UMN Observer Delegation Interest Form for COP27, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt Nov 6-18, 2022
Photo of COP27 Welcome Committee in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

This form is for any University of Minnesota (any campus or unit) faculty, staff or graduate students to apply to be part of the UMN observer delegation to the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate ChangeSharm El Sheikh, Egypt will host COP27 from Nov 6 - 18, with details about the program, travel and other logistics available on the Egyptian host committee website

Application Deadline- SEPT 20, 2022 MIDNIGHT (Deadline extended from Sept 15)

The UMN internal deadline for COP27 will be Sept 15 (an extension is possible). The official UNFCCC deadline for final confirmation of all delegates to COP27 is Nov 3, 2022. All observers in the UMN delegation must provide needed information well before that date.


The University of Minnesota (UMN), through the Institute on the Environment (IonE), holds official "observer" status with the UNFCCC, which holds COP27, also known as the "international climate talks." Through this form and a selection process organized by IonE, the UMN offers an opportunity for 14 faculty, staff or graduate students to be observers at COP27. A diverse UMN delegation drawn from across campuses, colleges and disciplines is sought. Faculty, researchers, post-docs, graduate and professional students, full or part-time status, are all welcome to apply. Preference goes to those with research interests or projects that directly relate to climate change policy or to the broader context, history and meaning of the UNFCCC and COP27 events and objectives. There is a priority for Africans and members of the African diaspora, as described below.

COP27 "The Africa COP"

Many are calling COP27 the "Africa COP," for: 1) the location in Egypt, 2) the attention focused on whether climate finance promises of the developed world to the developing world, including many African nations, will become commitments, and 3) the possibility that more Africans will be able to attend as parties (representing countries), observers, media or members of civil society.

Observers at past COPs have been overwhelmingly citizens of developed countries. In a Background Note entitled Process to strengthen the observer engagement in the UNFCCC, UNFCCC staff indicate that "Despite the efforts of developed country NGOs to nominate developing country participants, the statistics show that the proportion worsens when we look at the breakdowns by nationality." At COP26, last year, 73% of the observers attending were from developed countries (per graph, page 8 of the referenced report). UN data indicates that 30% of the world's population is from developed countries.

The reasons why Africa and climate need to be an urgent global priority are abundant, as climate drives fire, drought, food insecurity, migration and more in many countries. In terms of climate negotiations, Africa's situation is explained well by Harsen Nyambe, director of sustainable environment at the African Union Commission, saying "How much funding Africa gets is the biggest factor for how prepared it will be for a hotter future." He goes on to say, "We recall the $100 billion that was promised has never been fulfilled and current assessments show that even that amount is not enough.” The $100 billion is a reference to the 2009, Copenhagen COP climate finance pledge. These quotes and the context are drawn from a Time Aug 2, 2022 article: African Countries Push For Rich Nations to Help Continent's Climate Transition Ahead of COP27.

Given the disparate attendance statistics and climate impacts noted above, UMN will prioritize the attendance of Africans and members of the African diaspora.

UMN's Observer Delegation to Sharm El Sheikh for COP27 - 14 People Total

UMN is an official "research and independent non-governmental organization" (RINGO, a constituency formally recognized by the UNFCCC, and thus may send observers to COP27. Like most RINGO organizations, UMN splits its observer delegation into attendees during Week One (Nov 6 -13) and Week Two (Nov 14 - 18). This system allows more people to attend. Past UMN delegations have been 8-12, or 4-6 people per week. This year, the UMN COP27 delegation will be 14 people, or 7 in week 1 and 7 in week 2

Covid-19 & Travel Requirements

Be aware of a possibility of Covid-19 spread or other disruptions affecting COP27. COP meetings in the past have drawn well over 20,000 people together. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.

UMN COP27 Travelers Must Register in the UMN "International Travel Registry"

UMN requires advance registration of all international travel for all faculty, staff and students. If you do not register, your COP27 badge may be withdrawn.

