Egypt is confident it can work with the world’s largest emitter, China, to cut emissions ahead of the upcoming UN climate talks COP27, held in Sharm el-Sheikh in November.
One of the main outcomes of last year’s COP26 discussions in Glasgow was the commitment of countries to scale up their climate action plans in just one year.
Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad said China was a “key player” in Egypt’s bilateral and multilateral relations, pushing back against the idea that China’s vast investment in Egyptian infrastructure could render more difficult for the African nation to put pressure on the Asian giant.
But, as the host of the next climate negotiations, Egypt “will discuss with all emitters, whether they are the largest or the least emitting”, how they can each comply with the Paris Agreement. , she said.
In an exclusive interview with Sky News, the minister said Egypt’s status as a lower middle-income country, outside the powerful G20, was irrelevant to its diplomacy as the next COP host. .
It was more important that Egypt could “start the kind of discussion” that is “useful to mankind,” she said.
“Whether [with] the United States returns to the Paris Agreement [or] how you liaise with the European countries … All of this is a way to have this kind of … good bilateral relations in order to move the boat forward and try to reach … a consensus ”, a declared Mrs. Fouad.
Speaking from the World Youth Forum in Sharm el-Sheikh, Ms. Fouad said protests at COP27 would be “no different” from protests at previous COP negotiations, where civil society typically shows up in mass campaigning for bolder climate action from leaders.
Observers fear that the right to protest at COP27 will be restricted by the authoritarian Egyptian regime, which human rights groups have accused of holding 65,000 political prisoners and of “arbitrary detention”.
She called it “contradictory” to warn of human rights violations at COP27 in a country that “released its national human rights strategy – it was not a requirement, but announced whether or not there was a cop on his land.
“Why would they say that if a country has already adopted a national human rights strategy? “
The current World Youth Forum is an example of open discussion in Egypt, she said.
The decision to host the talks in the remote resort of Sharm el-Sheikh – more difficult to access for many Egyptians than Cairo – raised eyebrows, but Fouad insisted the decision was logistical, similar to the UK hosting COP26 in Glasgow rather than London.
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Ahead of last year’s climate talks, most countries released intensified climate action plans, after the latest batch failed to limit warming to something like the targets set in the Paris Agreement.
Egypt has yet to release its new plan – known as the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) – but Ms Fouad said there was “no shame because the NDC is not a prerequisite for the Paris Agreement … It is a process that the country has put in place. started internally “.
“Egypt has led by example,” she said, citing various energy reforms, 30 “climate megaprojects”, targets for government-funded green projects and work on its new NDC.
Africa has nominated Egypt to host talks at this year’s COP, which changes continent every year. Ms. Fouad said Africa and issues important to it would be “at the heart” of COP27.
These include concerns about financing vulnerable countries to deal with climate finance, important issues “not only in Africa, [but to] those … developing countries that haven’t produced emissions, but are paying the price for climate change. “
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