President Sisi calls for intensifying int'l efforts to protect seas, oceans from climate change

Mohamed Soliman , Friday 11 Feb 2022

Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi called on Friday in his speech to the One Ocean Summit in the French port city of Brest for intensifying international efforts to protect the seas and oceans from negative effects resulting from climate change.

Sisi at Brest
Egypt' President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi delivers a speech during the Hight Level Segment session of the One Ocean Summit, which seeks to raise the international community's ambitions to protect sealife, cut plastic pollution and tackle the impact of climate change, in the northwestern France port city of Brest on February 11, 2022. AFP

"The international efforts to overcome these effects on the seas and oceans are still not up to the hoped-for level at the present, El-Sisi said in his speech during the high level segment session of the summit, which is taking place in Brest in northwestern France on the Atlantic coast from 9-11 February.

Earlier today, El-Sisi was welcomed by French President Emannuel Macron ahead of attending the summit, which aims to mobilise the world to take action to save the planet's oceans.

El-Sisi's participation in the Brest summit comes in response to the invitation of President Macron in light of Egypt’s vital regional and international role within the framework of efforts seeking to confront climate change and protect the marine environment, according to the Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady.

El-Sisi told the summit that Egypt would seek during its presidency of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), which is slated to take place in November 2022 in the Egyptian Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh, to urge the world to preserve the sustainability and the diversity of marine life.

The COP27, El-Sisi stressed, will witness a constructive dialogue on this issue, with the aim of producing ambitious results and developing initiatives that build on the outcomes of the Third United Nations Ocean Conference, which will be hosted by Portugal in June.

The Sharm El-Sheikh conference aims to formulate actions to mitigate the consequences of climate change on the seas and oceans, and to mobilise the financing that developing countries, and African countries in particular, need to carry out this effort, the Egyptian president noted.

Egyptian steps

El-Sisi also announced that Egypt has joined the declaration and initiatives coming out of the Brest summit, including the "Protecting the Ocean: A Time for Action" declaration and the "Global Ocean Alliance” and the “High Ambitious Alliance of For Nature and People” initiatives.

Egypt aspires to work within the framework of these crucial initiatives with all parties to ensure that they achieve the desired results, he assured.

The oceans have absorbed more than 90 percent of the heat caused by global warming since 1970s, contributing to raising its acidity, decreasing oxygen percentage and thus deteriorating marine life, he added.

El-Sisi also underlined how climate change ramifications pose a "constant" threat by raising the level of seas and oceans of coastal areas in many countries of the world.

Since seas and oceans constitute 70 percent of the earth, they contribute to the movement of international trade and navigation and play an important role as a major source of food and natural resources and a catalyst for economic activity of entire societies and countries, he noted.

Egypt, due to its location along the Mediterranean and Red Seas, understands the importance of the seas. The country's Suez Canal is one of the most significant waterways in the world, El-Sisi said.

For a long time, Egypt has took part in outlining the legal frameworks and regulating the economic activity related to seas and oceans in order to ensure the sustainability of marine resources and protect them from all kinds of pollution, the president said.

Egypt, he added, is seeking to become a hub for renewable energy, including expanding the production of green hydrogen to reduce the emissions from the maritime shipping sector.

At the international level, Egypt, during its presidency to the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, pushed to launch a negotiation track for setting new goals to protecting the environment, especially the seas and oceans, El-Sisi said.

"A sustainable blue economy"

The One Ocean Summit is being held in the context of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, with the support of the United Nations.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry and several other African and European leaders attended the event in person. Others were to take part via video messages.

"The goal of the One Ocean Summit is to raise the collective level of ambition of the international community on marine issues and to translate our shared responsibility to the ocean into tangible commitments... and aims to mobilise the international community to take tangible action towards preserving and supporting a healthy and sustainable ocean," according to the summit description.

The high level segment of the One Ocean Summit brought together heads of state and government, leaders of multilateral institutions, business leaders and civil society representatives to make ambitious commitments.

The summit tackled the relationship of seas and oceans to efforts to confront climate change, as well as supporting and mobilising funding for the concept of a "sustainable blue economy."

Egypt has embarked on a Sustainable Development Startegy – Vision 2030, which places a priority on the transition to a green economy and protecting its marine ecosystem as part of the country's efforts to confront climate change. 

The president’s agenda in France also includes holding summit talks with French President Macron on ways of fostering closer bilateral relations, which have seen significant progress over the past years, realising the two countries’ and their peoples’ common interests.

El-Sisi and Macron will discuss furthering consultations and coordination on a multitude of regional and international dossiers of mutual concern.

The Egyptian president is set to meet heads of state and government on the sideline of the summit to discuss means of bolstering bilateral cooperation frameworks and exchanging views on various regional and international issues.

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