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Egypt’s COP27’s significance lies in its focus on implementation, adaptation: South Korea’s Environment Minister - Daily News Egypt

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Egypt’s COP27’s significance lies in its focus on implementation, adaptation: South Korea’s Environment Minister

Egypt is implementing various policies to build a circular economy through recycling


The first week of the UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP27) that is being held in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh till 18 November witnessed a lot of efforts to enhance cooperation internationally to mitigate and adapt to the repercussions of climate change, improve livelihoods, and promote the transition towards a green and sustainable transition. 

The conference witnessed broad international participation,hosting more than 60,000 people representing 197 countries and dozens of international and regional organisations participating in the annual climate change negotiations.

On this occasion, Daily News Egypt interviewed South Korea’s Minister of Environment Han, Wha-jin on the side-lines of her participation in the conference.

How is South Korea’s opinion regarding the COP27 being held in an African country? What are the expected outcomes of the COP27? And will it be different from the COP26?

Even though Africa accounts for less than 3% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, Africa is the continent most vulnerable to the impact of climate change, which manifests as frequent and intense droughts.

Egypt’s COP27 is significantfor emphasisingto the international communitythe need toimplement adaptive measures to counter climate change. 

At the COP26, the Glasgow Climate Pact was adopted, and the Paris Rulebook — the guidelines for delivering the Paris Agreement — was completed. The COP26 laid firm foundations for the implementation of climate action.

I expect that the COP27 will be the “COP of implementation,” which is the starting point for practical implementation, and the “COP of adaptation,” in which participants can discuss each country’s progress in adaptation to climate change.

I hope that the COP27 will suggest a blueprint to implement the 2030 nationally determined contributions (NDC) target and serve as an opportunity to address the issues of climate finance, technology, and capacity building for countries vulnerable to climate change, including Africa.

What are S. Korea’s priorities and agenda for the climate summit?

In terms of mitigation, I think each country’s progress towards the climate ambition agreed upon at the ‘Glasgow Climate Pact’ should be discussed at the COP27.

Each country, including South Korea, should share its efforts and detailed plans to reach the NDC target. By doing so, we can encourage the parties to accelerate their actions to reduce emissions.

South Korea has prepared for the implementation of the Paris Agreement by establishing the 2030 Roadmap to achieve the national greenhouse gas reduction target by sector and year. At the COP27, South Korea wishes to share its efforts in that regard.

As for adaptation, I expect that the parties would actively discuss issues such as the expansion of climate finance, capacity building, and technology transfer.

South Korea has been running an Adaptation Academy — a training programme to support developing countries adapting to climate change since 2010.

In 2021, the South Korean government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UNFCCC to jointly run the training programme.

In 2019, South Korea successfully hosted the Korea Global Adaptation Week and discussed ways to enhance adaptation to climate change. The country also plans to host the 2023Korea Global Adaptation Week next year. We are hoping that next year’s meeting will become an opportunity to cooperate between developed and developing countries. I personally ask for your interest and support in that regard.

How can Egypt and South Korea cooperate in the future in the field of combatting climate change?

South Korea and Egypt have been continuously cooperating with each other since both sides signed an MoU on environmental cooperation in 2006 and especially since the South Korean business delegation visited Egypt in 2016, after which, the two countries established a comprehensive cooperative relationship in waste-to-energy.

Cooperative projects between South Korea and Egypt in waste-to-energy includelocalising technology for an RDF-fired waste-to-energy testing plant in Alexandria in 2017;conducting a feasibility study to build a waste-to-energy facility in 2019; winning a contract to construct the RDF-fired waste-to-energy plants in Sohag, Minya, and Gharbia in 2020; establishing a master plan for waste-to-energy in 2021; and ODA projects on building waste-to-energy facilities across Egypt, technology transfer, and training centres in 2023.

As far as I am aware, Egypt is implementing various policies to build a circular economy through recycling, as it plans to expand international cooperation in the waste-to-energy sector.

The South Korean government is also exerting efforts to achieve a circular economy. Therefore, I expect the two countries to cooperate more in the related fields.

How is climate change affecting S. Korea? What are the most notable impacts?

Disasters linked to climate and weather extremes are becoming more frequent and intense. No continent is left untouched by climate change, with heatwaves in the US and Western Europe and floods in Pakistan this year.

South Korea was also affected by the heavy rainfall on 8 August and the super typhoon on 6 September, which caused significant damage, urban inundation, and the shutdown of the biggest steel mill in the country.

South Korea is expanding its investment in adapting infrastructure to climate change, such as deep underground rainwater tunnels, and securing alternative water resources to cope with climate crises such as floods and drought.

All our stakeholders in climate change are working together; public institutions have established an adaptation plan and a citizens’ committee was formed.

This year, South Korea implemented a climate change impact assessment to analyse and assess the impact of climate change on national plans and development projects. The Ministry of Environment also has plans to form and operate an adaptation consultative body to enhance adaptation capabilities in the industrial sector.

Would you please brief us on South Korea’s plan to tackle climate change impacts?

To cope with the global climate crisis, in October 2020, South Korea declared the country would aim to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

In October 2021, South Korea announced its updated and enhanced NDC target to reduce total national GHG emissions by 40% from the 2018 level.

The country will also establish an implementation plan to achieve the NDC target by 2030 based on a scientific approach and will move towards a great economic and social transition through the plan.

South Korea is pursuing a national policy agenda for achieving carbon neutrality that includesa transition to low-carbon energy, balancing nuclear and renewable energy, supporting carbon reduction in the industrial sector by introducing innovative technology, establishing a transportation system centred on emission-free vehicles, and building a circular economy where waste is recycled into resources.

Under such policy direction, the Korean government announced the Strategy for Carbon Neutral and Green Growth in October 2022.

By March 2023, based on the strategy, South Korea will establish a Master Plan for Carbon Neutrality and Green Growth — a twenty-year plan from 2023 to 2042.

South Korea will fulfil its role as a responsible member of the international community by pursuing policies on carbon neutrality.

As a developed country, does South Korea have plans to cooperate with developing countries in Africa to deal with the impact of climate change?

Africa accounts for less than 3% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, however, losses of life and property from climate change in Africa are more severe than in any other region.

As a member of the international community, South Korea has a sense of responsibility for developing countries’ climate crises. Therefore, South Korea will actively assist in developing countries’ mitigation and adaptation efforts.

South Korea provides ODA for developing countries to cope with climate change in the water, waste, and energy sector. In his keynote speech at the 77th UN General Assembly, the president of the South Korea said that the country would scale up its green ODA.

Hence, we plan to raise the green ODA’s rate to above the average level of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), which is 28.1%, by 2025.

Additionally, South Korea already had experience building smart waterworks infrastructure based on ICT and establishing infrastructure for managing water resources, such as flood forecasting and warning systems for developing countries to respond to climate change.

Also, from 2023, South Korea will begin a project to build a smart water management system in Accra, Ghana, to supply water to the region more stably.

Furthermore, South Korea is working on a project to build a sewage treatment facility in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, utilising the Korea Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF).

We are also exploring another opportunity to build an ICT-based public sewerage monitoring system in connection with the abovementioned project.

We will also continue to explore project opportunities linking and integrating existing ODA projects and new projects in Africa to enhance the sustainability and effectiveness of ODA.

Quotes:

South Korea will fulfil its role as a responsible member of the international community by pursuing policies on carbon neutrality.

Korea will continue to explore project opportunities linking and integrating existing ODA projects and new projects in Africa to enhance the sustainability and effectiveness of ODA.

Topics: South Korea

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