Global Climate Legal Defense Network

CliDef at COP27

COP 27 in Sharm el-Sheikh presents an important opportunity for climate activists to engage, but it also may create legal risks. Recognizing this, CliDef has launched an urgent legal defense initiative, including a Legal Protection Hotline to support climate activists who encounter legal problems at and around the conference.

CliDef is coordinating a Legal Protection Hotline where activists in Egypt for COP can get free legal advice and help. The Hotline will be operating from November 2 through November 20. If an activist finds themselves in legal trouble, they can call or text the Hotline via Signal and a lawyer will be available to help.

If you need emergency legal help, to reach the Hotline, call or text via Signal any of the following numbers:
If you have a legal question or need legal help that is not an emergency, please email us at

Read the Know Your Rights Guide
Download the Bustcard

The COP 27 Context

In July 2013, the Egyptian army, led by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, deposed then-President Mohamed Morsi and suspended the constitution. Sisi assumed the presidency in June 2014 and was re-elected in 2018 after effectively eliminating political opposition. Since that time, Egypt’s government has consistently cracked down on perceived and actual opposition movements and individuals, including through the use of digital surveillance and censorship.

It is in this context that COP 27 will occur in Sharm El-Sheikh from November 8-20, 2022. In anticipation of the potential need for legal support, CliDef, in close collaboration with Egyptian partners, has developed an urgent legal defense initiative to prepare activists to participate in COP 27 as safely as possible.

CliDef’s COP 27 urgent legal defense initiative has a special focus on youth activists, who form the backbone of the climate movement, but are too often overlooked, underestimated, and under resourced. The urgent legal defense initiative also expects that civil society actors from other traditionally marginalized groups, including indigenous persons, women, and members of the LGBTQI+ community, also may require legal support because they are often subjected to greater legal peril without corresponding access to legal help.

CliDef's COP 27 Activities

After consultations with a host oforganizations and movements, CliDef is undertaking the following:

A Know Your Rights Guide for activists on Egyptian legal issues. CliDef has developed a guide explaining the Egyptian legal framework as it relates to civil society activism and mobilization around COP, including actions to take should climate defenders be subject to police or security force intervention or detention. The guide contains a summary of key Egyptian laws, DO’s and DON’Ts while at COP 27, and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Webinars on legal preparedness and legal defense. CliDef is hosting webinars with partners whose members plan to attend COP 27. The webinars present legal information and tactics specific to Egypt — including local practices, which may not be reflected in written law—and provide space for participants to ask questions and understand the potential consequences of particular actions.

The Legal Protection Hotline. Legal advice and assistance for participants in Egypt for COP 27. CliDef’s Legal Protection Hotline enables where COP 27 participants to receive legal advice or legal assistance. A group of lawyers will be available during COP 27 to advise and assist for free in Egypt when COP 27 participants find themselves in legal trouble.  CliDef will circulate phone numbers and an email address immediately before COP 27 commences to enable participants to access the Legal Protection Hotline via the Signal app or email.

Assistance to activists returning to “hotspots” after COP 27. Many activists may not be able to travel to attend COP 27, or if they do travel to Egypt, may face reprisals upon their return home. CliDef will be available to provide legal advice, and whenever possible, legal support to those climate activists who encounter legal problems outside of Egypt around COP 27. Drawing on its nascent network of lawyers and legal organizations around the globe, CliDef will make every effort to match legal needs with the appropriate legal expertise.