Mohieldin: We Have Started a New Chapter by Focusing on Climate Dimensions after the Sharm El-Sheikh Conference

Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, United Nations Special Envoy for financing the 2030 agenda, confirmed that until COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, topics related to climate change adaptation were neglected. However, in Egypt and globally, we began a new chapter by focusing on dimensions related to climate change adaptation after Sharm El-Sheikh.

Mohieldin highlighted in his speech at the Second International Conference on Environment and Climate, organized by Nile University and Engineers for a Sustainable Egypt, that the Sharm El-Sheikh Agenda for Climate Action included several issues related to adaptation, water, agricultural systems, and food systems.

Mohieldin emphasized that there is a strong and reciprocal link between the areas of water, land, and agriculture. The focus now is on protecting these areas from encroachment and maintaining pathways for using them sustainably.

He further explained that protecting these areas requires substantial funding and the utilization and sharing of knowledge and technology, asserting that reports issued by the United Nations and all relevant organizations confirm that food security is at risk and that climate change has negatively impacted agricultural productivity and contributed to the degradation of agricultural lands and water scarcity.

Mohieldin pointed out that there is a problem in securing the necessary finance for climate adaptation, which currently accounts for only 4% of the total available climate change funding. Additionally, there has been a decline in investment in the agricultural sector by more than 10% in recent years.

He noted that neglecting the agricultural sector and investment in it contributes to its existing decline due to climate change. The agriculture, forestry and land use sector is responsible for 21% of carbon emissions, 52% of methane emissions and 80% of nitrous oxide emissions. Paying attention to the agricultural sector is necessary and will enhance international efforts to combat climate change.

Dr. Mohieldin spoke on the water sector in Egypt, the Arab countries, and Africa, who suffer from water scarcity and a decline in per capita access to drinkable water, in addition to some areas experiencing droughts. This requires the use of science and significant investments in infrastructure, protecting water sources, using modern technology, and substantial investments in desalination.

He confirmed that several issues go beyond the national and regional dimensions, especially with the preparation for a new collective quantified goal on finance that will be discussed at COP29, which will be held in Azerbaijan. There is a need to activate what was agreed upon at the Sharm El-Sheikh conference for a substantial transition in areas related to food and agriculture.

Dr. Mohieldin emphasized that five areas—food, agriculture, water, nature, coastal protection, and human settlements—require good planning and funding. He pointed out the importance of increasing capacities in developing countries, increasing agricultural production by at least 17%, and reducing emissions by at least 20%, otherwise, we will enter a zone that increase the suffering of communities and infrastructure from losses and damages.

Mohieldin also mentioned initiatives in water and natural systems to increase the size of agricultural lands by more than 45 million hectares worldwide and to use the required investments for that purpose, including the food and agriculture for sustainable transformation (FAST) initiative launched in COP27.

He highlighted the importance of the national initiative for smart and green projects, which is under the auspices of the Egyptian President His Excellency Abdelfattah Al-Sisi. Many projects are being prepared under this initiative, addressing the aforementioned topics using technology and digital transformation in the fields of energy, water, and improving agricultural productivity to achieve sustainable development in general as well as the goals of the Paris Agreement.