Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt hosts the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) from 6-18 November 2022 under the auspices of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
As Egypt shifts into final gear for organising this significant global event, the COP27 presidency has focussed on highlighting the local and regional significance of climate change issues to the peoples of the MENA.
Egypt in particular is a major agricultural hub and environmental player at the scale of North Africa, the wider African continent, and the nearby countries of the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula, with 36% of the value of its agricultural exports going to other Arab nations. In addition, regional players that are witnessing massive booms in humane standards of life and economic development, such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia, are set to face some of the biggest challenges brought upon by climate change – water scarcity and the strain of desalination on the immediate ecosystems surrounding desalination plants chief among them. It is therefore that COP27 provides the perfect global platform for the deliberation upon, and proposal for solution to, the pressing climate concerns – from rising sea levels and declining biodiversity to desertification – facing the world in general, and the MENA in particular.
It is to the efforts addressing issues such as agriculture, water, and more, at the conference that Singapore joins with its first Singapore Pavilion at COP27. Centred around the Singapore Green Plan 2030, the pavilion is fundamentally based on the principles of commitment, originality, and partnership. While a small nation, Singapore has displayed immense initiative, and technical and practical progress in adhering to its own net-zero ambitions and environmental goals, creating many lessons and success stories to be shared with Egypt, the wider region surrounding the hosts of the conference, and the world as a whole – while looking forward to further collaboration and international action.
Different thematic days have been planned throughout the duration of COP27, focussing on finance, food, and biodiversity, among other topics. This is to give each set of issues its rightful time under the spotlight and ensure sufficient awareness is raised, and appropriate time is spent tackling each day. The Singapore Pavilion will have its own thematic days that largely align with the ones planned for the conference as a whole.
As a participant in a global event, the Singapore Pavilion and its over 100 partners aim to highlight the various climate-related challenges, raise awareness, and present solutions and innovations that will contribute to meaningful action. Carrying on with the focus on the MENA region, the Pavilion will explore avenues of technological implementations or other forms of international cooperation to assist Egyptian and regional drives for combating climate change.
With massive Singaporean investment in climatetech and agritech, and extrapolating from the nation’s experiences that are bounded by its small size and geographical challenges, the Pavilion will use the COP27 platform to work with the nations of the MENA on enhancing the efficiency and efficacy of life-critical industries, while reducing the environmental impacts and carbon output of their related processes.
This comes at a time where Egypt faces prospect of food insecurity due to increasing population, already-accumulating effects of climate change, and geopolitical action. On the other hand, the UAE is fighting with water scarcity, lack of sufficient arable land, and extreme climate, while the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia prepares is reimagining its national direction and gearing up to build the infrastructure and cities of the future.
If the nations of the region – and the world – are to stay on the present course, people will face unprecedented, life-threatening developments that must be stayed away with action now rather than later. Thus, investment in technological advancement is paramount, and the platform COP27 provides for public-private partnerships and international, cross-industry learning is crucial.
At COP27, the Singapore Pavilion, in cooperation with its partners, will be present to showcase their innovations and expert insights on the issues surrounding climate change and the journey to a comprehensive view of sustainability. The Pavilion will host panel discussions, fireside chats, presentations, and will witness the signing of various MoUs, as a testament to Singapore’s commitment to putting the full weight of its efforts behind the worldwide efforts against climate change.