According to a senior Egyptian official, Cairo will position itself as an impartial arbiter while hosting this year’s COP27 climate summit. It will pushes nations to act on their climate pledges while promoting the interests of the developing world.
In a statement, Wael Aboulmagd, Egypt’s special representative to the COP27 president said, Egypt would allow protests within the rules of the November 7 to 18 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Incidentally, Egypt is an exporter of natural gas. It will take over the presidency of the UN climate conference from Britain. Already, eleven countries have updated their greenhouse gas emissions cutting targets following the Glasgow summit, said COP26 President Alok Sharma. “I hope we will see more of these come through”.
In Glasgow, developed nations had disappointed many by saying they would not deliver the $100 billion per year promised from 2020 until 2023 to help developing countries with their energy transition.
Delivering this financing is among Egypt’s priorities for COP27.
It also wants to focus on securing separate “loss and damage” funds, or compensation payments to climate-vulnerable countries already suffering from climate-related weather extremes, said Aboulmagd in an interview.
He went on to add, “There are issues that are of interest and priority to developing countries, and there are high expectations from us as a developing country to ensure that these issues are taken on board and that they achieve commensurate progress with how important they are”.
“Egypt will seek to mediate between developed and developing countries that have clashed over issues including carbon emissions and climate financing, as it tries to help steer a move from pledges to action,” said Aboulmagd.
“In this particular year it is in the interest of the process that a perception of impartiality and equal distance from everyone is maintained. Egypt was working to launch about 17 voluntary initiatives in areas including food and agriculture and water management, hoping to inspire ideas and action to help countries meet their pledges”.
“We intend to move even faster, despite very difficult circumstances,” said Aboulmagd in reference to economic disruptions caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
“To promote global access and representation at COP27, Egypt has sought to fast track accreditation for under-represented civil society organisations from Africa,” said Aboulmagd while adding he hoped climate campaigners and activists play a constructive role.
“There are certain rules and we’re working with the secretariat to ensure that if there are people who want to protest, they’re entitled to do that, and it’s done in a peaceful manner”.
“It’s good to have people yelling at you – hopefully not throwing stuff at you, but just yelling at you and we’re accustomed to that.”
Following reports of high room prices, Aboulmagd said Egypt’s government had worked with hotels to provide affordable accommodation for participants in Sharm el-Sheikh, a tourist resort on the Red Sea bordered by a concrete and wire security barrier.
“What we have done to the utmost is to ensure that decent hotels and very reasonable rates are made available.”