COP27 food, water & energy focus; digitalisation call

The 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), held in November in Sharm El-Sheikh, prioritises discussions on food, water and energy, Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Egypt, said on Sunday.

The 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), held in November in Sharm El-Sheikh, prioritises discussions on food, water and energy, Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Egypt, said on Sunday.

In a webinar hosted by Ain Shams University, Mohieldin said food, water and energy are essential for human life and have been affected negatively by global warming and climate change.

The webinar discussed the impact of climate change on food production in dry areas. University president Mahmoud El-Meteni joined a host of academics, professors and scientific researchers from inside and outside Egypt.

The climate crisis, COVID-19 and rising geopolitical tensions, especially in Ukraine, have amplified poverty rates and added to the global food crisis, and also led to a big increase in the number of people who suffer from food insecurity and a lack of water and energy all around the world, he explained.

COP27 provides many opportunities

Mohieldin called for activating digitalisation in agriculture, water and energy. Ideally, it will widely benefit from new technologies to achieve sufficiency in these vital areas. He added that development and climate action are overstuffed with pledges and agreements. Fulfilling them has become doubtful over time, especially with the accumulation of crises.

For this reason, he said, the Egyptian presidency of COP27 prioritises turning these pledges into actual and immediate action. Those actions should align with the Paris agreement and the 2030 sustainable development agenda.

“Implementing climate projects continuously needs updated databases and scientific research. It highlights the importance of the role universities and scientific research centres can play in developing and climate action,” he explained.

The climate champion stressed that the holistic approach in dealing with all aspects of sustainable development is obligatory. Confining development action to climate projects and confining climate action into decarbonisation harms sustainable development tracks in many countries.

“COP27 focuses on the holistic approach where climate action includes mitigation, adaptation, dealing with losses and damages, and financing climate projects,” Mohieldin said.

COP27 projects in the cards

The previous COPs focused on the international effort to curb climate change. He said that the Sharm El-Sheikh conference would focus on regional and local dimensions of climate action. They effectively add to the international effort to achieve climate goals.

Regarding the regional dimension of climate action, Mohieldin mentioned the five major regional roundtables initiatives, saying that three have already been done in the last few weeks and resulted in 39 investable development and climate projects in Africa and Asia. 20 to 25 projects are expected to be announced after the LAC roundtable, which will be held on 1-2 September.

“Egypt has launched the green smart projects initiative to pick the best development projects from all governorates. They will go with the Paris agreement and make the maximum benefit from digitalisation,” Mohieldin said.

Eighteen projects across Egypt will be selected to be showcased during COP27.

Egypt, as it hosts one of the most important and biggest conferences in the world, presents model initiatives and programs of regional and local development and climate action to the whole world, he added.

Financing climate action at COP27

Mohieldin also said that COP27 will focus on financing climate action and will push towards fulfilling previous COP pledges, especially the annual $100 billion pledged by the Copenhagen conference to fund climate projects in developing countries.

He said that the Egyptian presidency of the conference also gives high importance to discussing post-2025 financing climate action.

“Ways of financing climate action should be widened to include investments according to international criteria to avoid greenwashing. It should also enhance private sector participation by highlighting the great investment opportunities in climate action, especially in developing countries. There are also opportunities to activate innovative finance mechanisms such as green and blue bonds and debt swaps. There are opportunities to link states’ public budgets to development activities. Hopefully, it will lead to the establishment of carbon markets that suit priorities and situations of developing countries and emerging market economies,” Mohieldin explained.

He called for widely adopting the IDA criteria for financing development action. Countries are given extended repayment periods with reduced interests.

He also expressed hope that middle-income countries would benefit from IDA alongside low-income countries.

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