Arab Countries must intensify climate adaptation efforts, says Mahmoud Mohieldin

Fatma Salah
4 Min Read

Arab countries need to step up their climate adaptation efforts, transition to environmentally friendly energy production, and align public budgets with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including climate targets, according to Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Mohieldin made these remarks during a session titled “Climate Change and Sustainable Development in Arab Countries” at the Egyptian Institute of National Planning’s COP28 events in Dubai. The session also featured Alessandro Fracassetti, UNDP Resident Representative for Egypt; Dr. Hala Abo Ali, Vice President of the Institute of National Planning for Research and Graduate Studies; and Deger Saygin, OECD Clean Energy Finance and Investment Mobilization Program Leader.

Despite contributing less than 5% to global carbon emissions, the Arab region is among the most vulnerable to climate change, highlighting the urgent need to intensify climate adaptation efforts, Mohieldin explained. The Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda (SAA), launched during COP27, provides a practical framework for implementing adaptation activities across five key areas: food and agriculture; water and nature; coasts and oceans; human settlements; and infrastructure. These areas offer promising investment opportunities and can foster enhanced public-private partnerships (PPPs).

Mohieldin emphasized the need to significantly increase private sector participation in financing and implementing climate adaptation initiatives, as the sector’s current contribution stands at a mere 3%. He commended the UAE’s announcement of a $30 billion climate action fund for private sector investments, while also underscoring the importance of blended finance, which combines domestic, international, public, and private sources of funding.

The activation of the Loss and Damage Fund during COP28 complements the success achieved at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh on this critical issue, Mohieldin stated. The fund, launched at the Sharm El Sheikh conference, will provide accurate data on climate change losses, mobilize funding to address them, and shift the climate action narrative by emphasizing the importance of both emissions reduction and climate adaptation efforts.

Mohieldin acknowledged the Green Climate Fund’s (GCF) pivotal role in financing climate action in developing countries. The fund’s second replenishment witnessed increased contributions from donor countries, and five additional countries are expected to announce their contributions during the Dubai conference.

The climate champion underscored the urgency of intensifying and accelerating climate finance mobilization efforts and strengthening regional and local climate action to support global efforts. He cited the Regional Platforms of Climate Projects (RPCP) and Egypt’s National Initiative for Smart Green Projects (NISGP) as examples of unprecedented initiatives launched in preparation for Egypt’s COP27 presidency, which has successfully strengthened the regional and local dimensions of climate action.

Mohieldin emphasized the importance of debt management solutions, particularly debt-for-nature swaps, and aligning public budgets with SDGs, especially in Arab countries. Egypt is leading the way in this regard with the launch of a national platform for climate and development action linked to the country’s national plans and public budget.

In conclusion, Mohieldin stressed that effective climate action requires the provision of fair and adequate finance, the activation of scientific and technological solutions, and the development of enabling regulatory frameworks and policies that stimulate climate action.

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