CAIRO, 11th October, 2022 (WAM) -- Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment of Egypt and Ministerial Coordinator and Envoy for the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), said that COP27 and the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28) will embody the pioneering roles of Egypt and UAE in driving the process of sustainable development and climate action.
She described COP27, which will be held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in November, as a comprehensive edition of the event while highlighting her appreciation for the overall relations between Egypt and the UAE.
In an exclusive interview with the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Fouad said that the two countries must now support the international climate action efforts, noting the significance of the hosting of COP27 in Egypt and COP28 in the UAE.
Below is the following interview:
Q: How did Egypt prepared for hosting COP27?
A: Egypt's hosting of COP27 is being prioritised by the country and its political leadership.
Following the announcement of Egypt's hosting of the major international event in November 2021, a higher committee was established, headed by Mostafa Madbouly, Prime Minister of Egypt, with a membership of government ministers.
Three sub-committees were also formed to oversee technical and political matters related to the event, and a timeline was set in coordination with the United Nations. A total of 15 ministries are participating in the country's preparations for the event, including the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Ministry of Social Solidarity, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, South Sinai Governorate, Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy, Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, the Ministry of International Cooperation and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The preparations for COP27 include transforming Sharm El Sheikh into Egypt's first green city by updating relevant systems and establishing new renewable energy plants to power conference halls, hotels and transportation with clean energy, as well as increasing the capacity of Sharm El Sheikh Airport by constructing a new solar energy plant.
The arrangements also include the launch of a green tourism system and promoting sustainable practices, which include re-using water for agriculture and parks, among other uses, increasing the renewable energy capacity of all hotels and boosting their internet capacity, as well as applying integrated waste management solutions through the alliance between BEEAH Group and Green Planet, Egypt's emerging environmental services company, to deliver a landmark ten-year contract in Sharm El Sheikh.
BEEAH Group and Green Planet will implement future-ready waste management strategies that align with Egypt's sustainability agenda, such as deploying world-class waste management infrastructure, streamlined waste collection solutions and recycling services. They aim to set a new standard for operational efficiency while meeting waste management demand.
Q: How important is COP27, especially amid current geopolitical developments and worsening climate change?
A: In 2022, we are facing many challenges, including the economic crisis and energy and food shortages, which require further action to ensure that all parties meet their obligation pledges at COP26, most notably those related to ways of adapting to climate change.
The Egyptian government announced the theme of COP27 as "Implementation Conference," but implementation does not only mean financial pledges; but also the actual implementation of policies for the planet's interest.
Q: What is the concept of 'Implementation Conference'?
A: When we say "Implementation Conference," we mean that we can offer solutions. For example, the world is currently addressing the issue of energy security. The conference is about the gradual transformation to clean and renewable energy, which requires new technologies that will enable developing countries to transit to new and renewable energy, as well as draft plans that will enable them to achieve this transition.
These challenges could create new opportunities for the international community to unite again in facing common challenges. The Egyptian government will make all humanitarian needs and related implementation procedures available at COP27.
The conference will be divided into three parts. The first part is about monitoring negotiations and recommendations. A special part has also been allocated to the Egyptian presidency programme, which involves high-priority humanitarian topics called "Conference Days" covering agriculture, adaptations, energy, water, biodiversity, women, civil society and the youth.
The conference's activities will involve several international initiatives that will include the "Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative," a global early warning system, biodiversity and marine life project, and how to protect maritime species, the "Waste Segregation in Africa Initiative," and the goal to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050.
The third part of the conference will be dedicated to inclusion and is not only limited to governments, as the world is witnessing environmental disasters that do not differentiate between developed and developing countries. The green zone will witness activities similar to the official events.
Q: What is the vision of the Egyptian state about the global role of the youth?
A: Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of Egypt, has launched several relevant initiatives, most notably the World Youth Forum, as the youth are key to achieving the development process. This Forum dedicated a session for the youth and their climate action vision.
During COP27, a youth conference will be held prior to the official launch of the event, which will present their ideas related to implementation.
A working group was also established to discuss the conference's activities, which has been holding workshops since January. The last part of the conference will be dedicated to youth experiences on "Solutions Day" on 17th November.
There are many national initiatives to help young people engage in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working in the area of environmental protection, including transforming agricultural waste to biogas targeting 60 million Egyptians and riding bikes instead of vehicles to reduce emissions.
Q: What do you think about the partnership between the UAE and Egypt in hosting COP27 and COP28?
A: We are proud of the partnership between Egypt and the UAE, which extends further to just organising climate conferences. We believe that COP28 is the continuation of COP27, and the hosting of both events by Arab countries sends a strong message to the world. We hope that COP27 will generate recommendations that will help implement stricter resolutions related to adapting and financing climate action.
Q: What are your expectations for the climate action stature of Egypt and the UAE after COP27 and COP28?
A: I believe that hosting COP27 in Egypt and COP28 in the UAE will enable the two countries as part of the Arab Group, and I am proud to head the Arab Group at the Arab League in charge of climate events at a ministerial level, which will support the strategic role played by the Arab Group in the climate change activities, not only in terms of negotiations or whatever concerns Arab and developing countries but also in terms of creating new investment partnerships with the private sector.
Finally, COP27 and COP28 will continue the pioneering role of Egypt and the UAE in driving the process of environmentally-friendly sustainable development.