damage is a litmus test of the commitment of governments to the success of COP27," express UN Secretary, Antonio Guterres.
Rich nations will also be expected to set a timetable for the delivery of $100 billion per year to help developing countries green their economies and build resilience against future climate change.
The promise is already two years past due and remains $17 billion short, according to the OECD.
COP27 is scheduled to continue until November 18 with ministerial joining the fray during Week Two.
Security is tight at the meeting, with Human Rights Watch saying authorities have arrested dozens of people and restricted the right to demonstrate in the days leading up to COP27.
The COP27 is scheduled to continue until November 18.