Africa accounts for 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but suffers the most: Egypt COP27 envoy

Jehad El-Sayed , Friday 16 Sep 2022

Yasmine Fouad, Egypt’s environment minister and envoy for the 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), reiterated to the world that Africa bears the brunt of the climate change crisis despite accouting for a tiny fraction of global greenhouse emissions.

Ministry of Environment
Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad at the event


Fouad’s remarks came during her speech at the 18th session of the African Ministers of Environment Conference (AMCEN) in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, according to a statement released by the environment ministry on Friday.

Fouad noted that 20 percent of the continent’s population live in countries that are in the top 10 most vulnerable to climate change.

Fouad added that 172.3 million Africans were affected by drought and 43 million were affected by floods between 2010 and 2022.

African countries are the most affected by food insecurity and water scarcity, she added.

Climate change is expected to push an additional 78 million people to chronic hunger by 2050, more than half of them in sub-Saharan Africa, she said.

Adaptation is the top priority for Africa and Egypt, she stressed.

"The Egyptian government has been exerting enormous efforts to address climate change challenges and include climate-related dimensions in its national plans across all sectors."

“It is important for us as the COP27 president to bring back balance between adaptation and mitigation,” she added.

Egypt is set to host the COP27 in the city of Sharm El-Sheikh from 6-18 November.

Cairo has vowed to address African interests incombating climate change at the conference in Sharm El-Sheikh.

At the COP27, Egypt aims to ensure the turning of climate-related pledges into action to help facilitate the transition to green energy by reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change as per the Paris Agreement.

The presidency of COP27 is pushing a comprehensive group of initiatives that focus on developing countries’ priorities, especially in Africa, Fouad stressed.

"For the first time, COP27 initiatives are built on an inclusive process of global consultations, with six out of the thirteen initiatives focused on Africa mainly and an additional two focused on Africa in their targets," she added.

For example, Fouad explained that the Fair and Affordable Energy Transition initiative has been designed to combine the efforts of the African countries that are working to accelerate their energy transitions, serving as a reference point for them and development finance partners alike.

This initiative aims to address the reality where 598 million people in Africa do not have access to electricity and 930 million do not have access to clean cooking fuels.

Fouad said that the Waste 50 initiative aims to addresses the waste management crisis in Africa by 2050 as less than 10 percent of the solid waste generated in the continent is recycled.

The minister stated that Africa is expected to witness displacement and migration of up to 85.7 million people in the absence of measures to contain climate change.

Fouad reviewed the role of Friends of Greening National Budgets in Africa and Developing Countries in supporting governments to create an enabling environment for the private sector towards the transition to a low-carbon economy capable of adapting to climate change.

She also highlighted that the biodiversity initiative that will form nature-based solutions (NbS), saying many issues facing the entire continent will be addressed at COP27 such as marine life, marine pollution, ecosystem restoration and conservation, in addition to combatting desertification.

"We call COP27 a COP for Implementation. We as COP president, seek to maintain global ambition for climate action,” the minister said.

The Paris Agreement – adopted at COP21 and signed by over 190 states including Egypt – came into effect in 2016 with the aim of limiting the rise in temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Climate finance has been debated at every COP meeting since, as developed countries have failed to meet their promise to mobilise $100 billion annually by 2020 to help developing nations with mitigation and adaptation measures.

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