Developing countries can only implement climate action by integrating it with SDGs: Mohieldin

Ahram Online , Friday 17 Feb 2023

UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt Mahmoud Mohieldin stressed on Thursday that developing countries and emerging markets can only implement climate action by integrating it with other sustainable development goals (SDGs) within a holistic approach.

Mahmoud Mohieldin
UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin


This came during his participation in a session organised by the Sustainable Development Centre of the American Brookings Institution entitled “The Keys to Climate Action: How Developing Countries Achieve Global Success and Local Prosperity?”

Mohieldin, who is also the UN special envoy on financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, said that achieving climate goals requires working in parallel with combatting poverty, providing job opportunities and providing water and energy sources for all.

This also requires expanding the vision of developed countries with regard to investing in climate and development action to include investment in development and climate projects in developing countries, he said. This is in addition to important files such as just transition and its impact on societies, and finance priorities in different countries, he added.

He explained that the call to strengthen international climate efforts would not be useful without the participation of developed countries in financing and implementing local and regional climate projects.

Mohieldin noted that Egypt, for example, launched initiatives and plans for implementing and financing climate and development action, then presented them to the world at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) held in the Egyptian Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh in November.

Egypt also expressed its readiness to cooperate with international and regional organisations and governments of various countries to transfer this experience to developing countries.

Mohieldin stated that addressing the climate crisis requires adequate and equitable finance, the availability of technology and knowledge exchange, and leadership that drives the effective implementation of climate action.

Leadership on this front is not limited to governments, but also includes business sector, localities and other actors, he explained.

Existing financing for development and climate action is insufficient, inefficient, unfair and unbalanced, he said.

"It is insufficient because climate action needs more than ten times what developed countries pledged at the Copenhagen Climate Conference to finance climate action in developing countries annually and – however – this has not yet been fully met.”

“It is also inefficient given the long period of negotiation between countries and financing institutions, which takes three years or more and unfair because developing countries are forced to borrow to implement climate projects to address a crisis that was not caused by them in the first place.”

“It is unbalanced given the utmost importance of the climate change adaptation process in developing countries, especially in Africa, while the financing allocated for this process does not exceed 15 percent of climate finance in these countries," he explained.

In this regard, Mohieldin pointed to proposals to reduce the cost of borrowing to finance development and climate action in developing countries, which include setting an interest rate not exceeding one percent with long-term repayment and grace periods.

Climate change, Mohieldin pointed out, will have a negative impact on lives and livelihoods, saying that United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently stressed the imperative to halve carbon emissions, redouble efforts to finance adaptation, and strengthen cooperation in dealing with loss and damage resulting from this phenomenon.

Mohieldin highlighted the importance of increasing investment in namely mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage.

He noted that while mitigation financing is acceptable, adaptation still needs more funding; especially as the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda has already identified areas of action that are investable and bankable in the sectors of agriculture and food, water and nature, coasts and oceans, human settlements and infrastructure

The loss and damage caused by climate change can be better dealt with through investments and the implementation of projects that help to reduce them, he added.

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