As the threats of climate change mount, countries around the world are becoming aware of the challenges to prevent further damage to the environment. In fact, the international political arena has been aware of an impending climate catastrophe since the Earth Summit of 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Earth Summit laid the groundwork for countries to convene each year and monitor their progress in preventing climate change otherwise known as the United Nations Conference of Parties (UNCOP).
The COP is a cornerstone event in introducing new international legislatures to battle climate change. It has birthed the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and the Paris Agreement of 2015. Every COP comes with its own vision and purpose, adding to its predecessors.
Egypt aims to add further as the host of the 27th iteration of the event: COP27.
On 10 November 2021, it was announced that Egypt would host COP27 in 2022, marking Egypt’s intent to support the race against climate change. The event will be held in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh.
While the world awaits what Egypt’s COP27 has to offer, Egypt’s preparations for the event provide a window into understanding what it has to offer.
Egypt’s COP27 looks towards a “United Africa”
Egypt’s event is hosted on behalf of Africa, as it aims to highlight innovative solutions that will help close the gap this decade.
Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents in the world when it comes to the adverse effects of climate change. A famous case of the adverse effects of climate change on Africa is the shrinkage of Lake Chad over the years – shrinking by 90% since the 1960s.
Egypt’s COP27 aims to serve as a representation of Africa’s role in battling the dangers.
“We must seek to rebalance. Egypt is cooperating with African countries to play a role in Global Climate Action and to draw upon pan-African experiences to reshape the global conversation on Africa. The upcoming COP27 will build upon previous success of the African Continent Priorities,” Egypt emphasized in its proposal.
Preparing Alongside Multilateral Actors
On 25 March, during the ‘Making Sustainable Cities’ La Fabrique event at the French Institute in Egypt, France’s ambassador to Egypt Marc Barety highlighted the role of allied countries in preparing the event with Egypt.
“It’s a topic of worry for all of us, and a topic of concern for us parents of children. The reduction of water resources, the reduction in food resources, the impact on health, and the reduction of animal and floral biodiversity – [the GIEC] report is a new alarm while our house is burning [the Earth] while we are looking elsewhere,” he stated.
“In November 2022, the COP27 will be at Sharm El-Sheikh and will be a new opportunity to put in place a resilient development for climate change with the help of energetic transitions, better management of water, and the preservation of natural spaces,” Barety added.
The event, which was conducted by the French Embassy, The French Institute in Egypt, and Centre D’études Et De Documentation Économiques (CEDEJ), is just one example of foreign bodies aiding Egypt in its preparations.
On 7 March, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry, met with Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund, Yannick Glemarec, to discuss its role in the upcoming event. And, on 27 February, the American Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, visited Egypt to launch the US-Egypt climate-working group to advance each party’s goals ahead of COP27.
The Ministry of Environment’s Four-Axis Plan in Sharm El-Sheikh
Egypt’s Minister of Environment, Yasmine Fouad, announced on 1 January that the Ministry’s four-axis plan to prepare Sharm El-Sheikh for the upcoming COP27.
During her speech at the French Institute’s ‘Making Sustainable Cities’ event, Fouad remarked that “[Egypt’s] journey and transition towards green will be applied in Sharm El-Sheikh. A wonderful city that not only has wonderful scenery, but also has all the components of environmental cities: the sea, the sun, the land, the resorts, and the local community.”
Dubbed as Egypt’s ‘City of Peace’ for its track record of hosting treaties and conventions, Sharm El-Sheikh serves as Egypt’s sustainable city – the location in which COP27 can create positive changes towards climate change.
The first axis is in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities as it focuses on raising the efficiency and quality of hotels and touristic services in the city. The recent renovations of Sharm’s state-of-the-art International Conference Center will play a key role in hosting the large numbers invited to the event.
The second axis aims to provide eco-friendly transportation, ensuring bus transportation will be electric. Meanwhile, the third axis plans to raise the electrical capacity of the conference hall.
The fourth axis is concerned with the city’s waste system in terms of logistics, collection, treatment of waste, and recycling.
“Egypt takes it upon itself to make every effort to achieve success in COP27 in facing this challenge that threatens the whole world, and will spare no effort to make COP27 hospitable and constructive for all,” Fouad remarked.
As Egypt’s proposal puts it, “momentum is building, yet the commitment and action gap are still significant.”
Time will prove – come November – if Egypt’s preparations for hosting COP27 will help in decreasing that gap.