The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 2022 (COP27) is slated for November 6-18 this year in the Red Sea resort community of Sharm El Sheikh, and all hands are on deck across the nation as Egypt gears up for this key event.
COP27 aims to establish legally binding commitments for developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For the Egyptian hosting delegation, the focus will be on watershed issues facing the African continent, in particular, and in developing countries in general, such as water security, agricultural reform, and green financing.
“Egypt looks forward to building on the outputs of Glasgow to set a global goal for adaptation according to the ‘From Glasgow to Sharm El Sheikh’ work program, especially after the completion of the Paris Rulebook,” the Ministry of Environment announced in a statement in August.
The organizational committee, chaired by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, includes Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who was chosen to be the COP 27 President-designate; Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad, who was selected to be the Ministerial Envoy for the conference.
“We must accelerate climate action on all fronts including mitigation, adaptation and finance in addition to adopting more ambitious mitigation measures to keep the 1.5c within reach. There can be no room for delay in the fulfillment of climate pledges or backtracking on hard-earned gains in the global fight against climate change. We must work together for implementation. We need to act and act now, to save lives and livelihoods,” Shoukry said in a statement last week.
Currently, around 35 eco-friendly projects are under development in Sharm El Sheikh in cooperation with all the concerned bodies of the state, according to the Prime Minister, who assured that Sharm El Sheikh is undergoing an overhaul in terms of its longevity and viability as a green community.
The city is now relying on eco-friendly electrical and natural gas-powered means, according to the Ministry of Environment’s report this month. The number of hotels that have been awarded the Green Star now stands at 20 out of about 160 hotels, as well as 60 dive centers. A solar cell plant with a capacity of 5 megawatts is being established on the rooftops of the Sharm El Sheikh Airport. Also, an integrated waste management system (collection, separation and recycling) is being established.
In anticipation of the touristic scope of the upcoming summit, the Deputy Minister for Tourism Affairs, Ghada Samir, held a meeting with key representatives of leading tourism companies across the country to plan and implement the agendas of the participating delegations that will be visiting Egypt. Amongst the programs discussed were one-day trips, cruises and visits to natural protectorates, among others.
Leading by example
A critical agreement between Egypt and the US on supporting the former’s National Nexus of Water, Food, and Energy (NWFE) – a scheme to promote green projects – is set to be announced at COP27. The meeting between US Climate Envoy, John Kerry, and Minister of the Environment, Yasmine Fouad, tackled bilateral cooperation amid Egypt’s preparations for the event.
The NWFE, launched this July in anticipation of hosting the COP 27, underscores Egypt’s standing as an appropriate host for the landmark conference, as it will oversee the replacement of 17 natural gas-fired power stations with wind and solar power stations with capacities of up to 10 gigawatts. The NWFE is a national scheme meant to implement the nationally determined contributions (NDCs), a document Egypt recently submitted detailing its commitments to emission targets by 2030.
The NWFE was conceived within the framework of Egypt’s National Climate Change Strategy 2050, with a view to attracting foreign investments to Egypt’s green transformation plan. The program seeks to mobilize concessional development finance for a package of priority green development projects in the food, water and energy sectors. The program aims to achieve sustainable, low-emission development and enhance scientific research and technology transfers in the climate change field.
Egypt and the US in February launched a joint working group to prepare for COP27 on the sidelines of the meeting of Ministers of the Environment and Climate of the G20 in Indonesia. Egypt is set to announce a set of presidential initiatives in the spheres of food, water and energy during COP27. Hopes are pinned on COP27 to turn climate-related pledges into action to help facilitate the move to green energy in order to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change as per the Paris Agreement.
“Climate change is not merely an environmental phenomenon, but also one that has vast economic effects on humanity. We are in need of collective efforts from all the world’s states to deal with it,” Wael Abul Magd, special representative of the COP27 presidential designate, also Egypt’s ambassador to Brazil and a member of the board of the Green Climate Fund for the African Continent, said in a talk organized by Alternative Policy Solutions, a public policy research project at the American University in Cairo (AUC).
“The developing countries that are the most affected by increasing emissions and the least responsible for causing them are required to take out loans to reduce their effects. That points to the lack of climate justice,” he said. As for Egypt’s goals for the global meeting or the expected outcome, Abul Magd said that the host country had no direct power to influence how participants would tackle their climate goals.
However, he underlined that the conference provides room for Egypt to exercise its influence towards encouraging them to reach positive outcomes across the board. Egypt, he maintained, will provide a suitable environment for holding negotiations and will organize side events on salient topics as well as propose a slew of initiatives devoted to advancing novel and innovative solutions to combat the myriad perils of climate change.