Climate Change Risk Management in Egypt

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Contents

Background

The national priority of Egypt is to reduce the burden of subsides as a means to reduce the country’s deficit and implement strategic policies that eliminate poverty and provide energy and water for the country’s 80 million people.

Achieving this priority has been difficult given that Egypt is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Current and future changes in climatic conditions constitute a major environmental risk that may jeopardize Egypt's development gains and efforts for poverty reduction. The country’s most vulnerable areas to climate change are: 1) coastal zones 2) water resources and 3) agriculture.

Strategy

The UN Joint Programme recognized that in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and ensure economic growth, poverty reduction, and social protection, Egypt’s natural resources had to be protected from the increased pressures of rapid population growth and climate change.

The Joint Programme is helping by combining mitigation and adaptation under one integrated Climate Risk Management (CRM) banner, with the aim to: 1) mainstream initiatives into national policy on greenhouse gas mitigation and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and to expand access to finance frameworks such as the global carbon trading market; and 2) enhance local capacities to adapt to the long term impacts of climate change.

Outcomes

Mitigation Outcomes:

  • Energy has gained higher importance in the Government.
  • The mainstreaming of energy efficiency as a greenhouse gas mitigation tool into national policy will be a gradual process that will be strengthened as the institutional setting matures.
  • The Supreme Energy Council component managed to establish an energy-efficiency focus by developing a National Energy Efficiency (EE) Roadmap. In addition, two new EE units have been established at the Tourism Development Authority and the Housing & Building Research Center to focus on the new tourism establishments outside of the Governorates and the new and existing building stock.
  • Market dialogues were initiated in three targeted sectors to promote solar water heaters as a national programme.
  • A Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Awareness and Promotion Unit (APU) was set up inside the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency and has gained credibility. It serves as a hub of information on the benefits of carbon trading and energy efficiency.
  • The CDM Awareness and Promotion Unit has provided technical assistance to the private sector to prepare Carbon Trading. As a result of the intervention, the Egyptian CDM Portfolio has been expanded to include 101 projects, where 28 of them have buyers and 12 of them are registered, with more in the pipeline for registration. It is estimated that the achievable Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) in the portfolio will reach 10 million tons of CERs per year.

Adaptation Outcomes:

  • The capacity of professionals has been developed for staff in the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation and the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation with an increased level of attention to climate change at the level of policy makers in the two Ministries. Climate Change resilient management plans will be developed after the studies are completed.
  • The National Water Research Center will complete the Strategy of Available Water Resources under varying climate change scenarios.
  • In the agricultural sector, the Agricultural Research Center (ARC) completed field experiments to make recommendations to policy makers as well as farmers to maximize productivity under climate change conditions.

Challenges

  • At the community level, many people were concerned about the presence of a non-profit organization, like the CDM Awareness and Promotion Unit, trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Egyptian Revolution in January 2011, and the subsequent changes in the government, impacted the pace of implementation of this Joint Programme.

Way Forward

The continuity of the objectives of this Programme and the necessity of partnering with the Government were key factors for ensuring the long-term sustainability of the initiative after the UN Joint Programme ends.

It is the Government’s mandate to continue to preserve energy and water resources. In particular, as energy is highly subsidized by the Government in Egypt, making it difficult to create interest in energy efficiency improvements, there is a need to create positive incentives on both demand and su

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