Expected Travel Costs

There is no travel subsidy available for COP27 for faculty or staff. Each observer will be responsible for their own expenses. There is no registration fee, beyond your travel expenses. IonE is investigating booking a block of hotel rooms as well as making a group flight (for weeks one and two) to Sharm El Sheikh, as travel in Egypt will be new for many of the UMN group and flights are complex. A three star hotel double is $150-$200 a night with breakfast, and higher for a single room. You should plan that flights and hotel in Sharm El Sheikh will be be in the range of $2,500 to $3,000 or more for a week. Information about COP27, the conference center, hotels and travel is on the Egyptian host committee website

Funding for Graduate Students

This year, graduate students can apply for up to $1,500 per student in scholarship funding, which is available through IonE to cover flights and lodging related to COP27. Students should expect to either pay or fundraise at least $1,000 to cover their own travel costs. Note that COP27 has no registration costs. Past student attendees sought travel funds from their departments, student organizations and fundraising. If you are selected to attend COP27, you will be asked brief follow-up questions regarding your financial need and other information. 

Institute on the Environment (IonE) Staff Support at COP27

An IonE staff/ Graduate Research Assistant team of Beth Mercer-Taylor, Joe Warren and Nfamara Dampha will be in touch with delegation members about travel logistics and costs, and will also be sharing tips and tricks for preparing for and navigating the COP27 experience, choosing events, networking and more. 

Notes on UMN Observer Delegation Size
In 2021 and in 2019, the UMN got 6 observer spots for COP25 in Madrid, Spain and for COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland (this is per week, so 12 total) in Madrid. In 2018, UMN got 5 spots for COP24 in Katowice, Poland. UMN got 4 spots for COP23 in Bonn and 5 for spots for COP22 in Morocco and COP21 in Paris. Delegations are split into groups for weeks one and two. In some years, including 2021, additional spots for UMN delegation members become available when other university partners "donated" their observer spots.

Consider Attending PreCOP and COP Related Meetings 

For those attending COP meetings as well as those not able to attend COP meetings, it is worth considering attending various scientific and ministerial meetings such as the PreCop27, this year in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in early October, or the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), held at the UNFCCC offices in Bonn, Germany in the summer prior to the fall COP session. Most often, no one from UMN makes plans to participate in these meetings, so it is generally easier to get an observer pass to attend such meetings than to attend the COP itself.

News on COP27

The International Institute for Sustainable Development is an excellent site for up to date coverage and topical updates on COP27 and themes such as adaptation, energy, oceans, forestry and much more. Subscribe to the "Earth Negotiations Bulletin."  

Follow the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for updates on the processes and decisions leading up to COP27, as well as full texts of conventions and decisions at past COP meetings, such as the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

The IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report offers the global scientific consensus on climate change science. 
Email *
COP27 Application for UMN Staff, Faculty or Graduate Students
Please fill in all required information so that your application can be considered.
First and last name *
Are you staff, faculty, postdoc or a graduate student? *
Your University of Minnesota position *
For example, Teaching Specialist, Associate Professor or PhD Student
Your University of Minnesota campus, college and departmental affiliation. 
For example, Twin Cities, College of Liberal Arts, History
Which week of COP27 do you want to attend? *
What are your preferences about travel with a group?  *
What are your main goals for attending COP27? In a few sentences, describe what aspects of your research, teaching or engagement motivate you to attend a COP session. How does your work connect with climate change policy, or to the broader context, history and meaning of the the UNFCCC and COP27 events? Note that the UMN selection committee may ask you for more details, depending on the UMN interest level in COP27.
If you are African or a member of the African diaspora (African American, for example), would you like to be prioritized to attend COP27? Just answer yes, or if you wish, add your thoughts or comments.
Questions, comments?
For Graduate or Professional Students Only
Based on your answer we will follow up with you. We cannot provide funding to staff or faculty.
If you are a UMN graduate or professional student, do you need funding for your flight and/or lodging at COP27 in order to afford this opportunity, and thus want to be considered for a scholarship through IonE?
A copy of your responses will be emailed to the address you provided.
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