Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt, speaks at Africa Business Leaders Coalition meeting, within the events of Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan on Monday. Photo courtesy of Mohieldin Media Office
Mohieldin, who is also the UN special envoy on Financing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, made his remarks during the Africa Business Leaders Coalition meeting. The meeting is being held as part of the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan on 5-6 June, which is the largest international gathering of African private sector leaders.
The current edition of the annual forum brings together 1,800 business leaders, investors and policymakers from Africa and around the world to highlight the pivotal role of the private sector in the continent's development.
Mohieldin highlighted Africa's efforts in implementing mechanisms for debt reduction and debt swaps to mobilize investments in nature and climate.
He also mentioned the launch of the African Carbon Markets Initiative, which aims to establish and operate a carbon market, enabling energy transition, emission reductions, adaptation to climate change, and addressing losses and damages caused by it.
Mohieldin highlighted Egypt's National Initiative for Smart Green Projects, which aims to localize climate and development action with participation from all local stakeholders of different capital sizes. It works by identifying six project categories, including large, medium and small projects as well as enhancing community participation through women, youth projects, start-ups and non-profits.
The UN high-level champion stressed the need to adopt a holistic approach in African countries, linking climate action with sustainable development goals as a whole, treating climate finance as development finance, not a substitute.
Mohieldin emphasized the importance of public-private partnerships in financing climate and development action in developing countries.
He stressed that the private sector should participate more in implementing and financing projects, while adhering to criteria for corporate environmental and social practices as recommended by the high-level UN experts' reports.
He pointed out that these UN reports recommend focusing on debt reduction and enhancing private sector participation. They also recommend finding appropriate financing to deal with climate-related losses and damage by activating the Loss and Damage Fund launched during COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Mohieldin said the global financing system needs reform so international financial institutions (IFIs) and multilateral development banks (MDBs) keep pace with today's developments. These reforms, he explained, should give developing countries and emerging markets more space in policy and decision making, better reflecting their priorities and providing fair, sufficient and efficient financing to implement climate and development action.
This includes setting new concessional finance policies allowing middle-income countries to benefit along with low-income countries.
The climate champion said the Five Regional Forums initiative, launched by Egypt’s COP27 presidency last year in cooperation with UN regional economic commissions and high-level champions (HLCs), aim to identify bankable, investable and implementable development climate projects.
The first edition discussed around 400 projects resulting in 120 implementable projects, of which 50 were presented at the Sharm El-Sheikh conference.
He added the second edition of the initiative, organized with participation of UAE's COP28 presidency, aims to connect projects identified in the first edition with various financing and investment entities to start implementing these projects immediately.