We’ve just landed at the Cairo International Airport and are currently waiting to board our next flight to Sharm El Sheikh. Despite the lengthy journey, I’m filled with excitement and am looking through the events schedule to plan for the next week. After coming back from a semester abroad in Paris, France, I really wanted more exposure to climate negotiations at the international level. The advertisement for this class hit my inbox at just the right time. I applied to Duke’s UNFCCC Practicum and was thrilled when I was accepted. We haven’t even arrived at COP27 yet and this class has been one of the most unique experiences that I’ve had during my four years at Duke. The class discussions and guest speakers have provided me with a real appreciation and understanding of the negotiations that I’m looking forward to applying to the COP in Sharm El Sheikh.

One of the most memorable experiences so far has been working with the World Resource Institute (WRI) and their Allied for Climate Transformation by 2025 consortium (ACT2025) to prioritize the voices and goals of climate-vulnerable populations. I had the opportunity to work with Preety Bhandari, the Senior Advisor of WRI’s Global Climate Program and Finance Center, and Nate Warszawski, a research associate for the International Climate Action program. I have been really fortunate to receive as much support and guidance as I have from Nate and Preety. I met with them at least once a week for last the six weeks during which they supplemented what I knew about ACT2025, answered any questions I had as to how course material applied to prior negotiations, and advised me on how to make the most of my time at COP27. Both Preety and Nate were incredibly giving with their time and I feel lucky to have so much candid advice from them. Their support will allow me to take full advantage of my time at COP27 and I’m looking forward to meeting them in person this week!

In advance of my final meeting with Preety and Nate before COP27, I completed the project that I was working on for them. My area of interest for COP27 has been analyzing the progress in Loss and Damage negotiations and the potential creation of a finance facility. So I assisted with ACT2025’s preparation for COP27 by analyzing country reports on Loss and Damage. I examined ten of the twenty-one Party UNFCCC submissions from the first round of submissions on the global stocktake to identify commonalities and differences between the various “developing” and “developed” country submissions. This research gave me insight into Party positions ahead of COP27 in addition to preparing me for our mock class negotiation on Loss and Damage. It’s been interesting following the negotiations thus far and comparing what I’ve read to my research. With funding for Loss and Damage on the COP27 agenda, this next week could provide an opportunity for progress in creating a finance facility for climate-vulnerable populations. I’m eager to learn what will happen and will be following closely.