Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin:
Achieving progress in climate action requires dealing with development challenges as a whole

The launch of Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda was necessary to strengthen the second line of defense in the face of climate change

Success of COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh was achieved despite big challenges

Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, said that making progress on the climate file requires dealing with the challenges that face sustainable development as a whole, considering that the goal of confronting climate change is one of the sustainable development goals.

Mohieldin added, during his participation in the eighth annual Sustainability Week organized by The Economist Impact, that COP 27 in Sharm El Sheikh stressed the importance of the holistic approach that brings together all aspects of climate action and places them within the framework of the SDGs as a whole as a necessary method to overcome the challenges that face climate and development action.

Mohieldin explained that the world is facing a number of crises that must be dealt with in order to accelerate climate action, reduce harmful emissions by half by 2030, double the effort of adapting to climate change, activate the Loss and Damage Fund launched at Sharm El Sheikh conference, as well as finding the best ways to finance all aspects of climate action.

Mohieldin stated that the success of COP27 was achieved despite the great challenges imposed by the war in Ukraine including food and energy crises, increasing inflation and recession rates around the world, and the difficulty faced by governments to finance climate action individually, especially the debt-burdened governments.

In this context, the climate champion pointed out that 60% of financing climate action around the world is based on debt, and this percentage reaches 75% in developing countries and emerging markets, saying that Sharm El Sheikh conference stressed the need to change this.

Mohieldin stressed that climate financing requires mobilizing public and private finance with blending internal and external sources of financing, as well as activating innovative financing tools, foremost of which are debt reduction tools and debt swaps for investing in nature and climate, beside developing specific standards for ESGs depending on relevant recent international reports, as well as activating carbon markets as an important tool for financing climate action. He praised in this regard the launch of the African Carbon Markets Initiative during the COP27, which has the support of African governments and private sector companies as well as the support of relevant UN organizations.

He said that Egypt, in cooperation with the United Nations and the HLCs, launched the Five Regional Roundtables Initiative that aimed to find investable projects that cover all dimensions of climate action, adding that the initiative resulted in more than 400 projects in about 100 countries, 120 of which were presented at COP27 as models for investable and implementable projects with the aim of encouraging multilateral banks and international financial and development institutions to help in implementing these projects.

Mohieldin explained that the launch of Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda was necessary to strengthen the second line of defense in the face of climate change through five main areas of action, which are food and agriculture, water and nature, coasts and oceans, human settlements, and infrastructure, explaining that financing adaptation activities requires much greater participation by the private sector, whose participation in adaptation financing currently does not exceed 2% compared to 98% by governments.

Regarding the file of loss and damage caused by climate change, Mohieldin said that meetings will be held in the coming period to determine the arrangements of activating Loss and Damage Fund, which was launched during COP27, and reach an agreement on its working mechanisms.