Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, said that the success of urban development and the shift towards smart green cities mainly requires investment in humans and advanced technology, in addition to localizing development and good management of the wealth of data of smart cities.
This came during his participation in the International Conference for Smart Cities 2023, in the presence and participation of Ayman Ashour, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Honorary President of the Conference, Kamel Al-Wazir, Minister of Transport, Mahmoud El-Metini, President of Ain Shams University and President of the Conference, Omar Al-Husseini, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Ain Shams University and Chairperson of the Organizing Committee of the Conference, in addition to a number of university presidents, academics and entrepreneurs.
Mohieldin said that failure to mobilize required investments in urban development makes cities and communities lose the ability to progress, explaining that the success of urban development requires the availability of governance and participation, empowering local authorities through applying the principle of development localization and combining the advantages of centralization and decentralization, along with the availability of finance and combining its private and public sources.
Mohieldin added that the challenges posed by the permacrisis situation in the whole world must be hedged by investing in human capital, which is the basis for building and sustaining smart cities, investing in infrastructure and linking it to advanced technology, in addition to investing in the resilience of new societies to different crises.
Mohieldin stressed the need for new cities to be smart and adhere to environmental and climate standards, pointing out in this regard the existence of financing gaps suffered by Arab countries to create environmentally friendly cities, this requires investment in decarbonization, sustainable transport, recycling, waste management and other areas with environmental impact.
Mohieldin highlighted the importance of transforming old cities into smart green cities while preserving their civilizational character, with the need to deal with the crisis of slums and residential communities stuck between rural communities and advanced urban cities.
In this context, Mohieldin said that more than half of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, and this percentage is expected to rise to 70% by 2050. He added that urban cities account for 80% of global GDP, but at the same time, these cities contribute 70% to harmful emissions and are the most affected by the negative phenomena of climate change, which confirms the need for cities to adhere to environmental and climate standards in order to withstand climate change.
The Climate Champion reported that COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh came up with a number of important initiatives that contribute effectively to the successful transition towards smart green cities, such as the Low Carbon Transport Initiative for Urban Sustainability (Lotus), the Sustainable Cities initiative, the African Carbon Markets Initiative, which will strengthen the capabilities of African countries to finance the transition towards smart green cities, as well as the launch of Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda by Egypt presidency of COP27 and Climate Champions that will help to achieve the resilience of societies and cities to climate change, in addition to Egypt’s historical success in launching the Loss and Damage Fund through its presidency of the conference in order to enhance ways to deal with the losses suffered by cities as a result of climate change.