Members made an impact at this year’s climate summit, says Chris Seekings
IEMA certainly made its presence felt at this year’s COP27, with members and representatives taking part in a wide range of events and networking meetings over the two weeks in Sharm El Sheikh.
Deputy CEO Martin Baxter was flying the flag for IEMA during the first week when he spoke about the need for all jobs to become ‘greener’ at a number of Blue and Green zone events. “There’s an awful lot of fear and anxiety from people out there, and we need to demonstrate how, through the world of work, we can be part of a cleaner, greener future, and part of the solution to the challenges,” he said at an event streamed to hundreds of viewers from across the world.
He was later joined by professor Ali Hassan FIEMA and post-graduate student Rania Fawzan, both from Ain Shams University – a new IEMA corporate partner – for a separate event titled All jobs greener: Career pathways for those in education and in work.
“We were the first postgraduate institute in Egypt and the whole region with the particular interest in environment and sustainability,” said Hassan. “I’m focusing on the role of tertiary education and looking at how we can build ourselves and change ourselves so we can contribute to the transition to a sustainable society.”
Baxter highlighted the educational products that IEMA offers to people who are thinking of entering the environment and sustainability profession, as well as everyone already in the sector, from new graduates to established leaders.
IEMA digital journalist Tom Pashby was also in attendance during the first week of the summit, speaking with a wide range of IEMA members from various backgrounds. Laura Young, an IEMA member and PhD researcher in nature-based solutions from the University of Aberdeen and University of Dundee, summed up the mood when she told Pashby that she was feeling a mixture of optimism and apprehension. However, she added: “We need to be positive about this because I’m a true believer in more action comes from optimism than pessimism.”
“We need a pathway forward for all countries to have access to the investment required to decarbonise”
To mark Adaptation and Agriculture Day at COP27, IEMA also published new guidance on adaptation during the summit’s first week. It aims to provide a forward-looking approach to the key adaptation issues over the next two to three years in the UK and beyond.
“This guide gives IEMA members a comprehensive framework to develop and lead robust and comprehensive adaptation approaches, whatever their context, as practitioners or as leaders,” said IEMA CEO Sarah Mukherjee MBE at the launch of the guidance. “I look forward to seeing the more climate-resilient world that emerges because of what members achieve with it.”
Mukherjee also took part in a Blue Zone event highlighting the importance of green skills in delivering real change – a message that IEMA reiterated strongly throughout COP27.
As expected, the issue of loss and damage was front and centre during the summit, with Mukherjee stressing that we need a “pathway forward for all countries to have access to the investment that is required to decarbonise.”
Some will leave Egypt with feelings of regret; others will be more satisfied with the announcements made. Regardless, IEMA is well placed to support the delivery of the high-level measures agreed at the summit, and will once again be offering its knowledge and expertise at COP28 in the UAE next year.
Visit IEMA’s COP27 page for more: iema.net/cop