25 February 2024 02:32 PM

The “Environment & Development Forum 2022: The Road to Sharm El Sheikh Climate Change CoP27”

Sunday، 11 September 2022 - 12:24 PM

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, Cairo hosted the activities of the “Environment & Development Forum 2022: The Road to Sharm El Sheikh Climate Change CoP27”, during the period from 11 to 13 September 2022.

The forum was organized by the Arab Water Council with the participation of senior officials, experts and thought leaders represnting 30 countries to highlight the impacts and solutions of climate change on the environment and development, including measures to adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects on many sectors.

The forum discussed 8 main axes, which address the challenges of climate change on the agendas of most countries in the world, including food and water security, clean and renewable energy, sustainable development, ecological conservation and protection, emissions control, sustainable transport, ways to preserve the environment, and the protection of biodiversity, as well as control of carbon dioxide emissions.



The Opening Session

The activities of the opening session of the “Environment & Development Forum 2022: The Road to Sharm El Sheikh Climate Change CoP27” kicked off on Sunday 11/9/2022 in the presence of Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the designated president of the 27th session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in addition to the Ministers of Electricity, Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, as well as the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, the pioneer of the Egyptian presidency of the climate conference, the resident coordinator of the United Nations in Egypt, and a group of senior officials, experts, researchers and specialists.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry delivered a speech at the opening session of the “Environment & Development Forum 2022: The Road to Sharm El Sheikh Climate Change CoP27”.

Shoukry said Egypt seeks, during its presidency of COP27 conference, to turn promises as regards climate change into action and has already set the issues to be tabled on the agenda of the event; adaptation with climate change, reducing emissions and providing necessary funding, especially those directed to developing nations, to face climate change effects.

Shoukry stressed that the negative impact of global climate change became a reality but global action to face it is not sufficient.

He said the UN climate conference is a chance to debate the effect of climate change on food, stressing that converting to renewable energy has become a top priority in the Arab region, as it will help lower reliance on conventional energy.

Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hani Suweilam said that several countries suffer from water shortages due to increases in population, unstable water shares (the percentage of water from shared sources, like the Nile, allotted to each country) and climate impacts, which has led to shortage of water used for drinking, agricultural and industrial purposes.

In this respect, the minister stressed that Egypt is one of the world's most affected countries by climate change, noting that the country is suffering water scarcity, high temperature, erosion and saltwater intrusion into fresh water.

He added that Egypt depends on the Nile River for 97 percent of its water needs and climate change will increase water shortages in the country, the minister said during the opening session of the Environment & Development Forum: The Road to Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change COP27.

He pointed out that Egypt, one of the most water-scarce countries in the world, needs 114 billion cubic metres (bcm) annually, but it only receives an average of 60 bcm, mainly from the Nile River, according to official remarks, noting that Egypt overcomes water scarcity by importing 54 percent of its virtual water and reusing 42 percent of its renewable water.

Virtual water, which is the embedded water required to produce commodities and measured as a percentage of the already existing water resources, has been relied on for decades in the form of food imports and is increasingly recommended as a good policy for water-scarce areas.

The minister added that water is a key element in agriculture and food security, noting that Egypt’s annual share of water is 560 cubic metres per person, placing the country well below the international threshold for water scarcity, according to the cabinet's figures.

According to the UN, a population faces water scarcity when annual water supplies drop below 1000 cubic metres per person and “absolute scarcity” when it drops below 500 cubic metres.

Suweilam said Egypt is making great efforts in improving water management, which includes rehabilitating canals in order to better deliver water to farmers.

Additionally, the country has established huge water treatment plants, such as Bahr Al-Baqar plant, to be used in agriculture, a sector on which about 40 million people in Egypt depend as a main source of income.

The minister underlined the necessity of expanding water desalination projects, studying ways to find less costly and more efficient ways of reusing wastewater, including by using renewable energy.

The irrigation minister urged all countries to strengthen cooperation amid extreme climate phenomena, stressing the need to place the water sector, food and agriculture on the global climate agenda.

He said shedding light on these sectors will contribute to increasing the ability of countries to deal with water issues in a way that is consistent with the related sustainable development goals.

Mahmoud Mohieldin, Egypt’s High-Level Climate Change Champion at the UN, stressed that the COP27 aims to provide solutions and alternatives to the current challenges related to climate change, adding that the COP27’s presidency is focusing on turning pledges into on-the-ground implementation.

Mohieldin highlighted a number of priorities related to climate action that should be put into consideration in the upcoming period, including adopting a comprehensive and integrated approach that addresses the climate crisis within the framework of sustainable development.

According to the climate champion, this comprehensive approach includes mobilising investments in the water and energy sectors — a matter that contributes to addressing extreme poverty and creating job opportunities.

Mohieldin also stressed the need to integrate the regional dimension into advancing the climate action agenda, referring to the COP27’s presidency’s initiative in cooperation with the UN’s regional commissions and high-level champions to hold five regional forums to mobilise finance for climate projects.

Mohieldin also referred to the need to localise sustainable development and climate action so that the general public can feel the fruits of climate action and the outcomes of climate summits.

In this regard, he referred to the National Initiative for Green and Smart Projects at the level of the Egyptian governorates, where the number of proposed projects exceeded 4,471 until 8 September.

The climate champion stressed that work is continuing in full swing to select the best projects at the governorate level in six categories.

With regard to financing, Mohieldin stressed the need to reduce dependence on borrowing and benefit from the developments in carbon markets and green bonds, bearing in mind that developing countries are the ones who suffer the most from the consequences of climate change.


Plenary Session on food security and agriculture

Dr. Ali Al-Moselhi, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade participated in a plenary session on food security and agriculture as part of the "Environment and Development 2022" Forum that is organized in preparation for the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), set to be held in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El Sheikh in November.

Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali Al-Moselhi said Egypt’s strategic stock of all food commodities is sufficient for at least 6 months as per relevant directives from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

Moselhi asserted that Egypt’s strategic stock of wheat is enough for 6.6 months, noting that Egypt produces nearly 50% of its wheat needs.

He noted that Egypt's self-sufficiency in sugar amounts to 90%, while the country achieved complete self-sufficiency in rice.

In this regard, the minister stressed that no country worldwide can achieve self-sufficiency in all commodities.
He added that Egypt has taken great steps over the past eight years to avoid being affected by the negative impacts of climate change.

Dr. Ali Al-Moselhi, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, denied rumors about Egypt importing about 90% of its wheat needs.

He said that the volume of Egypt’s import of wheat does not exceed 51%.

He pointed out that local production is increasing year after year, and that this year it has reached more than 2.5 million tons.
The minister urged all to be more accurate in handling numbers and statistics when talking about the volume of exports and imports related to food commodities, especially wheat.

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