Enhancing role of entrepreneurs, think tanks important for climate solutions: Egypt’s climate champion

Ahram Online , Wednesday 26 Oct 2022

Mahmoud Mohieldin, the UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, stressed the importance of the role played by non-state actors in providing solutions for advancing climate action.

 Mahmoud Mohieldin
The UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt, Mahmoud Mohieldin


Mohieldin said that these actors include the business sector, entrepreneurs, investors and research centres.

During his virtual participation in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) session on market-driven solutions for climate transition on Tuesday, the climate champion explained that there is a lack of trust and an excess of crises, which requires adopting a more holistic approach that does not reduce climate action to decarbonisation, but rather links climate goals with sustainable development plans.

On the other hand, the climate champion pointed out that the world today is different from what it was in 2015 when the Paris Agreement, given the consequences of the pandemic and geopolitical changes.

Mohieldin added that the Russian-Ukrainian crisis has prompted many countries to invest and diversify energy sources, and praised the progress made by many developing economies, including African ones, in terms of solar and wind energy, along with the many important steps being taken in the area of green hydrogen.

Regarding the Copenhagen pledge to provide $100 billion annually to support climate action in developing countries, Mohieldin re-stressed that this amount meets only 3 percent of the climate action needs in those countries.

Thirteen years ago at Copenhagen’s COP15, advanced economies pledged $100 billion to help developing economies meet climate action goals. The pledge was endorsed by 2015’s Paris Agreement and a year later entered into force, with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

During his speech on Tuesday, Mohieldin stressed the need to mobilise more funding from the private sector, provided that this funding is accompanied by providing the necessary technology and a behaviour change.

Mohieldin also noted the need to strengthen the regional dimension in order to provide the necessary solutions for the climate crisis through partnerships with many research centres, think tanks and growing universities.

In the same context, the climate champion explained the importance of localizing climate action so that everyone feels the fruits of this work on the ground.

Mohieldin concluded his speech by emphasizing that work with the Egyptian presidency of the climate summit begins with the launch of the climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh and does not end with the summit's convening.

Losses and damages

During his participation in a webinar hosted by the Commonwealth Foundation titled ‘Climate Reparations: What Must COP27 Deliver?’, Mohieldin highlighted the importance of starting immediately to deal with losses and damages resulting from climate change, finding the best ways of estimating these damages, finding scientific solutions for them, and determining how to implement and finance these solutions.

Mohieldin said that COP27 prioritises addressing climate change losses and damages as one of the main dimensions of climate action, explaining that NGOs can play a big role in this field through the estimation of climate change losses and damages in different communities, while universities and research centres can help find the scientific solutions to handle and limit them.

Similarly, Egypt’s foreign minister and President-designate of the COP27 has previously affirmed that Egypt will make the issue of losses and damages key in discussions at November’s climate summit.

For his part, Mohieldin stressed the necessity of involving private sector and international financing entities in financing addressing losses due to climate change.

“COP27 focuses on enhancing the collective regional work through the five regional forums initiative which resulted in dozens of investable and applicable projects, it also focuses on localizing development and climate action by involving all local actors in planning, financing and implementing development and climate projects,” Mohieldin said.

He had earlier explained that that the five regional forums and the resulting projects are translating the Egyptian presidency’s vision for the COP27 into action.

The climate champion added that financing climate action will get a lot of attention in COP27 through discussing innovative finance instruments, debt reduction mechanisms, debt swaps for co-investing in the environment, establishing carbon markets that suit the priorities of developing countries and emerging markets, and managing ESGs according to specific criteria.

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