Ahram Online , Monday 19 Sep 2022

Egypt plans to put forward seven Africa-focused initiatives to address climate change at the 27th session of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27) set to take place in the Egyptian Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh in November.


Egyptian Environment Minister and the Ministerial Coordinator and Envoy for COP27 Yasmine Fouad poses for a photo with a group of African environment ministers in the Senegalese capital, Dakar during the 18th session of the African Ministers of Environment Conference (AMCEN). (Photo: Egyptian Ministry of Environment)


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The initiatives were shared by Egyptian Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad at the 18th session of the African Ministers of Environment Conference (AMCEN) held in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, last week.

Fouad, who is also the ministerial coordinator and envoy for COP27, said the Egyptian initiatives are expected to be discussed by the African ministers in the coming weeks, according to a statement issued by the environment ministry on Sunday.

The first initiative focuses on achieving fair energy transition for Africa, while the second, dubbed Decent Life for Africa, is aimed at improving the lives of African rural communities to strengthen their adaptive capacity.

The third initiative is drawn from the Egyptian Decent Life Initiative, a presidential scheme comprising a series of countryside-focused national infrastructure projects.

Egypt will present Women and Adaptation initiative, meant to enhance African women’s capabilities towards a more resilient environment and provide more green job opportunities.

An initiative focusing on agriculture and food will be proposed in Sharm El-Sheikh to assess African agricultural practices and food systems, according to the environment ministry’s statement.

A water-focused initiative dubbed Aware is also among the Egyptian proposals to develop an early warning system and protect water from the impact of climate change.

The sixth initiative focuses on biodiversity in order to protect marine life and the ecosystem from the consequences of climate change. The initiative is based on natural solutions. The seventh initiative, named Africa Waste 50, aims at increasing Africa’s recycling rate to 50 percent by 2050.

The waste initiative requires private sector participation, increasing investment in this sector across the continent, Fouad said, adding that the initiative was supported by African ministers.

“It is considered the first ever African initiative that tackles the waste problem at its roots as well as its challenges. It is also necessary and important as it covers both mitigation and adaptation; mitigation by reducing methane resulting from the open burning of waste and adapting to wastewater treatment,” the statement quoted the minister as saying.

Egypt aims to restore balance between adaptation and mitigation, support the global goal of adaptation, and double its funding for developing countries in order to achieve “a satisfactory” result at COP28, the enviroment minister pointed out during the AMCEN.

Egypt vowed to speak for the aspirations of Africa regarding facing climate change, affirming that the African continent, which is not responsible for the climate crisis, suffers from the most negative consequences of the phenomenon at the economic, social, security, and political fronts.

Egypt is set to announce a set of other initiatives in the spheres of food, water, and energy during the event.

Hopes are pinned on COP27 to turn climate-related pledges into action to help facilitate the transition to green energy in order to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change as per the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement – adopted at COP21 and signed by over 190 states, including Egypt – came into effect in 2016 with the aim of limiting the rise in temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Climate finance has been debated at every COP meeting since, as developed countries have failed to meet their promise to mobilise $100 billion annually by 2020 to help developing nations with mitigation and adaptation measures.

Only 70 percent of the $100 billion pledged in 2009’s COP, held in Copenhagen, to finance climate action in the developing countries have been fulfilled, according to Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt.

However, even if the whole amount had been fulfilled, it would have covered five percent of the required funds to finance climate action in developing countries, he stressed.