Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt, UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and Chairperson of the Jury of the National Initiative for Smart Green Projects, has said that the continuation of the initiative and the launch of its second edition this year reflects Egypt’s vision to consolidate the new reality in which development is linked to digital transformation, the optimal exploitation of information technology, the developments of the fourth industrial revolution, and the transition towards green economy.
This came during his speech on the occasion of the launch of the second edition of the National Initiative for Smart and Green Projects, where Mohieldin praised the cooperation of all concerned ministries and institutions, which led to the great success of the first edition of this unprecedented initiative, and showcasing its results at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, adding that he is looking forward to the participation of the contributions of the initiative at COP28 in Dubai by the end of the year.
Mohieldin explained that the Sharm El Sheikh conference was characterized by adopting a holistic approach in dealing with climate change with equal attention to all dimensions of climate action, which are mitigating emissions, adapting to climate change, dealing with loss and damage caused by that phenomenon, and financing all these activities, He added that the conference has placed it upon itself to put the implementation of the Paris Agreement within a wider framework that aims to achieve sustainable development.
He emphasized that COP27 was interested in transforming climate action policies and pledges into investable and practically implementable projects, beside localization of climate and development action, pointing out in this context that the National Initiative for Smart and Green projects is a model for climate and development action localization initiatives.
Mohieldin stated that the visions, presentations and contributions made by the ministries concerned with the initiative reflected the interest from the first day in enhancing the environmental dimension of the projects, in addition to integrating all categories of society, especially women and youth, in planning and implementation, referring to the effective contribution of the initiative in building capacities at the level of ministries, governorates and local authorities.
Mohieldin said that there are efforts and communication by those in charge of the initiative with regional and international institutions and organizations including UN organizations to cooperate in conveying this useful experience and promoting the regional dimension of climate and development action.
He confirmed the interest of COP27 in providing fair and adequate financing for climate and development projects. In this regard, he said that the projects of the National Initiative for Smart and Green Projects attracted national banks and international development finance institutions to participate in their financing and implementation.
Mohieldin stressed that the continuation of the initiative is a practical implementation of the five basic objectives of COP27 and a support for its results and outputs, saying that the initiative was characterized by the complexity of its classifications and the multiplicity of axes, as it was interested in climate action and the transition towards green economy. It was also interested in digitalization and promoting social participation from various groups and actors, and aimed to decentralize development by spreading it not only across governorates but also across neighborhoods, villages and industrial areas within each governorate. The initiative also resulted in agricultural and industrial projects or projects that combined between the two sectors or projects related to various services, as well as the diversity of project categories between large, medium and small projects, women and youth projects and projects of non-profit bodies.
Mohieldin explained that Egypt aims from the initiative to enhance awareness of climate and environmental issues after international polls indicated that less than 50% of people around the world barely know about the issue of climate change.
The climate champion highlighted the necessity of paying attention to three elements to advance the initiative, the first of which is to provide finance for the initiative’s projects, including projects that have feasibility studies with risks, whether through domestic or external sources of financing. The second is to focus on activating technological solutions in the planning and implementation of the initiative’s projects, while the third element is behavioral change at the level of society and its institutions by increasing attention to the environmental and technological elements of development action.