Bringing together experts and leaders across different sectors and industries in the region, with participants from more than 30 countries, the EDF zeroed in on environmental and developmental issues related to climate change and action
Centering on climate change adaptation and mitigation, with a particular focus on water resources, the Environment and Development Forum 2022 (EDF) highlighted climate change’s impact and solutions with over 50 speakers during the forum’s 3-day run between September 11 and 13.
The forum, convened by the Arab Water Council under the patronage the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Environment, was held under the theme of "The Road to Sharm El Sheikh Climate Change COP27." The forum focused on six main themes; water resources, biodiversity and oceans, agriculture and food security, climate cross cutting issues, solutions & tools, energy and sustainable growth and cities.
Bringing together experts and leaders across different sectors and industries in the region, with participants from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Switzerland and more, the EDF zeroed in on environmental and developmental issues related to climate change and action.
"We hope to promote a better understanding of the management of water resources in our region during the EDF 2022 Forum and how a scientific approach and awareness can help us achieve good water governance… We need strategies, roadmaps and technologies that address environmental issues, and we hope that knowledge-sharing at the forum will help us all achieve new milestones," explained Professor Mahmoud Abu-Zeid, Arab Water Council President, World Water Council Honorary President, and Former Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation of Egypt.
During the opening ceremony, United Nations Resident Coordinator for Egypt Elena Panova stated that “The one thing to realize is that [the road to energy transition and building] resilience to climate change doesn’t end in November. Rather it needs commitment and working together [to achieve our goals].”
UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Egypt, Mahmoud Mohieldin, stressed on the importance of dealing with climate change and tackling it within the framework of sustainable development, as well as financing these efforts, during his opening speech.
Several speakers echoed Mohieldin’s sentiment, including program management officer at the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Joanna Post, who called upon countries to make an honest assessment of their current plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and showcase how they will transform their financial systems and align financial flows with their climate change commitments.
“Climate change impact is transboundary,” explained Kahled Abu-Zeid, regional water resources director of Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE), who spoke on the impact of climate change on the water sector and adaptation opportunities.
The relationship between green initiatives and its impact on economies was a major topic throughout the 3-day forum, from its sessions dedicated to green financing to other non-finance centered panels.
“75-80% materials used to produce single-use plastic bags are imported… we are using foreign currency to create plastic bags, and I don’t believe that this is a wise use of foreign currency,” stated Hossam Allam, regional director for sustainable growth at CEDARE. Allam also highlighted the impact of single-use plastics on Egypt’s environment and subsequent effect on tourism, pointing out that it damages tourism and development efforts as plastic attaches itself to coral reefs, killing them and “ruining millions” in terms of development efforts.
Mahmoud Abu-Zeid called on countries to provide financial support for the “Green Fund,” and to achieve a balance of funding between adaptation and mitigation projects in order to accomplish achieving the sixth goal of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are also economically and socially aligned with the first and second SDGs of combating poverty and hunger.
The EDF registered over 750 participants from over 30 countries throughout the 3-day event, highlighting the organizations and individuals committed to driving change, reducing their carbon emissions and building more sustainable futures for their businesses.