UK Minister for Africa James Duddridge has called on all participants at the second Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development to join the UK-Egypt led Adaptation Action Coalition.
The coalition commits countries to act on climate adaptation, integrate climate risk into all decision making, and increase the availability of adaptation financing.
This year’s forum, which was held virtually from 1-5 March, under the title “Shaping Africa’s New Normal: Recovering Stronger, Rebuilding Better”, is focused on the need to build back better, stronger, and greener.
Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, pre-existing vulnerabilities in many countries around the world, including Africa, have been exacerbated, destabilising people’s lives.
As a result, the forum aims to find solutions to ensure that African countries are able to deal and adapt to the ‘new normal’, in an effort to strengthen resilience.
One of the main topics this year is climate security. Duddridge addressed the forum’s participants in a pre-recorded speech, emphasising the risks of climate change and the need to act fast.
He asked African countries to join the Adaptation Action Coalition launched by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in January 2021.
Dudderidge noted that although Africa is least responsible for historical and current global emissions, the continent remains the most vulnerable to climate change. Therefore, the UK is keen to work with countries across the continent to encourage greater ambition on adaptation planning, while strengthening efforts amongst donor countries to increase access to climate finance.
In the run up to the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), which is set to take place in the Scottish city of Glasgow in November, the UK is also hosting the Climate Development Ministerial on 31 March.
This will convene countries, including Egypt, to identify practical steps that they can take together with key multilateral organisations, to support the delivery of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
UK COP26 Regional Ambassador Sir Nick Kay also took part in the climate security session, speaking on the importance of COP26.
The conference will provide an opportunity to champion a green economic recovery from COVID-19 across the continent, and drive global action on clean energy innovation and nature-based solutions.
The UK and Egypt have been cooperating on adaptation and resilience as well as clean energy innovation in the past years. The latest collaboration is the UK-established Energy Transition Council, which hosted its first national dialogue with Egypt to find ways to support Egypt in its clean energy transition.
Other sessions included in this year’s forum considered women, peace and security, as well as regional cooperation for peace in the Red Sea. UK Special Envoy for the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa, Julian Reilly, was also in attendance.
UK Ambassador to Egypt Sir Geoffrey Adams said, “We are proud to support the Aswan Forum for sustainable peace and development, bringing together African countries to explore African-led solutions to issues affecting the future of the continent.”
“It is vital that discussions like this take place, and especially so at present, as we all strive to ensure a resilient, sustainable and equitable recovery from COVID-19,” the Ambassador added, “This year and last at the Aswan Forum, the issues discussed have a direct bearing on the lives of millions, whether regarding climate security, or the role of women in society.”
Adams also said that the UK is committed to working with Egypt on these issues, in continuation of the support it has already given to many African countries in the implementation of their National Action Plans on women.
He added that the UK is leading the way on climate action, in preparation for COP26 later this year.
“I am confident that UK-Egypt partnership on these issues will continue to strengthen, and that we will continue to find ways to work together to meet the challenges, and seize the opportunities, that Africa presents,” the Ambassador said.