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TUMCS student participated in the COP27 conference

TUMCS | Interview | 21.11.2022

Charles Cozette is studying for a Master’s degree in Bioeconomy at the TUM Straubing Campus. He recently participated in the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference (COP27) with the Brazzaville Foundation. In the interview, he talks about his impressions and experiences at COP27. And he talks about a meeting with the Princess of Morocco.

Two men sitting at an information booth on a conference.

TUMCS student Charles Cozette (right) at the Brazzaville Foundation booth on COP27.

How did it happen that you are participating in COP27?

Charles Cozette: In June 2021, the month of my Bachelor’s graduation, I started a consulting internship in public affairs. A year and a half later, my two-month internship got extended, and I took part in COP26 in Glasgow and worked on several other projects. In early September 2022, the Foundation’s CEO invited me to COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh to accompany him. Unlike last year, when we supported an African climate commission, the Congo Basin Climate Commission, we have this year a pavilion in the Green Zone, where we’re carrying out a consultation to understand the perception delegates have of the African countries’ capacity to deploy solutions to address the climate crisis.

Africa is disproportionally affected by the effects of climate change.

Even if it has been contributing to approximately 4% of the overall greenhouse gas emissions. These effects exacerbate existing vulnerability regarding good governance, security and rising inequalities. To enhance African countries’ ability to develop endogenous solutions for sustainable development, we intend to design several projects using the consultation’s results. For example, we envisage creating capacity-building programs for students and experts working on climate change, incubators for African solutions and strengthening the African agenda on multilateral negotiations.

What made you decide to travel to Egypt and how long did you stay?

Even if I was going to miss a couple of weeks of classes, I immediately accepted the offer, remembering the exciting time I had at COP26 and visualising our agenda for this edition. In addition, this is such an inspiring environment because diverse and talented people gather to negotiate and brainstorm about the transformative changes needed to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. It is a no-brainer for someone committed to dedicating his time to curb climate change at the policy and private sector levels. As for my stay, I arrived on November 3rd in Cairo, moved to Sharm el-Sheikh on the 5th and left Egypt on November 20th.

How can you imagine the daily routine on-site, also in terms of exchange and discussions?

The daily on-site routine is fascinating because we meet people with great backgrounds and terrific ideas, acting from all over the world. From morning to night, we engage in discussions to exchange experiences with other delegates. There are ten of thousands of participants distributed between three main areas. The Blue Zone is made for official delegations, where most negotiations are done between the 198 member parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). There are also academic institutions and other stakeholders. The Green Zone is for civil society organisations like our Foundation and the private sector. It is usually open to the public but is slightly different this year. Finally, the Innovation Zone was launched last year to promote transformative innovations for a low-emission and climate-resilient future. Exchanges and discussions are vibrant, as you can reach out quickly to corporate executives, government officials and high-profile individuals. Also, it gives me ideas on how to leverage the skills taught in my MSc in Bioeconomy at the TUM Campus Straubing.

What would you like to do with your presence at COP27?

At COP27, on a professional level, I want to contribute to running a successful consultation that will deliver concrete benefits to the young African generations and change the discourse on Africa’s ability to create innovative solutions to limit the severe effects of climate change. On a more personal level, I want to meet more inspiring individuals who are putting their skills to work. These interactions feed my thought process to create a startup and build a strong network of like-minded persons.

What valuable experience have you already had at COP27?

So far, I’ve had several valuable experiences, including a high-level side event with African environment ministers, the Princess Lalla Hasna of Morocco and representatives of intergovernmental organisations such as the World Bank. Another one is the continuous surprise of meeting relatives and connections. But the most enriching of them was a discussion with French diplomats who explained the nature of the negotiations behind closed doors and how milestones texts such as the Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Climate Pact are negotiated.