Egypt attends UN climate change conference despite failing to ratify Paris Agreement

Minister for Environmental Affairs Khaled Fahmy has traveled to Marrakesh, Morocco to head Egypt’s delegation at the 22nd Conference of Parties at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22). Egypt’s participation in the convention comes despite the government’s failure to ratify the Paris Agreement.

On the sidelines of the conference, which runs from November 17 to 18, Fahmy chaired meetings with counterparts from other African nations to discuss how best to alleviate the effects of climate change on the continent’s most vulnerable regions, according to media reports.

The meetings have reportedly tasked Africa’s environmental ministers and statespeople with “addressing global environmental issues, and supporting African countries in their environmental challenges.”

Discussion also revolved around how to obtain greater funding and partnerships, in order to activate programs for adaptation projects for African countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

As highlighted in a governmental report, Egypt’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, significant aid and cooperation is necessary for Egypt and other African countries to mitigate the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. As such, Cairo has proposed financing efforts via national carbon credit transactions, along with foreign financial aid for climate change efforts.

In April of this year Egypt hosted the African Ministers Conference on the Environment (ACMEN) in Cairo, reportedly seeking to unify the environmental policies and visions of African member states.

However despite its active role in the ongoing COP22 summit, ACMEN and past participation in climate change conferences and negotiations, previously representing the Arab Group of states and heading the African group, Egypt has still not ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as the Paris Agreement.

A host of Egyptian non-governmental organizations and civil society groups have urged the Egyptian state to ratify the legally binding agreement aiming to reduce global average temperatures and climate change, which was signed in April of this year.

Seven NGOs, including the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Egyptian Center for Social and Economic Rights and the Habi Center for Environmental rights, issued a joint statement on October 31 warning the government of the future consequences for the country’s natural resources and populace if it fails to bring government policy in line with provisions of the agreement.

The statement highlights that Egypt is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, emphasizing: “It is in Egypt’s interest to take advantage of the agreement’s instruments to draft and implement plans to adapt to the anticipated impacts of climate change.”

It also notes that while Egypt is not a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, it still has relatively high emissions thanks to polluting industries, transport and population growth.

The organizations recommended that Egypt adopt and enforce the provisions of the Paris Agreement with the aim of reducing emissions, and taking advantage of “its wealth of renewable energy sources,” while improving “environmental and health protection.”

While the government has taken pride in its development of renewable energy sources, including solar and wind power, Egypt also continues to develop highly polluting energy sources, such as coal powered factories, and power plants. The government also has joint plans with Russia for the construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant.


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