Egypt and France strengthen their cooperation ahead of COP27

CAIRO — Egyptian and French officials have discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation as Egypt prepares to host the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). ). The conference is scheduled for November in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Egyptian Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad met representatives of the French Development Agency (AFD) on June 12. The two parties discussed means of cooperation in the field of initiatives to be announced during COP27.

In a statement after the meeting, Fouad said, “Egypt has launched the National Climate Change Strategy until 2050. The objectives include mitigation, adaptation, climate finance and technology. Egypt is focusing on green transformation, linking climate to economic plans and focusing on the economy in agriculture, expansion of seawater desalination, solar power generation and ways to engage the private sector in investments in this area.

On May 19, the Egyptian government rolled out the National Climate Change Strategy 2050, in line with the country’s sustainable development strategy, Egypt Vision 2030. The strategy aims to reduce harmful emissions and prepare the country to withstand the effects of climate change. global warming.

Regarding bilateral cooperation between Cairo and Paris, Fouad proposed cooperation with AFD to “provide technical support and develop an action plan in the field of temperature-tolerant crops and sustainable crops in cooperation with the [Egyptian] Ministry of Agriculture and channeling these investment projects through the private sector.

Saber Othman, climate change expert and former director of the climate change department at the Ministry of Environment, told Al-Monitor: “The reports and studies that Egypt has submitted to the UNFCCC clearly indicate the significant damage caused to Egyptian cultures as a result of climate change. , which are due to a number of reasons including sea level rise. possibility of some land being submerged in the future.

He said: “Climate change has had a negative impact on water revenues in Egypt. While 95% of the country’s water resources come from the Nile, 85% of total water revenues go to the agricultural sector. Egypt’s water supply will have a very significant impact on the agricultural sector.

Othman warned that compound weather extremes and potential hazards to Egypt – whether dust and sand storms, intense heat waves or freezing cold spells – are a real cause for concern. “In the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea Mountains, there will be heavy rains or torrential rains, which has a significant impact on the agricultural sector, especially plants with a low capacity to adapt to these changes. climatic.”

Magdi Allam, former deputy environment minister and consultant to the World Climate Programme, agrees. “Cooperation between Egypt and France in the climate field is absolutely necessary because Egypt and the countries of North Africa are suffering the consequences of pollution resulting from the industrial revolution in Europe. The effects of drought, desertification, hurricanes and torrential rains in the North African region in recent years confirm the need for this cooperation,” he told A;-Monitor.

He noted, “There is a global trend to transform seeds into varieties that are more temperature tolerant and more tolerant of drought, desertification and compound extremes.

In 2015, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations launched the Investments and Sustainable Livelihoods in Agriculture project, which runs until 2023, with the participation of the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture . The project aims to help Egyptian farmers promote climate-smart practices – an approach to put in place the actions needed to transform farming systems to support food security in the context of climate change, and encourage them to use alternative crop varieties.

Allam said, “A number of Egyptian cultures have been affected by climatic changes in the last period, due to a sharp rise or sudden drop in temperature. These include mango, strawberry and apple crops, with expectations of impact on wheat, cotton and maize, which are major crops for Egypt’s national income.

According to a report published by the Egyptian newspaper El-Watan, in August 2021, rising temperatures caused heavy losses to many summer crops, with mangoes and olives being the most affected. The report says this has resulted in a sharp increase in the prices of these two crops due to the lack of supply.

Additionally, a 2019 study conducted at the Agriculture Research Center’s Agricultural Meteorology and Climate Change Research Unit showed that climate change and the resulting increase in Earth’s surface temperature will negatively affect the productivity of many Egyptian agricultural crops, as they lead to a sharp decline in the productivity of most major food crops in Egypt. The study warned that increased water consumption will also harm these crops. He further noted that wheat crop productivity will decrease by about 9% if the temperature rises 2 degrees Celsius above its average.

“Most plants and crops are threatened by climate change, such as wheat, rice and vegetables. This has serious repercussions on crop productivity and therefore on the lives of millions of Egyptians. The livelihoods of around 17 million Egyptian citizens depend directly or indirectly on agriculture,” Allam said.

He concluded, “This creates imminent danger to available job opportunities and casts its shadow over internal or external migration in search of employment opportunities.”

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