Climate change inflicts severe losses and damages on small island developing nations: FM Shoukry

Ahram Online , Saturday 24 Sep 2022

Egypt understands the seriousness of the losses and damages suffered by small island developing nations due to climate change and will make the issue key in discussions at the COP27, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told a meeting of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) ) on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UNGA in New York on Saturday.

Sameh Shoukry
Foreign Minister and President-Designate of COP27 Sameh Shoukry during a meeting with Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) on Friday 23 September 2022 on the sideline of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. (Photo: the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)


"Climate change is inflicting increasing losses and damages on small island developing countries through repeated waves of severe weather conditions in the form of storms, hurricanes, floods and droughts that result in grave human and economic losses," added Shoukry, who is the president-designate of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) that Egypt is set to host in Sharm El-Sheikh from 6-18 November.

Shoukry assured AOSIS members that Egypt, as president of the COP27, will the focus the spotlight on the negative impacts of climate change on small island developing countries at the conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Ahmed Abu Zeid, the foreign ministry spokesman, said in a statement.

The AOSIS alliance has a membership of 39 global states - 37 are members of the UN while Cook Islands and Niue participate within the UN, and an additional five states are observers.

The alliance represents 28 percent of the developing countries, and 20 percent of the UN's total membership.

Shoukry stressed to the alliance that Egypt is keen on coordinating with the AOSIS alliance to reach desired goals in dealing with the negative impacts of climate change on their countries.

Egypt has vowed to put the issue of losses and damages front-and-centre at the COP27.

The Egyptian presidency of COP27 is organising informal consultations at the level of the heads of delegations in Cairo on 10-11 September to bridge views among the various parties on the issue of appraising losses and damages, Shoukry said.

Egypt has also assigned the task of facilitating and coordinating negotiations on the issue of losses and damages caused by climate change during COP27 to the German climate envoy and the Chilean minister of environment, he added.

In recent years, a number of small island nations have suffered massive losses and damages due to increasingly devastating hurricanes and floods among other severe weather phenomena.

In 2019, a devastating Hurricane Dorian struck the Commonwealth of Bahamas, a member of AOSIS, leaving 74 dead and tens unaccounted for in the 400,000 population nation.

Dorian also inflicted $3.4 billion in loss and damages on the Bahamas – a figure close to 25 percent of the country's GDP.

In a recent Op Ed piece, Mahmoud Mohieldin, the UN climate change champion for Egypt, highlighted the issue of economic and human loss caused by climate change in a developing nation such as Pakistan.

"In a year of the extraordinary droughts, floods, fires and other disasters that climate change has visited on different parts of the world, Pakistan has suffered the most from torrential floods caused by unusually heavy monsoons and melting glaciers," Mohieldin wrote.

"The floods have caused more than 1,480 deaths, destroyed 1.7 million homes, displaced 33 million people, and wreaked untold damage on essential infrastructure and production, generating unprecedented food and health crises," he added.

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