Voice of Africa's Initiatives Echoes from Egypt at Cop27

Egypt’s Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad and Ministerial Coordinator and Envoy for COP 27 Invite African Environment Ministers to Working Breakfast.

Yasmine Fouad said “We Pin Our Hopes on Egypt’s Presidency of COP27 to Discuss Comprehensive Initiatives for Developing Countries’ Priorities, Especially Africa. ”

Despite having contributed the least to global warming and having the lowest emissions by only 4%, Africa is among the most vulnerable continents to climate change impacts, Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Yasmine Fouad, Egypt’s Minister of Environment and Ministerial Coordinator and Envoy for the COP 27 emphasized, adding that the ten most climate vulnerable countries globally are in Africa, hosting 20% of the continent’s population.

This came during the participation of Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, Ministerial Coordinator and Envoy of the COP27 Climate Conference, in the ministerial part of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) in its eighteenth session held in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, from 15-16 September.

Between 2010-2022, the number of Africans affected by droughts amounted to at least 172.3 million, and the ones affected by floods amounted to 43 million, the Minister said.

African nations are most affected by food insecurity and water scarcity, the Minister outlined, adding that climate change is forecasted to push an additional 78 million people into chronic hunger by 2050, over half of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Minister of Environment stated that adaptation is the top priority for Africa and Egypt. Thus, Egyptian government has been exerting strenuous efforts to address climate change challenges and include the climate-related dimensions in its national plans across all sectors. Nevertheless, it is imperative for us as the COP President to bring back balance between adaptation and mitigation.

Fouad outlined that the COP27 presidency’s ambition is reflected in its comprehensive bundle of initiatives that primarily focus on developing countries’ priorities, especially Africa. For the first time, COP27 initiatives are built on an inclusive process of global consultations; where six out of the thirteen COP27 Presidency Initiatives focus on Africa explicitly and an additional two initiatives focus on Africa within its targets.

To face the pathetic reality of the inability of 598 million people in Africa to access to energy and 930 million to access to clean cooking fuels, the Fair and Affordable Energy Transition Initiative has been designed to join-up the efforts of the African countries participating in accelerating their energy transitions and to serve as a point of reference for African countries and development finance partners alike, the Minister said

The Minister of Environment also spoke about Egypt’s endeavor to apply its success story in the presidential initiative of a Decent Life (Hayah Karima) to the continent through Decent Life Initiative for a Climate Resilient Africa in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program that focuses on enhancing the adaptive capacities of rural communities, adding that there is also an African Women’s Adaptation initiative that ensures better opportunities for women.

The existing efforts, as Fouad said, cannot help establishing an efficient ecosystem for waste management, as less than 10% only of the solid waste e generated in the continent is recycled. So, the Waste Initiative 50 by 2050 has been developed to addresses the waste management crisis in Africa. 50 by 2050 initiative aims to dispose and recycle at least 50% of the solid waste produced in Africa by 2050.

Without taking measures to contain climate change, Africa is expected to witness displacement and migration of up to 85.7 million people, i.e 4.2% of the continent’s population, the Minister stressed
Fouad reviewed the role of Friends of Greening National Budgets in Africa and Developing Countries, in supporting governments to create an enabling environment for the private sector towards the transition to a low-carbon economy capable of adapting to climate change.

She also talked about the biodiversity initiative that will focus on Nature-Based Solutions (NbS), as the COP finds its home in the beautiful city of Sharm El Sheikh where many issues facing the entire continent will be addressed including marine life, marine pollution, ecosystem restoration and conservation, combating desertification.

Moreover, the Minister talked about the Initiative on Climate Action and Nutrition (iCAN) in cooperation with the World Health Organization, which aims to build affordable, healthy, sustainable and climate-resilient diets.

In addition, the Minister of Environment reviewed other initiatives tailored to support the developing countries in different areas such as Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transition (FAST) initiative in cooperation with FAO, Action for Water Adaptation and Resilience (AWARE) initiative in collaboration with WMO, Sustainable Urban Resilience for the Next Generation (SURG) with UNHabitat, ICLEI that was launched in Nairobi last week, the Just Financing Guidebook which features finance for adaptation, the Sustainable Transport initiative with UNEP, SLOCAT that focuses on urban mobility options for the developing world. All these initiatives, according to Fouad’s statement, accommodate the African needs and priorities.

Fouad added that the COP27 Presidency’s Thematic Days also aim to cover as many aspects of climate issues facing the developing world, especially Africa, with intensive focus on Finance Day. Moreover, the Energy Day will focus on the fair and affordable energy transition and future options such as Green Hydrogen.

Egypt’s Environment Minister: Voice of Africa's Initiatives Echoes from Egypt at Cop27
Egypt’s Environment Minister: Voice of Africa’s Initiatives Echoes from Egypt at Cop27

“We will be organizing, for the first time, the Decarbonization Day, that aims to exert efforts in reducing the sectors’ high-emissions that are too difficult to mitigate, including oil, gas and cement, while working to advance the decarbonization technologies. I am personally very keen on what Biodiversity and Civil Society Days have to offer, in addition to Gender Day, Youth Day, Solutions Day and Science Day. ” Fouad said

“We call COP27 a COP for Implementation. We as COP president, want to maintain global ambition for Climate Action. We want promises to be turned into tangible projects. Also, we need to ensure that such aspirations and plans make room for just and equitable development for all, including African countries.” The Minister outlined

“We cannot call for action, unless making sure of its viability. We have to be ready with innovative financing mechanisms to develop solutions at the local level. We should bear the responsibility of creating an environment equipped with science and knowledge to find new innovative ways of life to adapt to this changing planet.” Fouad affirmed

Egypt’s Minister of Environment called on the participants, saying “We should cooperate together, pool our ideas and share resources to develop a new standard for implementing a highly-needed qualitative shift in our work to be able to adapt with our changing climate. I am strongly eager to listen to the COP27’s visions and the countries ‘plans to be part of our endeavor to shape a better future for our continent.”

The Ministers of Botswana, Tanzania, Gabon, Tunisia, Zambia and Somalia thanked Egypt for holding this crucial meeting, which unites visions and promotes an opportunity for dialogue to raise the African concerns and to review the initiatives of the Egyptian presidency of the Cop27 Climate Conference, which gives due focus on Africa’s needs and priorities.

The Gabonese Minister of Environment stressed on the importance of the strong presence of African ministers at the Cop27 Climate Conference, while the two Ministers of Tunisia and Botswana upheld the significance of presenting the African successful experiences and innovative solutions.

Contributed by: Mohamed Mandor

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