Prime Minister Sherif Ismail addressed African leaders on behalf of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi at the sixth session of the African Ministers Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), currently held in Cairo.
This year’s session follows the adoption of a historic agreement on climate change in December 2015 during the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations (COP21). It was also preceded by the introduction of the UN’s new sustainable development goals (SDGs) in September 2015 for the next 15 years, which address climate change as one of the main goals.
Ismail said climate change and development issues currently top the agendas of African countries, adding that Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate change effects, despite contributing the least amounts of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
Moreover, he highlighted other key challenges in security, politics and economy facing the African continent. “We should combat those challenges together by promoting bilateral work,” Ismail said.
According to Ismail, Egypt is committed to continuing its contributions to developing the capacities of African nations through several national mechanisms, including the Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development (EAPD), which was established in 2014.
He added that the environment is one of the cornerstones of the Egypt 2030 strategy. “The strategy falls in line with the climate change goals, which include advancing the quality of life and providing clean sources of energy.”
Egypt sent the 2030 strategy to the parliament at the end of March for further review.
The theme of the sixth session of AMCEN is “Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement: From policy to implementation in Africa”.
Among the topics included in the AMCEN agenda are the African common strategy on combating illegal trade of wild fauna and flora and implementation of the regional flagship programmes, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
UNEP Deputy Executive Director Ibrahim Thiaw said on Monday that the illegal trade of wild fauna and flora is the most threatening issue for Africa’s development strategy.
According to Thiaw, Africa has the largest wealth of natural resources worldwide. “Sustaining such resources requires reallocation of funds and adaptation strategies to the diminishing resources and also the population increase.”