WITH the Glasgow world summit on climate change deciding the other day to hold its next session in Egypt around the same time in 2022, Egypt will become the centre stage of international climate action and dialogue. The choice of Egypt as a venue for next year’s United Nations Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Climate Change, more commonly known as COP, followed President Sisi’s expression of the country’s aspiration to host the conference’s following session, COP27, on behalf of the continent of Africa and his assertion that Egypt will seek to make the event a substantial turning point in climate action in partnership with all parties, for the benefit of Africa and the world. Of special relevance and significance in this regard was President Sisi’s presentation, while addressing the Glasgow conference, of Egypt’s climate-caring development policies. Egypt, he noted, has initiated serious steps to build a sustainable development model with climate change considerations and adaptability programmes at core. And under a national strategy for dealing with global climate change effects, Egypt has planned to increase the number of government-supported green projects to by 50 per cent by the year 2025 and to 100 per cent by the year 2030.
The Egyptian leader’s keenness to take part in the summit-level segment of the Glasgow conference (COP26) and his earlier participation in the virtual summit conference on climate change that the United Nations convened as part of the work of the 76th General Assembly highlighted Egypt’s genuine orientation to undertake an active role in the furtherance of international climate action. And it was in pursuance of this orientation that President Sisi stressed that global climate change has evolved into such a worrying reality that demands immediate response. The African dimension of this reality is a cause for serious concern since African countries are amongst the world’s hardest-hit, having experienced drought strikes, land desertification and water scarcity and the ensuing adverse effects on food production.
Be it in its global scope or in its African dimension, action to deal with climate change does require multilateral coordination. The Glasgow COP26 and earlier summits have contributed to the formulation of commitments and common policies. COP27 will certainly make its own contribution, especially given that it will be held in Egypt whose political and diplomatic record includes chairing the African Union’s ad hoc summit committee on climate change and President Sisi’s presentation of the African perspective on climate change to the 2015 Paris summit. In the line-up for COP27 in Egypt, the issues of fair partnering, commitments and adaptation programmes require special emphasis in preparatory talks and in the exchange of ideas in order to effectively build on the conclusions of earlier meetings and optimise the cumulative effect of international action to mitigate the effects of the already grave manifestations of climate change. For its part, Egypt, as President Sisi told the Glasgow summit, is set seek through its COP27 presidency the consolidation of international climate action to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement for the benefit of Africa and the entire world.