Shoukry, Kerry launch US-Egypt climate working group ahead of COP27

Ahram Online , Monday 21 Feb 2022

Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry announced on Monday the launch of a US-Egypt climate working group during a joint press conference following their talks in Cairo.

Shoukry, Kerry
Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry announced during a press conference on Monday 21 February the launch of US-Egypt Climate Working Group to prepare for the upcoming UN’s Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP27) (Photo: Egypt's foreign ministry)

The group is a joint endeavour to advance bilateral and multilateral climate goals ahead of the upcoming UN’s Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP27) that will be held in November in the Egyptian Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh.

During the presser, Shoukry —the COP27 president-designate — said that he and Kerry agreed during their meeting on continuing coordination between Egypt and the US on climate related issues of mutual interest.

“The US plays a pivotal role with regard to the global efforts to address climate change, not only because it is the biggest exporter of emissions but given its major role in leading developed countries’ efforts to support developing countries in handling the global phenomenon,” he added.

Egypt, Shoukry stressed, is also keen to empower youths and civil society organisations working in climate change given the “important” role they play in such a field.

Furthermore, the FM announced during his recent participation in the Munich Security Conference that Egypt will be organising its first youth forum on climate change as part of the country’s preparations to host the COP27, affirming that addressing climate change is not the sole responsibility of governments but also that of civil society organisations and the private sector.

In terms of bilateral relations, Egypt’s top diplomat said his meeting with the US envoy touched upon work areas of common concern, including renewable energy, underlining the North African country’s efforts in this respect.

“Egypt possesses promising potentials, which enable it to become an energy hub, particularly with regard to green hydrogen and solar and wind energy,” the Egyptian minister asserted.

Furthermore, Shoukry said that US companies can take advantage of investment opportunities in the Suez Canal Economic Zone in addition to discussing other work areas in which Egypt aspires to intensify cooperation with the US.

Kerry arrived in Egypt on Sunday for a two-day visit to meet a handful of Egyptian officials and business representatives to urge continued and increased climate ambition and to launch the inaugural meeting of the US-Egypt Climate Working Group.

Kerry’s visit reflects the extended relations between Egypt and the US, the converged views in many fields, and the ongoing dialogue on all issues of common interest, Shoukry said.

Egypt looks forward to intensifying communication with the US to reflect the depth of relations between the two nations that are celebrating this year the 100th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations with one another.

Additionally, Kerry expressed his confidence in Egypt’s hosting of the COP27, saying that “Egypt has already taken many steps and is setting really ambitious [climate] goals.”

“Today, we announced a joint working group with one goal: Working on the upcoming climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh and to work directly to support the transition of the Egyptian state into clean energy and new means of energy,” he added.

“Climate change is an international security threat to all of us, so we have to continue our work every day, and this is what brought me to Egypt at this moment.”

Following the COP26 that was held in Glasgow in November 2021, up to 65 countries joined the goal of limiting the global average temperature increase to under 1.5 degrees Celsius as per the Paris Climate Accords.

“Our goal this year — in addition to fulfilling all promises made in Glasgow — is to include more countries to the 1.5 degree-efforts,” he said.

The US envoy also urged for additional and faster efforts amid the acceleration of the climate change phenomena, including the melting of ice in the southern and northern poles and the rising sea level.

“This is an existential threat to all of us, meaning it is a matter of life or death, so we have to act every day, and this is the goal of the US-Egypt working group — to improve jobs, health, security, and safety,” he concluded.

Kerry is expected to speak today at the American University in Cairo on the future of international climate action in the leadup to the COP27.

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