Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda emphasized the crucial role of the private sector in financing and implementing climate adaptation activities. He said that these activities are not only vital for human and environmental well-being but also for the sustainability and profitability of businesses.
He made these remarks during his participation in the High-level session on the Role of the Private Sector in Low-Emission and Climate Resilient Pathways, as part of the World Green Economy Summit (WGES) 2023 that took place in Dubai one day before the start of COP28. The session also featured Raad Al Saady, Deputy Chairperson and Managing Director of Acwa Power; James Grabert, Director of the Mitigation Division at UNFCCC; and Gonzalo Muñoz, UN High-Level Champion for COP25.
Mohieldin explained that climate action rests on three main pillars, none of which can replace the other: innovation, regulation, and finance. He pointed out that innovation and finance are mainly concentrated in OECD member countries and China, but they are not sufficiently directed towards EMDEs. He called for more cross-border cooperation and solution-oriented approaches to address this gap.
Mohieldin stressed the need for a holistic approach to deal with climate change at the global level, stating that global climate action requires support from regional and local efforts, with more attention to climate adaptation activities.
He noted that the private sector and corporations are increasingly contributing to climate action, but their efforts are still inadequate. He added that the private sector focuses more on mitigation than adaptation activities and that adaptation activities receive only about 4% of private funding, while 3% goes to activities that serve both mitigation and adaptation objectives.
Mohieldin referred to the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda, which was launched at COP27 as a practical mechanism to implement adaptation activities. He highlighted the importance of the private sector and corporations in the effective execution of these activities, which offer promising investment opportunities that benefit humans and nature, as well as maximize the profits of the private sector and corporations.
Regarding the National Initiative for Smart Green Projects in Egypt (NISGP) and the role of the private sector in it, Mohieldin said that the initiative aimed to find solutions to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change through local eco-friendly projects based on the latest technological systems for two years.
The climate champion said that the initiative was comprehensive, as it included large, small, and medium-sized projects, as well as youth and women projects. It also covered all local entities in all Egyptian governorates. He said that the projects that participated in this pioneering initiative aimed to achieve SDGs, tackle the impacts of climate change, and accelerate the digital transformation in Egypt.
He said that the initiative drew an investment map across Egypt, and thus worked to stimulate investments and financing from the government, private sector, and international development partners with the aim of financing and implementing these projects and achieving their development and climate goals.
Regarding the importance of accountability and transparency elements in the contributions of the private sector and corporations to climate and development action, Mohieldin confirmed the need to agree on clear and binding ESG standards to ensure the ability to evaluate the performance of the private sector and corporations and their contributions to social, environmental and development action.
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