The United Nations’ Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP 27) that Egypt will host from 7 to 18 November 2022 in Sharm El-Sheik represents an opportunity for African countries to deliver their main message, which is that poorer countries bear the consequences of climate change despite their limited contribution to global emissions.
Moreover, they need more serious assistance to mitigate risks and damages and to achieve zero emissions targets that are “ambitious.”
In the past, Egypt’s goals in hosting such a world event were limited to just presenting its image and status to the world. Now, Egyptian thinking is propelled by national and global goals as much as the ambition of a greater Egypt.
Hamdi Sanad Loza, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for African Affairs, said in a statement to Daily News Egypt that Egypt attaches importance to the great international responsibility placed on it to lead the negotiations on the climate issue. He stressed Egypt’s keenness that the upcoming climate summit reflects the positions of African and developing countries, and turns promises and commitments into actions.
He added that the Egyptian ministries and authorities responsible for organising the conference are working as an integrated working group to come up with a distinguished Egyptian version of the COP that advances the Egyptian vision in leading global climate action and takes into account the interests of all countries and parties.
He noted that the ministry has held a series of consultations with a group of different countries and parties to hear their views on various issues related to climate change.
Loza explained that meetings were held by representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment with the United States, Russia, Japan, Zambia, and other like-minded countries.
He said that an evaluation was made of the results of the last session of the conference, which was held in Glasgow last November, and the ongoing preparations for holding the next session in Egypt.
During the consultations, the Egyptian side stressed the need to move towards implementing the various commitments made in the framework of the negotiations, while other countries, for their part, affirmed their full support for the Egyptian presidency to ensure the success of the COP 27.
Loza noted that developed countries, such as the US, have concerns that China and India will not commit themselves to cutting emissions and continuing to use coal.
He also pointed to the failure of developed countries to fulfil previous pledges to provide $100bn of annual assistance to developing countries to support their green transition.
A high committee was formed under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and comprised ministers and relevant government agencies to formulate specialised action plans to prepare for the summit in all aspects, with periodic follow-up reports in this regard.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is following all the arrangements related to this huge international event and has expressed his keenness in presenting to the world the great progress that Egypt is witnessing in the field of the environment and transitioning to clean energy.
This comes within the framework of the state’s persistent efforts to fulfil its humanitarian obligations to protect the environment as well as presenting the image of the modern state in Egypt and its efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Strategy of Egypt’s 2030 Vision.
Al-Sisi also stressed the need to invest in the conference in order to achieve the greatest possible economic return by promoting tourism in Egypt and establishing specialised exhibitions on the side-lines of the conference.
Furthermore, he called for addressing national and African concerns on climate change issues and providing an opportunity to conclude partnerships with various international institutions to finance projects related to addressing climate change in Egypt.
In this context, the Ministry of Planning — in cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment — launched the Environmental Sustainability Criteria Manual for the first time.
The proportion of green projects in the current year’s plan is about 30%, and it is targeted to reach 50% by FY2024/25. This is in addition to the efforts of the planning ministry in terms of evaluating the economic impact of various projects on the climate and innovative financing of green projects.
On the diplomatic front, Egypt has intensified its contacts with various parties concerned with the climate issue, as it has received over the past few days Alok Sharma — the President of the COP 26 that was held in the city of Glasgow in the United Kingdom.
Sharma affirmed his country’s readiness to support the Egyptian presidency of the COP 27 and to share the great experience gained by the UK while organising this important event to ensure its success.
For his part, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said that Egypt intends to build on what was achieved during the last session of the conference in Glasgow and to work to exploit the growing international momentum in directing global efforts to confront climate change.
He stressed the need to move from pledges to actual implementation on the ground, whether in terms of reducing emissions or adapting to the negative effects of climate change or climate financing for developing countries, especially African countries, as they are most affected by the consequences of climate change.
On his part, Governor of South Sinai Khaled Fouda announced that Sharm El-Sheik will become the first green tourist city in Africa and the Middle East in 2022. He noted that projects are being implemented in the city that are environmentally friendly and pave the way for a complete transition to being environmentally sustainable.
Additionally, the Permanent Mission of Egypt to the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa organised on Sunday a discussion session at the headquarters of the AU in preparation for the launch of a series of other events that it intends to organise in the coming months.
The first session focused on raising the profile of the Egyptian presidency of the conference, and was attended by numerous officials from Africa and around the globe
In the session, Mohammed Gad — Egypt’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and its Delegate to the AU — highlighted the importance that the African continent attaches to the issues of climate change.
He stressed the urgent need to understand the special circumstances of the countries of the continent and their efforts to achieve sustainable development, as well as the need to translate the pledges to support efforts to adapt to the consequences of climate change and provide climate finance to the countries of the continent.