Egypt - Mahmoud Mohieldin — Egypt’s High-Level Climate Champion at the UN — said that the COP27 that will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh this November will prioritise discussions on food, water, and energy, as they are essential for human life and have been affected negatively by global warming and climate change.

His remarks came during his participation in a webinar hosted by Ain Shams University (ASU) to discuss the impact of climate change on food production in dry areas with the participation of ASU President Mahmoud Al-Meteni and a large number of academics, professors, and scientific researchers from inside and outside of Egypt.

Mohieldin said that food, water, and energy are tightly linked to each other and are all essential for human life, explaining that the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rising geopolitical tensions — especially in Ukraine — amplified poverty rates and added to the global food crisis. They also led to a substantial increase in the number of people who suffer from food insecurity, lack of water, and energy all around the world.

He called, in this context, for widespread digitisation in the fields of agriculture, water, and energy, and to widely benefit from new technologies to achieve sufficiency of those vital elements for all humans.

Mohieldin also stated that development and climate action are overstuffed by pledges and agreements that are yet to be fulfilled, which is why the Egyptian presidency of the UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP27) is prioritising turning these pledges into actual and immediate action that goes in line with the Paris Accords and 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

“The actual implementation of climate projects continuously needs updated data, basis, and scientific research, which highlights the importance of the role that universities and scientific research centres can play in development and climate action,” he explained.

The climate champion also stressed that the holistic approach in dealing with all aspects of sustainable development is obligatory, saying that confining development action to climate projects and confining climate action into decarbonisation is useless and harms the sustainable development tracks in many countries.

“The COP27 will focus on the holistic approach in which climate action includes mitigation, adaptation, dealing with losses and damages, and financing climate projects,” Mohieldin added.

Furthermore, he explained that the previous COPs focused in general on the international effort to curb climate change, while the COP27 will focus on the regional and local dimensions of climate action that effectively add to the international effort to achieve climate goals.

Relating to the regional dimension of climate action, Mohieldin mentioned the five major regional roundtables initiative, saying that three of them have already been held in the last few weeks and resulted in 39 investable development and climate projects in Africa and Asia, while 20 to 25 projects are expected to be announced after the LAC roundtable was held from 1 to 2 September.

“In terms of localisation, Egypt launched the Green Smart Projects initiative to pick the best development projects across all governorates that are in line with the Paris Accords and maximise the benefit of digitisation,” Mohieldin said, adding that 18 projects across Egypt will be selected to be showcased during the COP27.

Mohieldin also confirmed that the COP27 will focus on financing climate action and will push towards fulfilling previous COPs pledges, especially the annual $100bn pledged in the Copenhagen conference to finance climate projects in developing countries, adding that the Egyptian presidency of the conference also want to discuss post-2025 financing of climate action.

“The methods of financing climate action should be widened to include investments according to international criteria to avoid green washing, enhancing the private sector participation by highlighting the great investment opportunities in climate action — especially in developing countries — activating innovative finance mechanisms such as green and blue bonds and debt swaps, linking states’ public budgets to development action, and establishing carbon markets that suit the priorities and situations of developing countries and emerging market economies,” Mohieldin clarified.

He also called for widely adopting the IDA criteria for financing development action, in which countries are given extended repayment periods with reduced interests, expressing his hope that middle-income countries are allowed to benefit from the IDA alongside low-income countries.

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