Wed, 22 Sep 2021 - 04:09 GMT
CAIRO – 22 September 2021: Egypt’s Ministers of International Cooperation and Environment Rania Al-Mashat and Yasmine Fouad launched national consultations with the World Bank Group (WBG) to discuss the general framework for climate action and the preparations for the climate and development report for Egypt.
The meeting took place in the presence of Al-Sayed Al-Quseir, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation; Ayat Soliman, Regional Director of the World Bank Group's Sustainable Development Department for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region; and Marina Wes, Regional Director of the World Bank office in Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti.
The meeting witnessed the participation of representatives of many ministries and stakeholders, including ministries of trade, industry, transport, petroleum and mineral resources, irrigation, local development, planning and economic development, agriculture, housing, health, electricity; along with representatives from the Agricultural Research Center (ARC), the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), and several other national institutions.
Al-Mashat stated that the World Bank Group is one of Egypt’s strategic development partners, noting that the current consultations involving line ministries and stakeholders aim to identify the government's priorities with regard to preparing the climate and development report for Egypt. The report aims to identify the national mechanisms for assessing the effects of climate change on the economy and monitoring the steps taken to adapt to it in order to enable the government to evaluate and follow up these efforts in cooperation with the WBG.
The Minister of International Cooperation elaborated that multi-stakeholder consultations are necessary to prepare the aforementioned report, especially since climate change has cast a shadow on various development sectors, namely agriculture.
Al-Mashat noted that a national committee will be convened to encompass line ministries and stakeholders to resume discussions on the priority sectors that the report shall focus on.
Minister Al-Mashat praised the successful partnership between Egypt and the World Bank Group, which supports national efforts to achieve development in many areas, including transport, housing, utilities, environment, health, among many others. The Minister highlighted the value of the development financing agreements signed with the WBG in 2020, which amounts to $1.5 billion. These agreements testify to the Ministry of International Cooperation’s efforts to consolidate economic relations with multilateral and bilateral development partners to support Egypt’s Vision 2030 and accelerate the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, welcomed the esteemed participants and stressed that Egypt is keen on taking active steps and applying stringent measures in addressing climate change, which include the reconfiguration of the National Council for Climate to become led by Mostafa Madbouly, Egypt’s Prime Minister, and to encompass other economic sectors in an attempt to make climate action an integral part of the development sectors.
Fouad added that the Ministry of Environment is currently preparing to launch the National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction with the support of state ministries and the Green Climate Fund, which aims to attract investments to engage the private sector in climate action plans.
The Minister of Environment added that curating a climate action plan with the WBG will entail the recognition of the national priorities and the gaps in linking climate change to the economy, whereby the impact of climate change on economic sectors could be determined and the government could take the appropriate measures through policy making and allocating financial resources to different projects.
Fouad emphasized the need to include the viewpoints of different ministries on this issue through the technical working group representing the ministries and other stakeholders to craft a framework in preparation for the WBG report to come up with a national document that supports the Egyptian Government’s vision in a more articulated and detailed manner.
Fouad indicated that the members of the technical working group in the National Council are working to unify and harmonize the visions of the ministries, while the collaboration with the WBG will be streamlined through the Ministry of International Cooperation to ensure that that this study will cover all sectors on the level of climate change and disaster risk reduction.
The Minister of Environment explained that this study will work on examining the effects of climate change on the economy so as to define the most affected sectors; this comes following rigorous scientific research to determine the needs of the Bank and the actual cost of relevant projects. In light of this, the agricultural sector has been identified as one of the priority sectors that was not given due attention like the energy sector.
Al-Sayed Al-Quseir, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation said that the agricultural sector is the most affected by climate change and its harmful effects, pointing out the need to determine the magnitude of the challenges facing each sector and the expected effects of climate change before laying down priorities.
Al-Quseir remarked that the agricultural sector’s components, including soil, water and climate, are closely linked to climate change, which reveals the extent to which agriculture is altogether severely affected.
He shed light on the Egyptian government's active steps to tackle these changes, ascribing special importance to the role of the international community and international institutions in providing support to all countries with regards to climate change, given that the affected countries are the least contributing to harmful emissions.
The Minister of Agriculture added that climate change disrupts agricultural seasons and affects the rate of crop productivity and the spread of pests and plant diseases, which may contribute to an increase in production costs, soil salinity, and evaporation rates, thus increasing the needed quantities of water and changing the composition of crops.
Al-Quseir explained that Egypt attaches great importance to the issue of climate change and has since begun to set its priorities, including focusing on improving value chains and reducing losses and crop waste by establishing silos and cold storages, and paying attention to agricultural industrialization and digital transformation.
Ayat Soliman, Regional Director of the World Bank Group's Sustainable Development Department for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, expressed her content to launch these consultations with the participation of all state ministries and stakeholders in order to enhance the process of collecting the data required for the issuance of the report. Soliman stressed the importance of consultation and discussion with various sectors to highlight the opportunities to catalyze climate investments in response to climate change across all development sectors. Soliman also noted that climate change poses a threat to all countries, which requires collective effort by all stakeholders to advance Egypt's sustainable development plan, including combating climate change.
Marina Wes, Regional Director of the World Bank office in Egypt, Yemen, and Djibouti, thanked the Egyptian government for collaborating in curbing the repercussions of climate change, noting that the World Bank Group seeks to support national efforts in terms of climate action, given the importance of these initiatives to enhance national and regional development efforts led by Egypt.
The ongoing development cooperation portfolio between the Ministry of International Cooperation and the World Bank Group includes 17 projects worth $5.8 billion to support various sectors, including education, health, transportation, social solidarity, petroleum, housing, sanitation, local development and the environment.