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Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin: We must prioritize food, water and energy security
With the global population expected to reach 8 billion by November, and 8.5 billion by 2023, we must prioritize fulfilling the increasing demand for food, water and energy by 2030, said Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt this week.
His remarks came during his participation in an Egypt International Cooperation Forum roundtable entitled, “Nexus of Water, Food and Energy”. The event is being held in partnership with the Egypt International Cooperation Forum and African Ministers of Finance, Economy and Environment for COP27, with participation of Egypt Prime Minister, Dr Mostafa Madbouly; Dr Rania Almashat, Minister of International Cooperation; John Kerry, US presidential envoy for climate; and a number of African ministers, heads of regional and international organizations.
Mohieldin added that half of the expected increase in population will be in eight countries — five in Africa — which add challenges for developing countries to achieve sustainable development, especially in the wake of COVID-19, the war in Ukraine and other crises that halt development.
“As the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion, I developed five priorities which I advocate for and repeat in any discussion. The Water-Food-Energy nexus hits the ‘Sweet Spot’ for all these five priorities,” Mohieldin said, explaining that the first priority is adopting a holistic approach that aims to achieve all SDGs including climate targets.
Mohieldin clarified that this approach should help all people receive food, water and energy equally, and focus on achieving social, environmental and economic development.
He added that the second priority is implementation, and reiterated that COP27 will be a conference of action, not more pledges and promises.
The third priority, according to Mohieldin, is to regionalize climate action, mentioning the five major regional roundtables designed to accelerate finance climate and development action.
The Africa roundtable, in Addis Ababa, resulted in 19 development projects, with four focused on the nexus of food, water and energy. The Asia-Pacific resulted in 20 projects, and Mohieldin expects that the Arab roundtable, to be held in Lebanon, will result in three related projects.
Mohieldin said that the fourth priority is to enhance the local aspect of climate action, referring to the National Initiative for Smart Green Projects launched by Egypt in which all local actors compete to register the smartest projects that help achieve environmental and climate goals in the frame of a local investments map.
“We will showcase 18 local development and climate projects during COP27, some of them will be food, water and energy projects,” he added.
Mohieldin said that financing is the fifth priority, explaining that COP27 prioritizes mobilizing finance and investments for environment and climate projects, pushing towards fulfilling previous financing pledges, especially the $100 billion pledged at Copenhagen. Other financing matters related, he said, to activating GFANZ to finance climate projects in the developing countries, scaling up private sector participation, finding innovative finance instruments, pushing towards financing climate action through investments without adding more debt burden on the developing countries shoulders, establishing carbon market that suits developing countries and emerging markets priorities and circumstances, and finally linking public budgets of states to development and climate action.
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