Climate resilience in Aswan
Aswan’s Om Habibeh Foundation, an affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network, held a meeting to review the results of a seven-year cooperation programme with Canada that focuses on preserving the environment, educating people on climate change and biodiversity, and advancing the skills of Aswan youth.
The meeting was held as part of Egypt’s preparations to host the 27th session of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27) in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh in November.
Harjit Sajjan, the Canadian minister of international development, said at the meeting that it was imperative to find innovative, technological ways to provide opportunities for young entrepreneurs, especially in the fields of food security and the investment of human resources. “Cooperation between parties is the only means to this end,’’ Sajjan added.
Aswan Governor Ashraf Attia reviewed with the gathering the challenges that the Canadian programme and Om Habibeh are trying to overcome. “There are many urgent issues that require direct and immediate intervention, such as achieving the sustainable development goals and combating the repercussions of climate change,’’ Attia said, referring to the floods Aswan was subject to in November 2021. He added that Aswan is facing other problems such as garbage collection and waste management.
“We believe in the importance of partnering with civil society organisations. This is the basis on which we are building our efforts to provide services to the neediest groups, empower women and youth economically, curb environmental pollution, and create a cleaner climate within the framework of the climate change strategy for Aswan governorate,” Attia noted.
Hanan Al-Guindi, director-general of Aga Khan, said the Canadian International Development Agency gave Egypt $12.5 million Canadian dollars in the form of technical and financial support to help overcome obstacles facing the programme in Aswan.
The programme has helped more than 8,000 youths, improved the chances of 400 employees in partnering entities, and presented financial grants to support the projects of more than 70 young entrepreneurs, she stated.
Aga Khan and Om Habibeh “are invited to COP27,’’ Al-Guindi said. ‘’The foundation adopts an environmental management strategy that is in line with the policy of the Canadian Foreign Ministry on environmental sustainability to mitigate the impact of climate change and its potential negative effects on the foundation’s projects.
“In addition, the foundation is working on integrating the adaptation and mitigation strategies and boosting its ability to design, implement, and monitor environmentally sustainable initiatives,” Al-Guindi pointed out.
“The foundation carried out a host of activities in response to climate change, including agricultural industrialisation as part of environmental sustainability. We trained 90 women in Aswan villages on manufacturing dried tomatoes, dates and hibiscus, which are exported to the European Union, recycling agricultural waste and converting it into fodder, and recycling the waste of cement factories in Aswan and turning it into a useful product that can be used in business,” she added.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 18 August, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.