Sameh Shoukry, president of the COP27 climate summit, speaks at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. AP
Shoukry made his remarks Sunday while addressing the opening ceremony of the COP27 conference, which is being held in the Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh 6-18 November.
Shoukry called for moving from negotiations and pledges to implementation, offering assurances that such a step is a priority at COP27. Another priority is accelerating the implementation of work programmes agreed upon under the framework of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), he added.
Shoukry also underscored the necessity of non-state actors – including the private sector, banks, international finance institutions, civil society, youth associations, indigenous associations and others – participating in climate action if it is to be effective.
The NDCs, which detail each country’s domestic measures to adapt to and mitigate climate change, revealed that the current level of ambition is not up to the goals of the Paris Agreement, Shoukry warned.
He highlighted the climate disasters that have impacted several areas worldwide, including Pakistan, Africa, Europe and America.
“All these events and their destruction and impacts represent a lesson to be learned and… invite us to… act quickly to take all necessary measures as per our commitments and pledges.”
He also highlighted several obstacles, saying “climate change-related efforts over the past decades were remarkably polarised, which has slowed down progress of the negotiations… and the current mobilisation efforts have raised many concerns that the $100 billion-a-year pledge has not yet been honoured.”
“Also, the currently available financing focuses on curbing emissions, not adaptation efforts. Also, most of the financing is based on loans,” he pointed out.
He called to shift the world’s current approach in dealing with the existential threat posed by climate change.
“We have to work diligently and honestly and listen to one another and to the concerns of other parties and understand them. We also have to work to reach consensual solutions that can be implemented,” Shoukry said.
The conference is being held this year amid geopolitical tensions that has left a “deep impact on all countries” especially on their energy and food supplies, Shoukry said, referring to the Russia-Ukraine war.
However, humanity still has a chance to overcome this challenge if countries have the political will to work together, Shoukry said, citing the development currently taking place in the renewable energy sector.
He also cited other ongoing efforts that can help overcome the climate threat, including the development of adaptation technologies and the contributions of civil society, among others.
“The contributions of civil society has also increased. Think tanks have been mobilised, women have been mobilised. Local governments as well have all been mobilised,” he said
“This proves that we still have a chance to overcome this threat that jeopardises the lives of millions all over Earth,” he added.
Shoukry concluded his speech by calling on all countries to listen carefully and commit to turning commitments into implementation.
“The implementation and the effects of our work will affect the lives and livelihoods of millions of people around the world who have been suffering the impacts of climate change so we cannot afford any negatives or shortcomings,” he said.
“I am very aware that you know the magnitude of challenge and that you will have the will to work to combat it effectively. Let us implement together for the sake of humanity and our planet.”