28 June 2022 01:28 PM

Egypt's participation in the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26)

Monday، 01 November 2021 - 06:53 PM

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi heads to Britain to participate in the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) for the heads of state and government that will be held on the 1st and 2nd of November in Glasgow.

When the President arrived at Glasgow Airport, he was received by senior statesmen and members of the Egyptian Embassy in Britain.

President El-Sisi’s participation in the climate summit fulfils the invitation of British Prime Minister, Mr. Boris Johnson, whose country is the president of the current summit. This is in light of the significant role that Egypt plays both regionally and internationally within the framework of climate change negotiations.

The President will focus during the conference on topics of interest to developing countries, in general, and African countries, in particular, notably with regard to enhancing efforts toward strengthening international climate action. This is in addition to underscoring the importance of the industrial countries’ commitment to their pledges within the framework of the Paris Agreement, as well as stressing Egypt’s willingness to host the coming climate change summit in 2022.

About the Conference of the Parties (COP)

The COP, which runs until November 12, is described by the United Nations as a "turning point for humanity" and "the most important summit ever". COP is an acronym for "conference of the parties", which means "the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change". All States that are Parties to the Convention are represented at the COP.

The COP meets every year, unless the Parties decide otherwise. The first COP meeting was held in Berlin, Germany in March, 1995. Also, the COP Presidency rotates among the five recognized UN regions - that is, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe and Western Europe and Others.

The 25th session of the COP was held in Madrid, Spain in 2019, and due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the 26th session that was scheduled to take place last year has been postponed.

This meeting is considered the most important gathering on climate change, as it includes nearly 200 countries that signed the Paris Agreement in 2015. Its goal is to set a legally binding international treaty on climate change to limit global warming.

More than 120 world leaders have confirmed their attendance at the summit, most notably US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Meanwhile, the leaders of some of the highest-emitting countries will be absent, including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Russian President Vladimir Putin, although they are expected to send negotiators. Chinese President Xi Jinping has not yet said whether he will attend in person; China’s climate envoy and other officials are planning to be there. According to the United Nations, the top priority of the summit agenda, which developed and even developing countries have begun to allocate huge budgets for its implementation, is to reach “zero” emissions to confront global warming.

In addition to companies, cities and financial institutions, 131 countries consider setting a goal of reducing emissions to net zero by mid-century.

To achieve such goal, the United Nations believes that sharp emission reduction; especially by the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, are necessary in the next five to ten years in order to keep global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius and maintain a livable climate.

The COP assesses the effects of the measures taken by Parties and the progress made in achieving the ultimate objective of the Convention, with respect to limiting global average temperature increase to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels. According to the Paris Agreement, 196 governments agreed to periodically assess their progress at the national and collective levels, and update their pledges. This was supposed to happen for the first time in 2020, but after delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries are preparing to make their first updates in Glasgow.

The issues to be discussed at the COP

Debate will likely focus on the following issues:

Climate finance: Experts say climate finance will likely emerge as one of the most challenging issues of COP26. Developing countries, which have contributed the least to emissions levels, are demanding that developed countries follow through on a pledge to mobilize $100 billion per year to help them reduce emissions and adapt to the worsening effects of climate change. Another issue expected to come up is how to assist nations already experiencing loss and damage due to climate change. 

Carbon markets: All components of the Paris Agreement’s so-called rulebook—the guidelines for how to implement the accord—have already been agreed upon, except for Article 6. That section deals with how to develop and implement so-called international carbon markets, which allow for the trading of emissions-reduction credits. 

Coal: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is hosting COP26, has called on developed countries to stop using coal—a major source of emissions—by 2030 and for other countries to phase it out by 2040. However, discussions on coal have already been contentious. Earlier this year, the Group of Seven (G7) failed to agree on a date to stop using coal. China and India, which in recent weeks have suffered energy crises partly due to coal shortages, have also resisted committing to eliminating coal.

Methane: Leaders will formally pledge to cut methane emissions by at least 30 percent by 2030, a goal that was unveiled by the United States and the European Union in September. More than a dozen countries have already signed the pact. The world’s top methane emitter, China, has not yet joined.

The commitments that governments make during COP26 are unlikely to be ambitious enough to prevent temperatures from rising 1.5°C or even 2°C, although a few countries could make surprise announcements. 

Nonetheless, COP26 will set the stage for negotiations that will continue both within the COP process and outside of it. Climate change will likely be a central topic at future multilateral summits, such as those of the G7 and Group of Twenty (G20), as well as within national governments. 

