Bringing decision makers, experts, voices of the youth and civil society together, Cairo Climate Talks tackled the prospects of the international climate negotiations after the last conference that took place in Doha in November 2012 and discussed how Egypt could seize opportunities and face the challenges.
The Egyptian Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, Dr. Khaled Fahmy showed big enthusiasm to cooperate with all actors, and to listen to civil society, the youth and experts. “It´s our problem [as Egyptians] not the ministry’s problem so anyone who can help is welcome. My strategy is participation with whoever is ready to work,” Dr. Fahmy concluded.
The discussion started with the German Ambassador in Cairo Mr. Michael Bock stressing the importance of reaching a global solution for global warming and the significance of that for Egypt.
“The international climate negotiations are crucial for the future of Egypt in particular, because we all know that if we do not reach a stop of global warming, there will be catastrophic consequences for this country, for example because of sea level rise. So we have to fight to prevent this from happening and seize the opportunities in our combat against global warming in terms of job creation and sustainable development,” Mr. Bock told the audience.
Building on this point, Egyptian Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, Dr. Khaled Fahmy emphasised that the global problem of climate change needs real cooperation, which starts with communication and understanding between different players and actors.
“Such talks are a very good tool to bridge the way for better understanding,” Dr. Fahmy told the audience of Cairo Climate Talks. “I´d like to take this talk to the parliament. I´d like the parliamentarians to understand why we do need to cooperate tackling the issues facing us all.”
Commenting on the results of the UN climate summit in Doha, Dr. Camilla Bausch, Senior Management and Senior Fellow at the Ecologic Institute, Germany, and Advisor to the German Ministry for the Environment in the ﬁeld of international climate negotiations, said that the conference met the expectations. “It was not a breakthrough summit but rather a transitional COP, a building-up conference for what shall follow,” Dr. Bausch said. Progress was made mainly on procedural issues, especially regarding the pathway to reaching an agreement for a new global climate regime in 2015. In the lead-up to the 2015-summit, the UN Secretary General will convene world leaders in 2014 to discuss ambition and the way forward. This will offer an important chance to raise political will so all countries can rise up together to the challenge of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius.
Following the remarks on the UN climate negotiations, Dr. Bausch outlined the efforts in Germany to create a low-carbon, nuclear-free energy-system. Furthermore, she underlined the fact and necessity of Germany and other countries to support developing countries, which are willing to contribute to climate protection.
A new climate agreement is expected to be signed on 2015 so that it shall come into effect in 2020. Hence, the Doha conference was another step on the way, according to Dr. Samir Tantawi, Mitigation Manager at the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA).
“The conference was sort of a process conference, one step in a long way to reach an agreement on 2015. The process goes on as follows: the new agreement will be ready by 2014 and the agreement text should be finalized by May 2015 to be adopted later on the same year,” Dr. Tantawi said.
From a youth perspective, Mariam Allam, Egypt Coordinator of the Arab, Youth Climate Movement (AYCM), touched on a number of issues facing Egypt in terms of climate change. Yet, she focused on the role of youth in managing the problem.
“As youth, the negotiators are negotiating our future. We are inheriting this legacy that we´re talking about here. We need to be heard by the government and be part of the decision making,” Mariam said, stressing on the importance of capitalising on youth potentials to face the environmental challenges.
When asked about what he would like to see, Dr. Amr Osama Abdel Aziz, President of INTEGRAL Consult Egypt and Expert with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), had a concise list including working on the so-called National Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), preparing a national adaptation plan and a low carbon emissions strategy, new market-based mechanisms or the technology transfer platform. He also stressed on the need for preparing concrete proposals for adaptation projects to make use of available funding. Moreover, he highlighted that the decision related to the new protocol or legal instrument which is anticipated to include commitments by “all” parties until 2020 should be taken very seriously by the Egyptian government. “Emissions are directly linked to development”, Dr. Osama stated. “We have to be ready with different commitment scenarios before such negotiations since this would have an impact on our economy”, he added.
“Egypt used to ally with all big groups but what I´d like to see is that we have our own plans, proposals and initiatives to push forward. We´ve to prepare ourselves with studies before going to negotiations,” Dr. Osama said. “There are very good opportunities that came out of Doha and we have to work together now to make use of them.”
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