The world can no longer discuss “trade-offs” between addressing food, energy, finance, and climate crises, as getting back on track requires these issues to be tackled together, says Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt.
His remarks came during his participation via video conference in a session entitled “Humanitarian Impacts of the Climate Crisis, Escalating Risks, Challenges, and Actions”, within the meetings of UN ECOSOC held in New York.
Mohieldin emphasized that the climate change impacts aren’t less harmful than the impacts of COVID-19 and the War in Ukraine on food, energy and finance, explaining that 70% of the world’s population depends for its food on crops whose quantities and quality are jeopardized by climate change and rising carbon emissions.
He also underscored that 107 developing countries, home to 1.7 billion people, are severely exposed to at least one of the three global transmission channels of the crisis which are food, energy, and finance, adding that balance sheets set by the governments of these countries are shouldering the bulk of loss and damage of climate-related disasters, and the costs of adapting to more intense floods and droughts.
Mohieldin stressed that unless urgent action is taken, this will further worsen both the impacts of future crises, and these countries’ ability to cope, creating new vicious cycles.
The climate champion said that international community should mitigate the impacts of the crisis by providing immediate debt relief and fiscal support to countries in need, to ensure that they can survive and that climate goals are not sacrificed to achieve more immediate needs.
He referred also to the importance of increasing countries’ ability to cope with crises, including by reforming the international financial architecture to ensure it prioritizes resilience and investments in a holistic understanding of sustainability.
In this context, Mohieldin underlined the priorities of the Egyptian presidency of COP27, which include adopting a holistic approach to sustainability, which aims to ensure a balance between mitigation, adaptation, implementation, and facilitating an effective just and equitable transition.
He added that Sharm El Sheikh conference prioritizes also promoting a stronger focus on implementation by translating pledges of summits into applicable solutions, mobilizing finance at scale and ensuring the quality of capital, identifying the principles and priorities of post-2025 finance so as to explore practical options for innovative finance, including debt reduction measures.
He highlighted the COP27 focus on regionalization, in which the Egyptian presidency of the conference, UN regional committees and HLCs will set up five regional roundtables in the coming couple of months that aim to adopt more holistic approach at the regional level that facilitates the matchmaking of potential projects with the available financing and investment opportunities, beside localization, which takes the outcomes of the climate action to people in each village, city, and region in the world.
Mohieldin concluded that supporting a just economic and environmental transition for all countries equitably is a must, saying that the world needs to start climate action on the ground now, not tomorrow.