04 December 2022 10:40 AM

The First Arab Conference on Climate and Sustainable Development

Sunday، 18 September 2022 - 12:00 AM

The first Arab conference for climate and sustainable development was launched on Sunday 18/9/2022 under the theme “Green is Life”.

The conference is organized by the Arab Court of Arbitration and Settlement of Economy and Investment Disputes, headed by the Senate Speaker Counselor Abdel Wahab Abdel Razek, with the participation of the Ministers of Justice, Social Solidarity, Agriculture and Local Development, in addition to a number of Arab figures, ambassadors from Egypt and Arab countries, governors, officials, and Egyptian MPs.

The conference is held as part of the preparations for the UN climate change (COP 27), slated to take place in Sharm el Sheikh in November.

The conference discussed legislations and laws related to sustainable development and climate, ways of facing economic, industrial and agricultural repercussions on sustainable development and the role of media, international and Arab institutions as well as civil society organizations in maintaining sustainable development.

Activities


Senate Speaker Abdel Wahab Abdel Razeq delivered a speech at the opening of the First Arab Conference on Climate and Sustainable Development, in which he said that climate change resulting from the irrational use of natural resources and the continued environmental damage have imposed accelerating challenges on the whole world.

He added that those dramatic challenges prompted world countries to seek to achieve the required balance between maintaining the desired levels of progress and protecting the right of future generations to a healthy environment to attain sustainable development.

Abdel Razeq expressed hope the court to succeed in resolving Arab commercial and investment disputes, which in turn could contribute to building a unified Arab arbitration system and boosting trade, economic and investment cooperation among Arab states.

He went on to say that Egypt was one of the countries that are more at risk from the effects of climate change, despite that it produces less greenhouse gas emissions at the global level.

Abdel Razeq stated that President Abdel Fattah El Sisi directed the government to take preemptive measures for countering climate change, in cooperation with all relevant bodies and civil society organizations.
He indicated that the Arab Conference on Climate and Sustainable Development discusses legislation and laws related to sustainable development and climate and the role of Arab and international institutions besides civil society organizations in maintaining sustainable development, as well as finding methods to address the impacts of climate change on sustainable development.

He also said that the Egyptian government launched in 2019 the National Strategy for Climate Change 2050, which reflects the great strides that Egypt made in combating climate change.

He noted that this strategy presents Egypt's view on how to deal with the issue of climate change, especially as the country is poised to host the UN Climate Change Conference 2022, COP27, slated to take place in November in Sharm El Sheikh.

Major General Hisham Amna, Minister of Local Development, participated in the activities of the First Arab Conference on Climate and Sustainable Development.

During his speech, the Minister of Local Development expressed his appreciation to the Arab Court of Arbitration and the Council of Arab Economic Unity, for holding this important conference, especially as it is less than 50 days away from Egypt’s hosting of the Conference of Parties to Climate Change in Sharm El-Sheikh, to discuss a number of vital issues related to climate and sustainable development, as well as Finding ways to confront the economic and social consequences of climate change on sustainable development.

Major General Hisham Amna pointed out that the Egyptian state has adopted a number of projects and programs for solid waste management based on empowering local administration and supporting governorates in the stages of integrated solid waste management, salient of which is the development of a comprehensive, integrated and sustainable solid waste system since 2019, noting that Work in this system is carried out through a number of axes, including raising the efficiency of collection and transportation operations, raising the efficiency of treatment and disposal processes, expanding the use of modern technologies to treat and recycle waste and converting it into energy, developing monitoring and control processes, raising public environmental awareness, improving behaviors in dealing with waste and creating economic opportunities through waste management projects.

The Minister of Local Development announced the intention of the Ministry of Local Development to launch a number of initiatives and organize a number of events during the climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, noting that they are events and initiatives closely related to the ministry’s vision concerning climate action and the localization of the sustainable development strategy 2030 and the climate change strategy 2050, including: the African Integration Initiative for a waste management system responsive to climate challenges, Sustainable Cities Initiative in Egypt and Africa, a forum for sharing experiences of local development responsive to climate challenges, the initiative to adopt the recommendations of the COP 27 climate conference at the Urban Forum 2024, and the African Cities Conference 2025.

The Minister of Local Development concluded his speech, expressing his great happiness for attending this important conference at this crucial time, stressing the Egyptian state's determination to make every effort to continue working to achieve the goals of the national and international agendas for sustainable development under the patronage of His Excellency President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

Minister of Agriculture El-Sayed El-Quseir delivered a speech at the first Arab Conference for Climate and Sustainable Development.

Minister El-Quseir  said the conference came at a delicate time as far as sustainable development is concerned, adding that food security  is at the heart of this issue, especially in the light of the crises and challenges that face the international community.

El-Quseir  referred to Covid-19 and the current war in Ukraine as some of these crises, saying: “These crises have greatly affected economies across the world by disrupting international trade and affecting supply chains.”

