The Egyptian Minister of Environment in a meeting with John Kerry during the Glasgow Summit

Will Egypt succeed in mobilising climate finance post-COP26?

For Egypt, climate finance and the urgent need to expand the scope of support and financing for developing countries is a priority.
For Egypt, climate finance and the urgent need to expand the scope of support and financing for developing countries is a priority.

The discussions of the Egyptian leader participating at the UN Climate talks in Glasgow which ended a few days ago focused on the issue of climate finance and the urgent need to expand the scope of support and financing for developing countries. 

To address the damage and losses resulting from climate change and to finance adaptation projects Egypt announced during the summit its own climate change strategy for 2050 and succeeded in obtaining approval and international support for hosting the next summit in 2022 at Sharm El-Sheikh on behalf of Africa. Will it succeed in pushing for an increase in the annual funding provided to developing countries?

A new financing target for post-2025

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi stressed during his speech that developed countries must fulfil their pledges to provide $100 billion annually to developing countries for climate finance. “We affirm our support for what the Secretary-General has called for. That the amount of funding provided for adaptation projects should not be less than half of the available funding and the importance of starting consultations on the new funding goal beyond 2025,” he said.

Developed countries committed at the fifteenth Conference of the Parties held in Copenhagen in 2009 with a collective goal of mobilizing $100 billion annually by 2020 for climate action in developing countries and this commitment was reaffirmed and extended until 2025. 

Sisi noted that the continent of Africa, although not responsible for the more negative consequences of climate change, faces its adverse effects. He added that the implementation of developing countries programs in the face of climate change depends on the amount of support they receive, especially financing, which is the cornerstone of the main driver of our countries’ ability to raise their climate ambition.”

On his part, Egyptian petroleum minister Tarek El Molla announced that Egypt intends to rely on renewable energy up to 42% by 2030 and that it is preparing a plan to use hydrogen as a fuel source and power generation 

Egypt’s climate plan-2050

Dr Yasmine Fouad, the Egyptian minister of environment launched the Egyptian Climate Change Strategy for 2050 during the summit. The strategy works to achieve five main goals: achieving sustainable economic growth through low-emissions development in various sectors, building resilience and resilience to climate change, improving the governance and management of work in the field of climate change, improving the infrastructure for financing climate activities and enhancing scientific research, technology transfer, knowledge management and awareness to combat climate change.

During the launch of the strategy, the minister said that Egypt will use a set of policies and tools in implementing the national climate change strategy, including innovative financing tools such as green bonds, traditional financing tools such as soft loans and grants from multilateral development banks, preparing and submitting projects within the framework of the Green Fund.

During her participation in the discussions on climate finance at the summit, Dr  Fouad added that the financing plan pledged by the developed countries does not include how the private sector financing will be mobilized, especially since all reports, whether from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development or others, clearly indicates that private sector financing is still late and that the main source of funding is still public sources.

She emphasized that the need for climate finance is more urgent than ever, given that the estimated costs of adaptation in developing countries are five to ten times higher than the current flows of general adaptation finance and the adaptation financing gap is widening, according to a recent Gap Report issued by the United Nations.

Climate finance by 2030 should increase 588% to 4.35 $trillion dollars annually according to an analysis of data collected, climate exploration scenarios, financing needs for energy and other activities and adaptation solution. She pointed to the growing role of the Adaptation Fund in particular and how it has contributed for more than a decade in supporting nearly 119 countries to mobilize resources to enable it to continue its work and keep pace with the high demand noting that Egypt has benefited from the fund in particular through its support adding that two adaptation projects were funded with more than $10 million.

Meeting with the Egyptian Minister of Environment with representatives of the Youth Summit

The 27th climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

Dr Sawsan Al-Awadi, an expert in the field of environment and head of the Najma told Climate Tracker that Egypt spoke on behalf of the countries most affected by climate change and demanded the need to develop a new financing plan for the region commensurate with its needs for projects to adapt to climate change adding that the negative effects of climate change are more than mitigation projects due to the limited global contribution, whether Arab or African, to carbon emissions.

She pointed out that the outcomes of the summit did not achieve what was required of it, especially with regard to the obligations of the major industrialized countries towards developing countries.”The economic exhaustion that countries are experiencing after the Corona crisis has led to many countries retracting their commitment to reducing emissions in the short term and an immediate end to fossil fuels in order to compensate. Likewise, there is nothing new in the issue of climate finance for the same reason.”

She believes that these outstanding issues will be the subject of more discussion at the summit next year which places greater responsibility and expectations on the climate summit that will be held in Sharm El Sheikh and provides a greater opportunity to hear underrepresented voices represented by Egypt.

Glasgow Climate Pact “disappointing”

The final version of the “Glasgow Climate Charter” came with a proposal described by some as “disappointing” especially with regard to agreeing to the gradual reduction of coal rather than taking a more decisive decision to end fossil fuel subsidies and the failure to make a clear and specific commitment with regards to climate financing and support for developing countries in adaptation project.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that “the climate catastrophe is still present” despite an agreement reached at the conference. Guterres said in a statement that the climate talks ended with “welcome steps forward, but that is not enough. t

Dr Ahmed Al-Sharida, an environmental expert and head of the Association for Development of Man and the Environment, told Climate Tracker that the outcomes of the summit are “meaningless talk”, especially with regard to the issue of climate finance, explaining that the amount of money announced to support developing countries have been repeated since 2010 and no decisions are taken regarding increasing the amount of $100 billion annually in proportion to the adaptation requirements in developing countries.

He added that developed countries are still pushing towards giving developing countries loans instead of grants, which increases the burden on the developing countries to pay these loans, and in light of the failure of the major countries to fulfil their commitments in previous years, there has become a crisis of confidence and difficulty in believing any words said before we see implement it in practice.

The focus on climate financing from multilateral climate fund parties in the Middle East and North Africa largely in small numbers of large enterprises in form of loans or soft loans, funded by the Clean Technology Fund, is 1.5 billion for 139 projects 

These funds have been largely earmarked for mitigation efforts despite the region’s urgent adaptation needs, particularly water conservation and food security measures

Of the total funding approved for the region, $560 million was in grants, and $964 million in loans or concessional loans was provided for only a few large-scale energy infrastructure projects approved by the Climate Fund and the Green Climate Fund

The largest recipients – Egypt and Morocco – received respectively 29% and 19% of the total approved climate finance in the region, while four of the countries in the region did not receive climate finance from funds monitored by the Climate Funds Modernization Update. Approved funding grew by US$88 million in 2020

 The major industrial countries still have the opportunity, over the next twelve months, until the next summit in Egypt in Sharm El-Sheikh, to rebuild the confidence they lost due to their failure to adhere to their previous commitments, by expanding support for adaptation projects in developing countries, which are paying a price. Climate change is very expensive, although it is not the main cause of its occurrence

Rahma Diaa
Rahma is a freelance Egyptian journalist and media trainer. She’s the founder of the Climate school initiative and the winner of Covering Climate Now’s Emerging Journalist Award 2021. She’s collaborated with Arab and foreign media, such as, Asharq news, Scientific American (Arabic version), climate tracker, VICE, and ARIJ websites and networks.