Prioritising climate-related food, water, energy projects necessary amid rising population: Mohieldin

Ahram Online , Wednesday 7 Sep 2022

UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt Mahmoud Mohieldin stressed on Wednesday the importance of prioritising climate projects in the food, water and energy sectors, as global indicators refer to a high increase in demand in the three fields by 2030 by 35, 40, and 50 percent respectively because of the rising world population.

Mahmoud Mohieldin
UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt Mahmoud Mohieldin attending Egypt-ICF2022 on Wednesday 7 September, 2022. Photo courtesy of Mahmoud Mohieldin Twitter account


This, Mohieldin said, is given that the number of the planet’s inhabitants is expected to reach 8 billion by November – when the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) is set to take place – and 8.5 billion by 2023.

He made the remarks at a roundtable titled ‘Nexus of Water, Food and Energy’ on the first day of the Egypt-International Cooperation Forum (Egypt-ICF 2022), which is being held at the New Administrative Capital from 7-9 September.

The roundtable involved the participation of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait, Minister of the Environment and COP27 Ministerial Coordinator and Envoy Yasmine Fouad, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, and Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Ghada Waly.

Mohieldin noted that half of the expected increase in the Earth’s population will be in eight countries, five of which are African, which adds challenges for developing countries to achieve sustainable development, especially after COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, and more crises that halt development tracks.

Hence, he said, the African continent is in need of effective transition in the sectors of food, water and energy that serve all of its habitants.

"As the UN high level climate champion, I developed eight priorities which I advocate and repeat in any discussion. The Water-Food-Energy nexus is a concept that hits the ‘sweet spot’ for all these five priorities," Mohieldin said, explaining that the first priority is adopting a holistic approach that aims to achieve all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including climate targets.

Moreover, he clarified that this approach should help all people receive food, water and energy equally, and focus on achieving social, environmental and economic development, saying that this approach has become more important than at any time before.

He added that climate action’s second priority is implementation, saying that COP27 will be a conference of action, not more pledges and promises.

The third priority, according to Mohieldin, is to regionalise climate action, mentioning the five major regional roundtable initiatives to finance climate and development action.

The Africa roundtable resulted in 19 development projects, four of them relate to the nexus of food, water and energy, and Asia-Pacific resulted in 20 projects. Mohieldin expects that the Arab world roundtable will result in three related projects.

Mohieldin said that the fourth priority is to enhance the local aspect of climate action, referring to the National Initiative for Smart Green Projects launched by Egypt, in which all local actors compete to register the best, smartest projects that help achieve environmental and climate goals within the framework of a local investment map.

"We will showcase 18 local development and climate projects during COP27, some of them will be food, water and energy projects," he said.

Mohieldin indicated that financing is the fifth priority, explaining that COP27 prioritises mobilising finance and investments for environment and climate projects, pushing towards fulfilling previous financing pledges, especially the $100 billion pledged by the Copenhagen conference, and activating GFANZ to finance climate projects in developing countries.

He added that COP27 will target scaling up private sector participation, finding innovative finance instruments, pushing towards financing climate action through investments without adding a bigger debt burden on developing countries, establishing a carbon market that suits developing countries and emerging market priorities and circumstances, and linking public budgets to development and climate action.

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