Activities

The COP26 summit of Heads of State and Government on Climate Change kicked off in Glasgow, with the participation of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said - in his opening speech at the COP26 summit of Heads of State and Government on Climate Change in Glasgow, "We meet today, and the environmental clock is ticking, marking the end of the planet if we do not do our best to preserve it."

He added that every moment is ticking the clock, telling us, "Our lives are minutes and seconds, and we have to take advantage of them and we have to work during them to preserve the planet."

He cautioned that the planet has become surrounded by a thick cloud of pollutants, which were only made by humans. Therefore, we should not ignore the demand to reduce the rate of warming by two degrees.

He explained that we can add to our goal other goals such as facing hurricanes and facing floods, and said, "If we do not do this, we will say farewell to entire cities."

He added, "The clock is ticking, telling the human race to move, otherwise things will end, and it will be too late and we will not be able to save our future generations."

He stressed that we must now take real action that everyone is committed to here in Glasgow, Scotland, and said that "we have the technology that enables this and of course we cannot say that we can eliminate all of these problems at once. It is over now. However, we can deal with But we can tackle those challenges one after the other."

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s Speech at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties

In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful,

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be here amongst you today to discuss the issue of climate that is affecting us all.

The latest report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has confirmed that enhancing climate action to achieve the threshold of 1.5 degrees has become inevitable and must not be delayed.

Therefore, I will focus today on the following points:

First: Egypt has initiated serious steps to apply a sustainable development model, at the heart of which lies climate change and adaptation to climate change. This model aims for government-funded green projects to reach 50% by 2025 and 100% by 2030.

For example, sources of renewable energy represent today around 20% of the energy mix in Egypt. We work on bringing it to 42% by 2035, coinciding with the rationalization of energy subsidies. Egypt is also working toward the transition to clean transportation by expanding the metro, rail and electric vehicle networks, preparing the necessary infrastructure for that, and establishing smart and sustainable cities. This is in addition to the implementation of projects to rationalize water consumption, canal lining and the integrated management of coastal areas.

To fund those projects, Egypt has recently issued the first Green bonds at a value of 750 million US dollars. To place these efforts within their institutional framework, Egypt has completed the preparation of a national strategy for climate change 2050, which will open the way for Egypt to update its Nationally Determined Contributions so that the policies, objectives and measures encompassed in these contributions become integral to the state’s developmental efforts and its endeavors to recover from the repercussions of the Coronavirus, COVID-19, not a burden on it.

Second: Egypt understands its duties and is also aware of the magnitude of challenges that all developing countries are facing. Therefore, I would like to emphasize that developing countries’ implementation of their commitments to address climate change is conditioned by the amount of support they receive. This especially includes funding that is considered a keystone and the main determinant of our countries’ ability to raise their climate ambitions within the balanced framework that the Paris Agreement represents, which we should maintain in order to ensure boosting efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to the negative repercussions of climate change on equal footing.

We are concerned about the gap between the available funding and the actual needs of developing countries as well as the obstacles that our countries face to have access to it. Therefore, the developed countries must fulfill their pledges to provide 100 billion US dollars annually to fund climate in the developing countries. We confirm our support to the UN Secretary-General’s call for the funding allocated to adaptation not to be half of the available funding and the importance of commencing deliberations concerning the new post-2025 financing goal. 

Third: Although it is not responsible for the climate change crisis, the African continent faces the most negative repercussions and the subsequent economic, social, security and political consequences. Nevertheless, the continent is considered a model for serious climate action, as much as its capabilities and the support that it receives allow. Therefore, Egypt calls for the need to provide the African continent with special treatment, especially within the framework of implementing the Paris Agreement, given its special conditions and the challenges it faces.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am confident that our summit’s deliberations and outcomes will convey our political commitment to face climate change and adapt to its negative impacts. I am certain that this will reach our delegations that are ready to begin negotiating the proposed issues on the summit’s agenda and to be motivated to come up with positive results.  

I would also like to welcome the Glasgow committee and the reports it will issue and express our support for the UK’s presidency of the conference, with which we will work over the coming days and months, leading to the next session of the conference, which we look forward to hosting in Egypt on behalf of the African continent. During our presidency, we will seek to promote international climate action to reach the Paris Agreement goals so as to realize the interests of the peoples of our continent and the entire world.

Thank you.

President El-Sisi’s visit to Britain to Participate in UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties

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