He added that the same crises had reduced productivity in the agricultural sector, raised the prices of goods and caused shortages in some countries, noting that these conditions limited countries’ abilities to provide sufficient food for their peoples.

He stressed that funds alone are not sufficient to achieve food security for peoples, describing climate change as the ‘decisive issue’ of the present time.

The minister said “The global effects of climate change are wide-ranging and unprecedented in terms of scale,” adding that climate change is increasing the ferocity of wild weather in many areas and the melting of polar ice caps and rising sea levels, which would cause  an increase in drought severity, desertification and soil deterioration and a decrease in rains.

The minister highlighted that that climate change is also leading to a significant change in agricultural and food systems.

He also asserted that Egypt has called on governments and development partners to endorse its stance for countries and global institutions to provide adequate funding to face the effects of climate change as well as mitigation and adaptation programmes.

El-Quseir concluded his speech by recommending that governments encourage the private sector to inject investments to support adaptation and mitigation projects by introducing incentives and tax concessions.

He also highlighted the importance of supporting the legislations backing adaptation and mitigation measures in the face of climate change and taking comprehensive measures to reduce emissions and achieve sustainable development goals.

The Egyptian minister also called for establishing a “carbon platform” to help local communities boost their capabilities to engage in establishing agricultural systems that are more resilient and sustainable, especially in the climate-vulnerable regions.

El-Quseir also urged establishing early warning systems locally and regionally that enable farmers and others to take proactive measures amid the accelerating pace of climate change.

The minister affirmed the need for large industrial countries to fulfill their climate commitments within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the 2015 Paris Agreement, and the Kyoto Protocol.

He added saying: “Egypt’s hosting of COP27 creates an unprecedented opportunity for member countries to expand their efforts aiming at implementing the climate related measures and solutions that address water scarcity, energy, and food systems.”

Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine ElQabbaj delivered a speech at the first Arab Conference for Climate and Sustainable Development.
She said that Egypt is committed to the 2015 Paris Accords, which obligated countries to develop plans to reduce emissions. She also noted that today’s conference comes within the framework of the existing partnership between the various concerned parties to implement Egypt’s 2030 Vision for Sustainable Development, especially in the context of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s declaration that 2022 is the Year of Civil Society and the launch of the National Strategy for Volunteering.

Furthermore, the minister explained that the Ministry of Social Solidarity is working on a strong and effective presence of civil society and volunteers at the upcoming UN Conference of Parties on Climate (COP27) that will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh this November and presenting an image that reflects the reality of the great efforts of Egyptian NGOs that aim provide means of protection from economic, social, and environmental risks and providing a decent life for the most vulnerable groups.

Additionally, El-Qabbaj stated that her ministry is working to implement the National Strategy to Combat Climate Change by contributing to achieving the second goal of the strategy, which aims for building resilience and adaptability to climate change and mitigating the associated negative effects.

The ministry has also adopted various policies and programmes over the past years to alleviate multidimensional poverty, including the environmental, cultural, and food security dimensions.

Moreover, El-Qabbaj confirmed that the ministry has counted workers in the irregular employment sectors — including waste workers — and established an integrated database in cooperation with NGOs working in the field of the environment in coordination with the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Manpower and has facilitated insurance procedures for workers in the integrated waste management system and other environmental projects.

 El-Qabbaj said that social solidarity ministry is keen to ensure a strong and effective participation by civil society groups and volunteers at COP27, adding that the ministry is also keen to introduce a true image that showcases the great efforts of civil society in Egypt to provide all forms of protection to needy societal categories against economic, social, and environmental threats.

El-Qabbaj pointed out that the ministry is also planning to organise a day for civil society on the sidelines of COP27 to highlight the role and success stories of civil society in the field of climate change mitigation, taking into account the global, regional and local dimensions at all levels, noting that up to 1,000 volunteers will participate in COP27.

Conference Recommendations

The first Arab Conference on Climate and Sustainable Development (Green is Life) announced a number of recommendations at the conclusion of its activities:

- Praising the country's drive towards using green hydrogen as a non-polluting energy source and as an alternative to fossil fuels.

- Preparing the agricultural plan that is compatible with climatic changes, anticipating the expected changes to the agricultural map and benefiting from agricultural waste, working on research aimed at using food, biological or industrial components, and recycling agricultural waste.

- Building societies in accordance with the concept of green transformation and increasing the green area in it, monitoring carbon intensity to rationalize industrial energy consumption, encouraging the transformation of university societies into green societies, free of carbon emissions, combating climate change, and benefiting from the model of the London School of Economics and Political Science, which has become the first UK university to be independently verified as carbon neutral.

- Stimulating innovative efforts for cost-saving green technologies and increasing production, because of their positive impact on commercial competitiveness, as well as limiting the use of traditional means of transportation and expanding the use of modern electric means of transportation, in addition to enhancing the role of the media in facing climate changes and their political, economic and social repercussions.


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