Environment, int'l cooperation ministers discuss developing anti-climate change policies with WB regional director

MENA , Wednesday 15 Sep 2021

The meeting tackled the cooperation needed to transfer and localise technological innovations into the services provided across different sectors

Rania Mashat, Yasmine Fouad & Ayat Soliman
Ministers Rania Mashat of International Cooperation and Yasmine Fouad of Environment with Regional Director of the World Bank Group's Sustainable Development Department for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region Ayat Soliman during their discussion on Wednesday 15 September, 2021. Photo courtesy of Egyptian Ministry of Environment Facebook page

Egypt's Ministers of International Cooperation and Environment, Rania Al-Mashat and Yasmine Fouad, discussed on Wednesday with Ayat Soliman, the regional director of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Sustainable Development Department for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, future cooperation between Egypt and the WBG to forge climate action policies and monitor their impact on catalysing economic growth and attracting investments to the local market.

The meeting also underscored national efforts in the path of green and sustainable growth by presenting important projects, such as the Bahr Al-Baqar Water Drainage System and the Gabal Al-Asfar Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The value added by these projects to Egypt’s development efforts and their role in attracting green investments were also discussed during the talks.

Additionally, the meeting tackled the cooperation needed to transfer and localise technological innovations into the services provided across different sectors, namely agriculture, industry, irrigation, and infrastructure.

Al-Mashat stressed that the ongoing discussions aim to brief the WBG on the Egyptian government’s priorities concerning climate action and effective communication among different stakeholders.

The talks bolster notions of multilateralism to achieve green growth and mobilise development financing and green investment opportunities to advance national development efforts.

Al-Mashat added that International Financial Institutions (IFIs) regard Egypt as the leading country in the green recovery agenda in the region thanks to the policies undertaken in all fields and the well-structured plans to expand environment-friendly projects.

She elaborated that Egypt aims to inspire growing economies who wish to shift to a green economy; adding that IFIs seek to provide the necessary support to implement the country’s plans in this regard.

Al-Mashat stressed that the Ministry of International Cooperation is striving to support economic relations between Egypt and multilateral and bilateral development partners through the three principles of economic diplomacy: multi-stakeholder platforms, official development assistance mapping to the sustainable development goals, and the global partnerships narrative.

She added that her ministry’s ongoing portfolio includes projects worth $365 million to achieve SDG 13, which tackles climate action.

Meanwhile, Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad praised the ongoing cooperation with the WBG in the environmental sector, noting that climate change is a development challenge not a mere environmental challenge.

This has prompted Egypt to take active steps to foster stringent measures in the face of climate change to involve all stakeholders and prompt them to work together towards a green and sustainable future.

Egypt, hence, encouraged the National Council on Climate Change under the leadership of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and the membership of all ministries and sectors — whether generating or affected by greenhouse emissions — to develop policies and procedures that take into account the effects of climate change.

Fouad emphasised the indispensable need for the WBG’s experience in preparing climate quantitative studies, which help ditch the effects of climate change on the economy and development and, hence, make a difference in designing effective policies and taking appropriate decisions.

She added that the needs and priorities of countries regarding climate projects may change, as Egypt, for example, started with renewable energy projects and is currently working on sustainable transport projects, in which it has taken serious steps, especially with the presidential initiative to shift to clean-fuel vehicles and manufacture electric buses.

The minister further elaborated that development financing is catalysed via climate action intervention success stories that encourage the public and private sector to redirect their financing towards a green economy.

On her part, Ayat Soliman congratulated the Ministry of International Cooperation on convening the Egypt International Cooperation Forum, which will have a tangible impact on international and regional levels to advance development efforts.

Soliman also presented the role played by the WBG on a regional level to support collective efforts to combat climate change, commending Egyptian efforts to achieve economic and social development and promote green investment, making Egypt a pioneering country leading green growth in the region.

Soliman expressed her eagerness to develop a cooperation programme with Egypt, whereby the country ushers in sustainable development interventions and leads green growth in the MENA region.

She further affirmed the WBG’s keenness to support the Egyptian government’s efforts to address the repercussions of climate change, as well as crafting the policies that shall enhance these efforts.

Egypt is exerting strenuous efforts to set the example for an effective green transition at the regional level through development projects across a sundry of sectors. The government has also issued the region’s first green bonds, worth $750 million, to finance environment-friendly projects.

The environmental sector is one of the vital sectors that the Ministry of International Cooperation seeks to provide necessary development financing to.

The ongoing development financing portfolio for environmental projects amounts to $260 million dedicated to implementing four projects, including the National Solid Waste Management Programme — which is being sponsored by the WBG, the European Investment Bank, Agence Française de Développement, the European Union, and Italy.

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