Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change Hight-Level Champion for Egypt, speaks during a session at the Afrca CEO Forum in Abidjan on June 14, 2022. AFP
Mohieldin made his remarks while addressing the opening session of the “Road to COP27: The Africa Regional Forum on Climate Initiatives to Finance Climate Action and the SDGs,” which kicked off in Addis Ababa on Tuesday and lasts until Thursday.
The forum is one of five regional roundtables Egypt will be holding over the coming two months in its role as president of the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in an unprecedented initiative to catalyse investments in different climate sectors.
The Egyptian initiative will put climate projects, investors, companies, international financing entities, development banks and other stakeholders at one table with the aim of actually implementing projects that help achieve climate action goals, according to a previous statement by Mohieldin’s office.
During his speech, Mohieldin said that Africa remains the continent most vulnerable to climate change’s effects despite its low contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. Africa produces no more than three percent of the world’s total, according to experts.
“Although Africa has contributed little to global emissions, it is already being disproportionately affected by impacts of climate change, stressing the importance of adopting a climate action-oriented path that can deliver on both Africa’s development and climate goals,” a statement by Mohieldin’s media office cited him as saying.
He also emphasised the need to focus on building low-emission climate-resilient societies, and creating further green job opportunities.
According to UN figures, Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to shrink by 2.25 percent, Mohieldin said, warning about the risks posed by extreme climate events in Africa where most economies depend on natural resources, such as minerals, agriculture and wildlife.
Mohieldin also underlined the need to stimulate private investments in clean energy in Africa, which is in great need of further efforts to push the climate change agenda.
He also shed light on some potential clean energy ventures that might contribute to addressing the climate crisis, such as the African Green Hydrogen Alliance whose founding members include: Egypt, Mauritania, Namibia, Kenya and South Africa.
Mohieldin also touched upon the need for mobilising climate finance and dedicating climate funds to priority projects in the continent.
He stated that energy poverty is a stark problem in Africa as the continent’s energy systems are particularly vulnerable to climate shocks. An estimated annual investment of $25 billion would deliver universal energy access in Africa by the end of decade, according to the International Energy Agency.
With the right energy policies and financial support, Africa can achieve a significant level of sustainable and much cleaner energy, Moheildin added. He also stressed the need to ensure a just and equitable transition with affordable clean and renewable technologies.
Egypt will host COP27 in the Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh between 7-18 November.
Egypt and the African Union are seeking to develop a unified vision for energy transformation in the continent ahead of COP27.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, the president-designate of COP27, had said Egypt will speak up for Africa’s aspirations to cope with climate change during the conference.
Hopes are pinned on COP27 to turn climate-related pledges into action to help facilitate the move to green energy in order to reduce harmful gas emissions and adapt to climate change as per the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement – adopted at COP21 and signed by over 190 states including Egypt – came into effect in 2016 with the aim of limiting the rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Climate finance has been debated at every COP meeting since as developed countries have failed to meet their promise to mobilise $100 billion annually by 2020 to help developing nations with mitigation and adaptation measures.