Developing countries need financial support to face climate change: Sisi at COP26.
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi called on developed countries on Monday to fulfill their pledge to provide $100 billion annually to developing countries to address the effects of climate change.
“We are concerned about the gap between the available funding and the actual requirements for developing countries to face climate change,” the Egyptian president said in a speech delivered to the UN Climate Change Conference Summit (COP26), which is being held in Glasgow, UK.
He also expressed his concern about the obstacles facing developing countries to access the funding necessary to confront climate change.
The Egyptian president described the funding issue as the “main determinant” of developing countries’ ability to achieve their climate change adaptation ambitions within the framework of preserving the Paris Climate Accords.
“Developing countries’ implementation of their commitments in the face of climate change depends on the proportion of funding they receive,” El-Sisi stressed.
The Egyptian president seconded United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the COP26, which highlighted the need to allocate at least half of all public climate finance to adaptation measures.
He affirmed the need to preserve the Paris Climate Accords to ensure the bolstering of efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to the negative implications of climate change.
The Paris Climate Accords — adopted at the COP21 and signed by over 190 states including Egypt — came into effect in 2016 with the aim of reducing global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in this century.
“Strengthening climate action to achieve the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal has become imperative and undeferrable,” El-Sisi affirmed.
Egypt aspires to host COP27
President El-Sisi also expressed Egypt’s readiness to host the 27th edition of the UN Climate Conference Summit (COP27) in 2022, as the country was recently selected as a nominee to hold the event.
“We will seek during our presidency of the COP27 to enhance international climate action to achieve the goals of the Paris agreement, which will achieve the interests of the global community,” El-Sisi said.
Egypt, climate change, water scarcity
In his speech, the president stressed that Egypt is implementing projects to rationalise its water usage, including lining canals and fostering integrated coastal zone management.
Egypt is one of the countries most affected by climate change, according to Mohamed Abdel-Ati, Egypt’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources minister.
Abdel-Ati has warned on more than one occasion against the negative effects of global warming on Egypt’s water resources, people’s access to water, and the country’s efforts to achieve sustainable development.
One of the threats of global warming on Egypt is the risk of losing 12 to 15 percent of the total area of the Nile Delta – the country’s most fertile soil – as a result of the expected rise in sea levels and the intrusion of saline water.
Egypt, a dry country that imports 54 percent of its virtual water, has developed a four-pronged ‘National Water Resources Plan’ that will run through 2037, which is based on rationalising water usage, improving water quality, providing additional water resources, and creating a climate suitable for optimal water management, the minister added.
Egypt has also drawn a strategy for its water resources until 2050 at a cost of EGP 900 billion.
Egypt: Developing renewable energy sources
The president highlighted that Egypt has taken serious steps to implement a sustainable development model centered on adaptation to climate change.
He affirmed that this model seeks to increase the percentage of government-funded green projects to 50 percent by 2025 and 100 percent by 2030.
Egypt also seeks to boost the percentage of renewable energy sources in its energy mix from the current 20 percent to 42 percent by 2035, he said.
The country also aims to rationalise energy subsidies, the president added.
According to the ‘Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index for 2021’, Egypt has advanced from 26th place in 2020 to the 20th among the world’s top 40 markets.
Furthermore, the president said that Egypt seeks to transition to clean transportation by promoting electric modes of transportation, such as the metro, electric trains, and electric vehicles by developing the necessary infrastructures.
The country is also establishing smart and sustainable cities, he noted.
“In order to fund these projects, Egypt recently issued its first-of-its-kind green bonds at a value of $750 million,” El-Sisi stated during the speech.
The Egyptian government sold green bonds with a five-year maturity in September last year, becoming the first government in the Middle East and North Africa to make such offering.
On Monday, El-Sisi highlighted that Egypt has completed the development of a national strategy for climate change until 2050, in order to place all efforts on the issue in an institutional framework.
“This strategy will open the way for Egypt to modernise its locally-based initiatives, in a way that integrates the policies, goals, and measures into the state’s development efforts, and to help the country recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic,” the president explained.
Fighting for Africa
In his speech, the Egyptian president called for the necessity to treat Africa in a special way within the framework of implementing the Paris Climate Accords, highlighting that the continent, which contributes the lowest percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, has suffered the most negative repercussions of climate change.
“Even though the African continent is not responsible for the climate crisis, it suffers from the most negative consequences of the phenomenon – economic, social, security, and political,” El-Sisi said.
The president added that Africa, however, is considered a “role model for serious climate action according to the continent’s capabilities and the available funding allows.”
According to the World Bank’s Groundswell Africa reports that were released late in October, Africa is expected to face the hardest impacts of climate change, displacing up to 86 million Africans by 2050 in the event concrete climate and development action was not taken.