COP27: Folkecenter was there (virtually)

By Daniele Pagani

Over the past years, Folkecenter has been a fixed presence at the international Climate conferences (COP), organized by the UN; our representatives have joined these events since COP15, which took place in Copenhagen in 2009.

You probably have already heard about COP from the news and you for sure know that the ultimate goal of these conferences is to reach an agreement which will mitigate climate change; this agreement is not an easy one, because all (or most) countries in the world need to be part of it, but at the same time different interests and needs are present. Just to give an example, you cannot “just install more wind and solar” if that it is done in a way that forces the local indigenous communities to leave the land they grew on. Issues like these, or why should poor countries pay for the damages of the rich ones are an everyday topic on the tables of the negotiators…which is why, the process is very slow.

However, there are not only politicians and official country representatives in COP, despite them being the ones mentioned in the media: a large number of experts, NGO representatives and academics are also attending these conferences and their role is far from being secondary. Their knowledge on the topics can often help to solve some of the major problems we are facing, or better, they could, if more policy makers would attend their side events.

COP27 took place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, between the 6th and the 18th of November. According to the UN, over 35,000 people participated
Folkecenter’s shared booth at COP27. In the background, the video promoting our activities is playing. The video can be found here

Despite having a limited impact, these players still participate to COP because it is their chance to get in contact with high-level people, who could really contribute in boosting their ideas and studies. The chance is small, but it is the best option these organizations have to reach out people who, otherwise, would be very difficult to get in contact with.

Folkecenter is among these NGOs and in the last years we have tried to reach out as many contacts as possible, so that we could spread our latest educational opportunities.

We strongly believe in the power of education as a mean to tackle some of the world’s largest problems, which is why our focus, also this year, was on that topic.

Like last year, we decided to participate in virtual form. That, besides saving some emissions connected with the travel, allowed us also to donate our passes to some partners from Egypt, who otherwise would have not had the chance to attend COP.

Despite not being physically present, technology gave us the possibility to join remotely and, with the help of our partners, we managed to both have an exhibit and to participate in an official side event.

The exhibit was done in collaboration with the Center for Management and Strategic Studies, from Brazil, who was physically in Egypt and who helped us having our promotional video on the screen of the booth.

The side event, titled “Mobilising youth & transforming communities – embedding the SDGs in formal & informal education” was carried out in collaboration with three other organizations: the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN – a long term partner of Folkecenter), Gaia Education and the Global Youth Development Institute (GYD).

Gaia Education was the first to present and they explained their approach towards education and how to involve universities in creating a pan-African program, which goal is to educate future generation and to form climate ambassadors. GEN took than the word, by presenting their work about youth exchange among different communities and their project about greening schools in African countries.

This last topic linked very well with Folkecenter’s presentation, which started with the Light over Africa project and continued with the More Light! and Sun Generator projects and, in particular, their huge potential when designed with the train-the-trainer format in mind. Last but not least, we concluded with our Trainee program, which connected well with GYD, the last organization, who talked about youth mobilization and engagement.

The side event accounted for 10 speakers from all over the world, six of which were women.

Like in many other side events of this COP edition, the size of the audience was a bit below the expectations. Luckily, the event was recorded and we can see that views on the video are climbing. We hope that the message will reach the widest possible audience in the coming months. If you also want to see the video, you can access it here:

There were almost 800 official side events in this COP in which very relevant information were provided. Even if we have been there in presence, there would have not been the chance to attend all of them. However, given that they are all available on the UN’s official Youtube page  ( we will try to go through a selection of them and try to come with a summary of it in the coming months. We hope, in this way, to contribute to the spreading of the main outcomes of this COP edition, those outcomes which are often forgotten by the main media.

The panelists of our official side event. In the same event we manage to include good gender and geographical distribution, as well as a blend between in-presence and virtual participation. Folkecenter was represented by Daniele Pagani, who joined virtually. The event can be viewed here.