Mahmoud Mohieldin, the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda met with several European officials to discuss practical ways to implement the outputs of COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh and the initiatives launched during the conference.
During his visit to Brussels, the Egyptian Embassy organized high-level meetings between the climate champion and a group of EU and Belgian government officials concerned with climate and energy issues, with the participation of Ambassador Badr Abdel-Aty, Egypt’s Ambassador to Belgium and EU, and embassy members.
On the first day of his visit, Mohieldin met with Tinne Van der Straeten, the Belgian Minister of Energy, to discuss the steps taken to implement the outputs of COP27, especially regarding financing arrangements.
The meeting focused on the list of financeable green energy projects, particularly those involving green hydrogen. The two sides also highlighted the potential of the African continent for achieving a just energy transition.
They emphasized the need for developed countries to take responsibility for providing Africa with finance and technology, as well as supporting the capabilities of African countries to overcome related challenges such as high costs and lack of concessional financing. Other challenges that were discussed included increased demand rates, the need for infrastructure development, support for scientific research, human skills development, and technology transfer.
Mohieldin and Van der Straeten also discussed key initiatives launched during the Sharm El Sheikh conference, including the joint initiative of the Global Renewable Hydrogen Forum, launched by Egypt and Belgium, and the African Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI), a model for regional cooperation and an opportunity for collaboration with the European side at the levels of financing and technical support.
In a meeting with Oliver Várhelyi, EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Mohieldin stressed the importance of foreign investments in mobilizing finance for adaptation and resilience activities in developing and middle-income countries.
He also emphasized the necessity of all actors at the international level, including IFIs, to work together to strengthen cooperation between public and private sectors and build a financing system that allows for more investment in adaptation and resilience activities. The private sector’s investments in this context remain limited, despite working to reduce the increasing physical and transitional risks of climate change.
Mohieldin highlighted the importance of promoting investment in climate action and implementing what was reached at COP27, especially in the field of adaptation and its sectors, including food security, agriculture, and water resources management. He also touched on the issue of debt swaps in developing countries and the need to find solutions to debt-dependent climate finance, such as activating debt reduction mechanisms and debt swaps for investments in development and green projects.
He mentioned that the issue would be raised at the Paris Summit this month, which is supposed to handle climate finance issues.
Mohieldin also met senior European Commission officials, including Belén Carbonell, Managing Director for Global Agenda and Multilateral Relations at European External Action Service, Tibor Stelbaczky, Principal Adviser on Energy Diplomacy at European External Action Service, and Gerassimos Thomas, Director-General Taxation and Customs Union at European Commission.
The meetings discussed the steps and procedures taken by the Egyptian presidency of COP27 to implement its outputs and the initiatives launched during the conference, and the coordination with the European side in this regard. European officials were briefed on the ongoing coordination with the UAE presidency of COP28 to build on what was achieved during the Egyptian presidency of the conference.
The meetings also highlighted the importance of the actual implementation of climate action pledges, especially in the topics of finance, technology transfer, and capacity-building, as well as the role of the private sector in financing and implementing climate action in general and adaptation activities in particular.
They also addressed the African Carbon Markets Initiative launched during the Sharm El Sheikh Conference, aimed at enhancing the capacities of African countries to finance and implement their climate and development projects.
Throughout the meetings, Mohieldin emphasized the importance of finding innovative solutions to provide the necessary financing, technology, and technical support to developing countries to face climate change.