20 Jun 2022 / Article

COP27: “No room for useless promises”


Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Egypt, gave a powerful speech at AFRICA CEO FORUM 2022.

Although it is only responsible for a small percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, Africa is the worst victim of climate change. Unfortunately, this phenomenon could wipe out most of the development progress the countries have made.

After putting their hopes in the many COP meetings that aimed to shore up the continent’s defences, African people are deeply disappointed. They must now make their voices heard at the upcoming COP27 meeting, to be held in November 2022 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

The keynote speech delivered by Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion, UNFCCC, sought to examine these issues at the 8th edition of the AFRICA CEO FORUM, held on 13 and 14 June 2022 at the Sofitel Ivoire Abidjan Hotel in the suburb of Cocody.

During the panel entitled “COP27: What’s at stake for the African private sector?”, Dr Mohieldin said that it was time that COP adopt a “holistic approach” and create relevant solutions to the most serious environmental problems. The reason the previous COP meetings did not produce the expected results was that the promises made were not converted into concrete actions.

The seasoned economist and former Egyptian Minister of Investment indicated that there will be no room for “useless promises” at November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt.

More resources and less debt for Africa

Using resources to address climate issues is a central objective of the COP meetings. The Glasgow Climate Pact, which was signed at COP26 by nearly 200 countries with the aim of accelerating climate actions, did not keep its promises.

With this pact, the United Nations had reaffirmed its duty to keep its promise and provide $100 billion annually from developed to developing countries. They collectively agreed to work to reduce the gap between existing emission reduction plans and what is required to reduce emissions, so that the rise in the global average temperature can be limited to 1.5°C.

On the matter of financing, Mohieldin supports “long-term climate financing that does not add on to Africa’s debt”.

He was adamant that “the $100 billion necessary could double or triple, and it still would not be enough to finance the climate actions”. To mitigate the financing problems, he suggested “finding partnerships that are not only focused on the insurance sector”.

COP27, another chance for Africa

COP27 represents “a unique opportunity for Africa to lead the conversation on climate change and create better climate agreements for the continent. It will have to show proof of its vulnerabilities so that the necessary provisions can be established”.

It is therefore better for Africa to be a part of the COP27 movement than to remain on the sidelines. Africa must plan an agenda that takes into account climate change and development issues.

Ultimately, “Africa must take control of the agenda so it can actively participate in COP27”, which will enable it to be more resilient.

Irène Bath


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