‘No more useless promises, pledges and buzzwords:’ Egypt’s UN climate champion on COP27

Ahram Online , Friday 3 Jun 2022

Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN climate change high level champion for Egypt, said on Thursday that the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh in November will focus on the actual implementation of climate projects, rather than making more empty promises.

Mahmoud Mohieldin
File Photo: Egypt s economist Mahmoud Mohieldin, executive director at the International Monetary Fund.


Urging rapid action on implementing climate change projects, Mohieldin said that the "Sharm El-Sheikh conference will be concerned with the implementation of climate projects and no more useless promises, pledges and buzzwords."

"If we want to stay at 1.5 degrees or less of global warming by 2050, then we have to start working on this goal today, not tomorrow," he explained, saying that the delay of climate projects implementation will cause the whole world bigger harm.

Mohieldin made his remarks during a session entitled "Road to COP27: Transitioning to a Green Economy," within the annual Meetings of The Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB) in Sharm El-Sheikh

Dealing with climate change crisis, according to Mohieldin, depends on three main factors: data availability, obvious implementation strategies on scientific basis, and the financing of those strategies.

One of its goals is to start implementing the pledges from previous conferences.

Mohieldin said that 100 billion dollars were pledged at the 2009 Copenhagen climate change conference, but this has not been fulfilled and even if it was fulfilled today, the world would have to double this sum many times over to finance the needed plans and projects.

"I think that we will have to revise the financial allocation by 2025 in order to set the suitable sum to finance climate projects," he said, adding that no country has the capacity to finance and implement climate projects on its own

He also asked for more cooperation between developed and developing countries in financing those projects in shape of investment, not loans.

He referred, in this context, to the importance of expanding the role of international and regional finance organisations, such as the World Bank, Islamic and African development banks, alongside businesses in financing developing countries climate projects.

The climate champion said that countries, organisations and businesses that start immediately transitioning to green economies, investing in and implementing climate action will start to get positive results in the next few years.

"On the opposite side, late starters will suffer big losses, and those who prefer to wait today will keep waiting forever," he added.

Mohieldin stated that the successful climate action must be done on three axis, first of which are inclusive policies set by governments in order to transition to green and decarbonised economies – alongside other UN Sustainable Development Goals – in a comprehensive way.

"These policies should allow wider participation of businesses, private sector, banks, NGOs, regional and international organisations in setting, financing and implementing climate projects," he said.

The second axis, according to Mohieldin, is setting obvious implementation strategies for climate projects with clear and specific schedules, while the third axis is finding ways to finance those projects in shape of investments.

Mohieldin clarified that preparation for COP27 is taking place on three tracks, the first of which is the government’s official efforts to bring climate action to life, starting with Egypt and Africa.

The second track, he said, relates to NGOs, business leaders, regional and international entities that are keen on making a big difference in the climate situation, while the third track relates to youth and amplifying their role in setting and implementing plans that take them to brighter future.

"Youth will play a vital role in making the climate change conference in Sharm El-Sheikh successful," he added.

He explained also that COP27 will work on linking the implementation of climate projects to financing entities, saying that the African Union (AU) – for example – has five major climate projects but lacks financing. The role of COP27 will be to bring the AU and financing entities together under one roof to achieve climate goals.

He explained that Sharm El-Sheikh conference aims to increase awareness among all stakeholders about the climate change crisis, the projects that are nescessary to curb its impacts and the needed finance to implement these projects.

"COP27 aims to gather all parties in Sharm El-Sheikh, to listen to everyone's visions and plans, without exclusion or exception, in order to come up with the best projects and the best work mechanisms to face climate change impacts," Mohieldin stated.

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