Representatives of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States have visited Egypt this week to discuss climate action, social protection reforms, and empowering women, and youth.
Led by UNDP’s Assistant Administrator and RBAS Director Khalida Bouzar, the five-day visit to Cairo involved a series of meetings with UNDP’s key government counterparts and development partners. Bouzar discussed ongoing cooperation between UNDP and Egypt, including opportunities for future collaboration on key issues like climate action and supporting Egypt’s most vulnerable communities, as well as preparations for COP27 which will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh this year.
In discussion with the Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Bouzar reiterated UNDP support to COP27 and noted that from its recent successful experience Egypt can lead the way in promoting access to efficient reliable energy in Africa.
At her meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, Bouzar reaffirmed UNDP’s ongoing commitment to supporting Egypt in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals as well as providing full technical support to the Government while hosting COP27 this November – a milestone for the region as it progresses towards urgent climate action.
Bouzar‘s discussions with Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said covered youth engagement, UNDP’s policy support as well as the global COP27 Presidency’s initiatives led by the ministry and UNDP particularly the Decent Life initiative for a Climate Resilient Africa.
In her meeting with Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait, Bouzar focused on preparations for COP27 as well as ways to scale up private sector investments for climate action and innovative finance for the SDGs.
Ongoing collaboration on COP27 was also discussed with the Minister of Environment, Yasmine Fouad. Bouzar further discussed joint efforts by the Ministry and UNDP to support energy transition in Sharm El Sheikh, and the conservation of the country’s biodiversity and protected areas. She also congratulated the Government of Egypt on issuing its National Climate Change Strategy 2050.
“With COP27 being hosted in Egypt this year – and COP28 in the UAE in 2023 – we are presented with a unique opportunity to shine a spotlight on the dire consequences that climate change is having on the Arab States region, while highlighting the need for countries around the world to work together to take urgent climate action. I congratulate Egypt for its enthusiasm and commitment to hosting COP27, and I look forward to continuing working together on a successful event,” says Bouzar.
With Egypt’s Minister of Social Solidarity Nivine El-Kabbag, Bouzar discussed how UNDP’s support facilitates the implementation of social protection in Egypt, including the cash transfer programmes ‘Takaful and Karama’, which aim to support 5.2 million of the most vulnerable households.
Bouzar also met Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashaat. They reviewed the joint efforts to promote finance and innovations for climate action and to advance South-South Cooperation.
Bouzar participated in two key events at the Egypt International Cooperation Forum where she spoke about the nexus of Water, Food & Energy (NWFE) being central to sustainable development and requires urgent attention worldwide, given the rising demand for natural resources.
At the high-level panel discussion ‘Innovative Climate Finance and Access’, Bouzar highlighted the importance of scaling up innovative climate finance to ensure that it benefits the most vulnerable and the planet at the same time.
Bouzar also held an important meeting with the President of the National Council for Women, Maya Morsy, where she discussed the findings of a recent joint study on violence against women with disabilities, the first study of its kind to be conducted in the Arab region; as well as the importance of focusing future efforts to combat the socio-economic marginalization of women in rural areas and to promote women green businesses.
During her meeting with Tarek Shash, the Deputy Executive Director of Egypt’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (MSMEDA), Bouzar highlighted the valuable partnership between UNDP and the Agency, which is at the forefront of reforming Egypt’s large SMEs sector, praising the success of this collaboration in providing timely support for SMEs to cope with the impacts of COVID-19 and looking forward to embedding strategic innovation at MSMEDA.