COP26 Egypt

COP26: Egypt’s focus areas and sustainable lifestyles

In recent years, attention placed on the seriousness of climate change impacts has been increasing. This is due the science which proves that climate change has cased damages to millions of lives around the world, contributed to flooding, more frequent and intense natural disasters, a shortage of agricultural crops, threads to food security, and it continues to harm the health of humans, wildlife, and marine organisms.

In light of the increasing changes, the city of Glasgow in the United Kingdom is preparing to host COP26, after it was postponed in 2020, due to the COVID19 pandemic. This year’s conference is of particular importance, as it includes the first review of the recommendations that were agreed upon in the Paris Agreement in 2015, which provided for two reviews, each over five years.

Developing countries are looking forward to obtaining the necessary funding to support their actions on climate adaptation plans, and to finance environmentally friendly projects and the transition to a “green economy.”

At the same time, the Paris Agreement had obligated developed countries to finance $100 billion annually for climate issues, but a new report issued by the United Nations in 2020 recommended doubling the amount because it is no longer appropriate.

Many believe that measures to adapt to climate change and reduce carbon emissions are a matter for governments and international institutions alone, but this year’s conference devoted its first session to talking about the role of individuals in confronting climate change, highlighting the importance of daily practices that they follow in parallel with government actions, and it will also discuss actions that people can engage in, from adopting lifestyles that reduce carbon emissions, to changing culture and societal habits that exacerbate the climate crisis.

The conference will run from November 1 to November 14, and will include many sessions focused on the roles and impacts of youth, women, and indigenous peoples in the climate action movement. Side events promise to discuss innovative initiatives and solutions to the climate crisis.

COP26 Egypt

Egypt areas of interest at COP26

In this context, Sherif Daoud, Deputy Director of the Sustainable Development Unit at the Ministry of Planning, said that individual contributions to confront climate change are important in parallel with government measures, especially in light of the growing awareness of the importance of environmental issues, and dealing with the issue of preserving the environment as an economic opportunity and not an additional cost through creating job opportunities and initiating profitable projects that motivate investment in the environmental fields, which is known as the “green economy.”

Daoud added, in statements to Al-Shorouk, that a large number of young people and owners of small projects are working in areas related to the environment, such as renewable energy and waste recycling activities, thus helping to create economic opportunities. Additionally, the government plans to take measures such as supporting renewable energy policies and providing incentive packages to support the transformation of the private sector into a green economy, therefore integrating a circle of joint work between various actors; the government, the private sector, civil society, scientific and educational institutions, development partners, and the public.

He added that in recent years, awareness of climate changes has increased a lot, and people have felt the impacts of climate change in Egypt in various aspects of their daily lives, for example, heat waves and torrential rain have become more frequent and this year the production of some agricultural crops has declined. Also, some farmers in the delta were exposed to the destruction of their lands due to rising sea levels and high salinity rates

He said, “Every sector is gradually feeling the impact of climate change and it is important that the United Nations Climate Conference helps people understand the issue of climate change and the repercussions it will have on their daily lives.”

He added that Egypt’s hosting of the climate conference next year has several benefits, as it helps to create more awareness of climate change. At COP27, it will be important for Egypt to give more attention to the phenomenon of climate change and to put it on its list of priorities.

The challenges of facing the effects of climate change are increasing at a high rate. At a time when the world must keep the Earth’s temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the “United Nations Environment Report on the Emissions Gap for 2020” expects temperatures to rise to 3.2 degrees Celsius during this century, Therefore, the upcoming climate conference is an opportunity to intensify work and save what can be saved for the future of food, biodiversity, and the lives of humans and all living creatures that are threatened by severe environmental disasters.

Sawsan Al-Awadi, an environmental expert and founder of the Najma initiative for “environmentally friendly projects,” believes that the climate conference will help spread awareness of climate issues and global warming, and explains their impact on the economy, health, tourism, and investment.

In statements to Al-Shorouk, she added that youth and civil society have a major role to play in climate action because they work to bridge the gap between policy makers and the public, and addressing the effects of climate requires a partnership between the action of governments and the efforts of individuals.

She added that there are several focus points for Egypt at COP26, the most important of which is the water.

Not only is this a political concern, it’s a climatic issue as well. Water conservation through projects lining canals and desalinating sea water are underway. However, sea levels are rising and geographical changes are happening in areas due to climate change this impacts crops and food security in Egypt.

Sawsan chairs the “Najma” initiative, in which women are trained to set up small environmentally friendly projects in their homes with small amounts. The projects are based on the idea of ​​a green economy. It is concerned with recycling used oils and converting them into soap and cleaning tools, growing mushrooms indoors, planting balconies with aromatic plants and ornamental plants, and recycling furniture to become “sustainable” because the furniture industry is based mainly on the wood of trees, and therefore the longer the furniture lives, the less trees are cut down, which threatens biodiversity and exacerbates the climate crisis.

Aya Muhammad Ali, an environmental researcher and founder of an environmental project to recycle plastic waste into “agricultural money” to protect plants from temperature changes, believes that the conference is important to allocate funding for small projects interested in the green economy, and to communicate the point of view of young people through representatives of initiatives and small projects present at the conference.

She added, in statements to Al-Shorouk, that the environmental agreements that result from the conference will be important to facilitate the work of small environmental projects and to support the concept of climate justice. In the same context, the discussions of the conference will encourage spreading awareness and paying more attention to environmental issues.

This story was originally published on Al-Shorouk, with the support of Climate Tracker.

Hadeer El-hadary
Hadeer El-hadary is a freelance Egyptian journalist. She’s written for Egyptian and Arab websites such as Scientific American, Vice Arabia, and Shorouk News. Her work focuses on the topics of environment, climate change, science, health and women’s rights. She’s won an award from the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate for an environmental story about converting date palm seeds into fuel and other products, and another award from Plan International organization and the Ministry of Social Solidarity for a story about discrimination against women in job interviews.