Wednesday,20 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1390, (19 - 25 April 2018)
Wednesday,20 February, 2019
Issue 1390, (19 - 25 April 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Adapting to climate change

Mai Samih finds out how developed countries are helping developing ones adapt to climate change

Adapting to climate change
Adapting to climate change

Egypt hosted the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs Expos) meeting from 4 to 6 April in Sharm El-Sheikh that discussed ways of adapting to climate change. It was organised by the Least Developed Countries Expert Group in collaboration with global support programmes for NAPs, and other partner organisations. It was the fifth in a series of NAP Expos held in recent years. 

Minister of the Environment Khaled Fahmi said that 200 participants from the Least Developed Countries had attended representing different fields. The event was also attended by representatives of United Nations agencies, Green Climate Fund representatives, civil society representatives, scientists, and private-sector representatives, among others. 

“The event is held annually to discuss problems of adapting to climate change. It is organised by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC] with the aim of reinforcing the processes of exchanging experiences and partnerships between a wide array of actors and stakeholders on how to develop appropriate NAPs,” Fahmi explained.

A group of UNFCCC experts attended the event, and these will work with a team of legal experts to provide technical support for shaping national work programmes for adaptation to climate change in developing countries. This is in addition to raising the awareness of decision-makers about actions that can support adaptation measures in different fields and thus help deal with the dangers of climate change, a ministry press release said.    

“Egypt has a major role to play this year in the negotiations, by itself as an individual country and through its leadership role in the G77 Group of nations and in the African Group at the UN. This will make its contributions even more important because Egypt will be crucial in order to get good agreements and find common grounds in order to be able to finalise guidelines for implementing the Paris Agreement at the upcoming conference in Poland,” commented Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Patricia Espinosa.

“This meeting on national adaptation programmes was particularly relevant for countries that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which is the case of Egypt. So, first of all to hold a meeting in Egypt was very significant because it underlines the importance of the effects of climate change for many countries. At the same time, the meeting was very well attended, and it provided a good framework for exchanges on possible technological solutions to implement adaptation activities and on financing for adaptation. It also allowed for exchanges on important and successful experiences elsewhere,” she said.

 A new champion on adaptation was designated at the meeting in the shape of an Egyptian entrepreneur engaged in smart desert agriculture, she added.

Commenting on how developed countries could help developing countries overcome the threats of climate change, Espinosa said that “the systems the Paris Agreement has broadly put in place foresee two important areas of work. One has to do with commitments by countries to implement actions at a national and local level in all areas of the economy. The other has to do with the obligation of developed countries to support the efforts of developing countries in implementing those programmes. A big part of the negotiations will be about how to ensure transparency and how to make sure that this support is provided to developing countries,” she said.

Specific areas in the Paris Agreement have to do with the provision of resources for programmes in developing countries and with the transfer of technologies for solutions needed in them. Capacity building is important, as some areas are very technical and require countries to develop capacities and human resources able to deal with specific challenges, Espinosa told Al-Ahram Weekly

According to the event’s website, the objectives included providing a platform for focused interactions between parties and non-party stakeholders to the Paris Agreement on the formulation and implementation of NAPs. In addition to serving as a forum for sharing experience, best practices, lessons learned, gaps and needs and information on support provided and received in relation to formulating and implementing NAPs, the meeting also offered a platform for countries to interact with the UN Global Environment Facility and other agencies to improve access to financing for NAPs. 

It also aimed to serve as a global forum on NAPs where different organisations and bodies could conduct specialised meetings and workshops with a view to ensuring coherence among approaches in countries undertaking the process.

Regarding the upcoming Poland conference on the Paris Agreement, Espinosa said “I am hoping and expecting that we will be able to finalise guidelines for implementing the Paris Agreement, or what we call the Paris Agreement Work Programme, and I am also hoping that we will be able to have good discussions on the pre-2020 commitments that were made by the parties.”

“At the same time, I hope we will be able to see good and productive outcomes from the Talanoa Dialogue that will be held throughout the year bringing together non-party stakeholders like businesses, investors, academics and civil society with parties and policy-makers. We are hopeful that we can deliver all of that,” she concluded.

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