‘No room for political polarization at COP27’, says Egyptian Foreign Minister

CAIRO – Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has stressed the central importance of the “COP27” that his country will host next month in the seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, calling for the 27th Conference of the Parties to be withdrawn from the UNFCCC of the current context of “a strong political and economic polarization and a dynamic of politicization and contestation”.

“COP27 will take place against a global backdrop of high geopolitical and geoeconomic tension and polarization that we hope will not make it more difficult to solve common global challenges, including climate change. We must spare this landmark session of the conference the ongoing international conflicts, disputes and contestations, because any failure to address the challenges of climate change or any backtracking on climate commitments will drive the world to a “point of no return”. “beyond which extremely dangerous impacts of climate change may become unavoidable,” the head of Egyptian diplomacy told the Emirates News Agency (WAM) in an interview at the headquarters of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cairo.

“This is a message that we have sent over the past period to all parties concerned, whether through the informal ministerial meetings held throughout the year or during the preparatory meeting for the COP27, held in the Democratic Republic of the Congo earlier this month, all of these parties must honor their shared responsibilities and focus on this existential problem facing humanity as a whole, namely climate change. We must ensure that the ongoing international conflicts and crises and the current global polarization will not impact this area in any way.

Shoukry cited in this regard international reports regarding the need to keep the increase in global average temperature well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to continue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1 .5°C above pre-industrial levels. “If we exceed 1.5 degrees of global warming, negative consequences will become inevitable and it will be impossible for the world to return to where we were,” he warned.

“The parties participating in the climate summit must realize that the heart and essence of this conference is to address the challenges of climate change, and that it is not a forum to discuss other issues that are not relevant for climate action. Therefore, our common interest is to continue to advance the concerted international efforts of all parties concerned to resolve this burning issue that weighs on us all. All possible efforts must be made to get the conference out of the current context of strong political and economic polarization and the dynamics of politicization and contestation.

Burning issues.

Asked about Egypt’s approaches to global efforts to combat climate change, Shoukry said, “COP27 is focusing on a set of key climate-related issues, primarily reducing emissions; adaptation to the negative effects of climate change; funding; and the issue of loss and damage.

“There is a consensus that the resolution of these key issues depends on the ability of the international community to address the challenges of climate change and to work to build confidence between all parties – developed countries and countries alike. in developing countries – to provide the necessary resources so that the countries concerned can assume their responsibility for a just and sustainable transition from dependence on fossil fuels to new and renewable energies and embark on the path of negotiation and consultation on the issue of loss and damage.

The Egyptian Presidency, he continued, works to provide a favorable ecosystem to encourage all parties involved to reach consensus and make concessions that ultimately serve the collective interest to achieve the aspired goal. “Throughout 2022, we have worked to encourage countries around the world to increase their voluntary national commitments to reducing emissions, as well as highlighting the importance of adaptation. We have all seen the devastating consequences of the recent floods and torrents in Pakistan and the need for the Pakistani government to take action to protect its people. And for that, these countries must have the resources to remedy these effects and work to contain them. Therefore, we hope that there will be a consensus and a clear political will that will lead to the achievement of this common goal.

Strategic messages.

Regarding the strategic messages that Egypt intends to convey through the climate summit, Shoukry said that these are concerns shared by the international community: “These are messages from the international community. During the first two days of the conference, a high-level segment will take place. We have called for the widest possible participation of world leaders in this discussion in order to express the political will needed to address the issue of climate change. A large number of Presidents and Heads of Government have confirmed their attendance, and we hope that they will all support the search for consensus to take the necessary steps to build confidence among Parties to the UNFCCC. In addition, Egyptian initiatives will be launched at the conference on food security, agriculture, green hydrogen, new and renewable energies, in addition to a call to ensure a decent life in Africa. We hope that these initiatives will be supported, not only by governments, but also by business and civil society organizations, whose role is indispensable in ensuring concerted efforts by all governmental and non-governmental parties to address to the problems of climate change.

“Additionally, during COP27, presidential roundtables will be organized to address key elements and initiatives under the Climate Summit and the challenges we all face, as well as summit meetings to highlight some initiatives launched by sister and partner countries to improve the way the world responds to climate challenges.

UAE-Egypt partnership.

Asked about his vision for the Egyptian-Emirati partnership in COP27, Shoukry said the Egyptian-Emirati partnership goes beyond the climate conference. “It is a deep-rooted relationship of brotherhood, partnership and love that binds the two leaders and people at all levels. There is certainly coordination between Egypt and the UAE through the team. at COP27 and the Emirati team working on the preparation of COP28. This coordination aims to ensure the usual exchange of views. The progress to be made within COP27 will be echoed and will be based on the next edition. of the event in order to move forward to best face the climate challenges.

He added that there remains close coordination between the Egyptian and Emirati teams, before and after COP27, given that “Egypt will assume the Presidency of COP27 for one year after the conference and then hand it over to the United Arab Emirates. to lead the way during COP28.

The head of Egyptian diplomacy highlighted in this regard the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations between the two countries which will be held in Cairo under the slogan “One Heart”. Emirati and Egyptian ministers, officials and personalities, including businessmen, intellectuals, media professionals and public figures, will attend the three-day event which will begin on October 26.

“It’s an opportunity to talk about the present and the past. The two brotherly peoples will remain indebted and proud of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his instrumental role in strengthening the ties of friendship and love between the two brotherly countries and their peoples,” Shoukry said.

Shared concerns and aspirations.

Regarding the concerns and aspirations shared by Egypt and the UAE in the field of the environment, Shoukry said: “Certainly there is a shared interest on the part of both countries in the protection of the environment. We are both fully aware of the danger of climate change and the need for cooperation at bilateral, regional and international levels.

“We share the same interest in developing the capacities of both countries in the field of new and renewable energies, by accelerating investments in our two countries, by promoting modern technologies in the face of the challenges of climate change, and by working to strengthen capacities nationals of both countries. countries through collaboration and investment. We both share the same interest, and this is manifested by the hosting of two successive editions of the climate summit, COP27 and COP28. This is the first time that two Arab countries have been entrusted with this responsibility, and God willing, we will be able to fulfill our commitments in the best possible way.

Shoukry expressed hope that the 2022 Arab Summit, to be hosted by Algeria next month, will consolidate pan-Arab solidarity in the face of international challenges besetting the Arab world.

“We hope that the Arab summit will strengthen deliberations on the challenges facing us and develop an appropriate framework to deal with these threats by strengthening solidarity and integration among Arab countries. The Arab world abounds with massive resources and capabilities at the human or material levels that should place us in a position of strength where we can wield considerable influence in international affairs to enhance our ability to contain and respond to challenges, and help our peoples to achieve their ambitions, while sparing them the negative impact of current geopolitical conditions.

In this regard, the head of Egyptian diplomacy stressed the central importance of the Palestinian cause, being “a central issue for the entire Arab world”, stressing the need to continue supporting the Palestinian people in their struggle to achieve their aspirations and establish their own state.

“In the meantime, underlined the Minister, the essential question remains the indivisibility of Arab national security. Arab security is an indivisible whole and all Arab countries work together to safeguard our national security and safeguard our supreme interests through international relations based on mutual respect and the promotion of common interests among ourselves and with our international partners.