A draft bill centering on climate neutrality was submitted by MP Amira Saber Qandil to the Egyptian Parliament days ahead of the COP27 climate conference.
Titled “Climate Adaptation and Reducing the Impact of Climate Change,” the bill — if passed — would mark the first comprehensive and standalone legislation across the Middle East and North Africa that centers around binding climate neutrality.
“In Egyptian legislation, I couldn’t find any legal framework or clause that addressed climate change,” Qandil tells Egyptian Streets. “That was the core of the issue. We saw a lot of developing African nations who had clear-cut legislation on climate change but we had [yet to] have any.”
“This bill orbits specific interventions in the industrial and economic sectors, as well as for the general public [to inspire climate action],” Qandil goes on to say, arguing that this bill is also intended to keep climate change “top of mind” across industries and populations.
The bill aims to obligate the government, by law, to ensure climate neutrality in all sectors of the economy. Thus, governmental bodies will have to engage in dialogues with marginalized, impacted communities, carry out prolific climate monitoring research, allocate funds to climate action at 5 percent annually, and set other mitigating measures such as a carbon tax and private jet ban.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, private entities will have to perform baseline and annual carbon footprint studies, perform climate due diligence prior to launching new projects, apply easy-to-read climate labels to all goods, and refrain from giving away free plastic bags to customers.
“The significance of this is because Egypt is now hosting COP27 […] which gives us a better platform to implement strategy and influence stakeholders,” expresses Qandil. “The fact that 60 co-sponsors within the House of Representatives have expressed interest in voting for the bill, makes this the perfect opportunity to fill in legal blanks as the world’s attention remains on us for COP.”
This bill will pose a great precedent for countries in the region to develop and execute their own nationally-owned legal obligations towards the environment.