CAIRO — On Wednesday, Egypt’s foreign minister urged world leaders and negotiators to deliver on pledges made earlier to tackle climate change ahead of this month’s UN summit.
Sameh Shoukry, chair of the COP27 climate change conference to be held in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh from November 6-18, said participants should strive to take “meaningful and tangible steps” to implement the Paris climate agreement of 2015. .
The Paris Agreement aims to prevent global temperatures from rising another degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) by 2100, a key demand of poor countries ravaged by rising sea levels and other effects of climate change. Last year’s summit in Glasgow resulted in a compromise deal to keep this key global warming target alive.
“We aim to restore the ‘big market’ to the center of the Paris Agreement and our collective multilateral climate process,” Shoukry said in a four-page letter to world leaders and delegates attending COP27.
“This year, the picture is less encouraging,” he said, warning of a setback in the delivery of funding pledges to developing countries to step up their efforts to fight climate change.
Shoukry said the summit comes amid difficult challenges, including the failure of the G-20 meeting of industrialized and emerging countries earlier this year to produce an agreement on the environment. He also pointed to the lack of “concrete agreements” to enable financial support to deal with the impacts of climate change at the fall meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
The annual conference brings together 197 nations for deliberations on how to tackle climate change. COP27 comes as the world faces an energy crisis and war in Europe that has rocked the global economy.
In recent years, many developing countries and activists have stepped up long-standing calls for the creation of a fund to compensate poor countries for the devastation caused by climate change, caused disproportionately by rich countries due to emissions past.
The appeal was rejected at last year’s summit. Many proponents of the idea, often referred to as “loss and damage”, hope to make progress this month. Their arguments could be reinforced by the symbolic significance of this conference which is being held in Egypt, a developing country in North Africa.
The Egyptian minister said “significant progress” had been made over the past year, including a $40 billion resilience fund set up by the IMF and the Green Climate Fund which is providing some $2.5 billion dollars a year to help developing countries cope with the impacts of climate change.
“These advances prove that when there is political will, a sense of urgency and a functional structure, we can collectively make progress in our common effort to fight climate change,” he said.
He called on countries to launch “implementation frameworks” stemming from the negotiation process of the United Nations convention on climate change.
“COP27 creates a unique opportunity for the world to come together, fix multilateralism, rebuild trust and unite at the highest political levels to fight climate change,” he said.
The conference, dubbed “Africa COP”, focuses on providing financial assistance to poor countries struggling to cope with the impacts of climate change. It is expected to attract more than 45,000 delegates, including President Joe Biden, and more than 100 heads of state and government.