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  • Tuesday, 26 September 2023

Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat Participates in “Nature as Infrastructure” Discussion at the 2023 AIIB Annual Meetings in Sharm El-Sheikh

The Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat participated in a discussion session titled “Nature as Infrastructure” within the 2023 Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) annual meetings in Sharm El-Sheikh with the AIIB’s  Chief Economist, Dr. Eric Berglof, Senior Climate Change and Biodiversity Advisor UNDCO Aban Marker Kabraji, Executive Director of Nature Finance, Dr. Simon Zadek, and the session was moderated by Co-founder and CEO of Verityv Analytics, Dr. Samah El-Shahat.

The session discussed the report scheduled to be issued by the AIIB on stimulating investment in nature, “Nature as Infrastructure”, its importance in driving economic growth, the importance of consistency between infrastructure projects, preserving nature and the environment, protecting biodiversity through nature-based solutions, addressing social and economic environment challenges effectively through these solutions, and increasing investments in projects that preserve nature.

In her speech, Al-Mashat stressed the importance of nature-based solutions amid the global momentum around consolidating sustainability and the importance of sustainable development projects for sustainable economies, noting that sustainability and development are two interconnected concepts, so it is necessary to integrate factors of sustainability and nature preservation into infrastructure projects.

H.E. indicated that consolidating the concepts of sustainability and environmental preservation in infrastructure projects achieves many benefits, the most important of which is enhancing the ability to withstand climate change, preserving the environment and biodiversity, and accessing green infrastructure that achieves sustainable and comprehensive development.

Al-Mashat also spoke about the efforts made to mobilize climate action in light of Egypt’s presidency of COP27, pointing out that financing climate change adaptation solutions and nature-based solutions in the field of infrastructure has become necessary, in light of the lack of funding available for adaptation and nature financing solutions globally according to the Global Commission on Adaptation.

H.E. stated that the Ministry of International Cooperation, within the framework of Egypt’s presidency of COP27, launched two important initiatives to advance financing efforts in the sectors of mitigation and adaptation to climate change, the first of which is the “Sharm El-Sheikh Guidebook for Just Financing,” which provides solutions and practical principles to enhance the viability of investment in climate projects and identifies the relevant parties in order to close the climate financing gap, it sets an actionable agenda for access to equitable financing.

Al-Mashat also indicated that the second initiative relates to the Nexus for Water, Food and Energy Platform, NWFE Program, the linkage between water, food and energy projects, which includes 9 priority projects in the areas of mitigation and adaptation to the repercussions of climate change, and works to mobilize climate investments, concessional development financing, and debt swaps and technical support, through joint cooperation with multilateral and bilateral development partners.

H.E. noted that the NWFE program includes many projects to adapt to climate change, aiming to reduce the negative effects of climate change and increase the ability to adapt. Among these projects is enhancing adaptation in the northern Delta region affected by sea level rise, and stimulating the ability to withstand. In the most affected areas, adapting crop production in the Nile Valley and Delta, and improving agricultural resilience in the face of climate change.

H.E. further stressed the importance of climate investments in the field of adaptation to climate change, especially in the climate sector, as they contribute to saving costs, increasing energy generation, and improving the ability to access natural resources. Therefore, it is necessary to provide innovative financing models and tools that mobilize private capital to implement these projects and enhance Nature-based solutions.

Al-Mashat pointed to the importance of south-south cooperation in the context of promoting investment in nature, referring to the project implemented by the Government of Egypt to expand the cultivation of mangrove trees on the coast of the Red Sea to contribute to confronting climate change and promoting environmental investment. H.E. also stressed the importance of involving non-profit organizations and stimulating development grants for investment projects in nature that involve all development partners, the role of non-profit organizations and stimulating development grants for projects investing in nature given the involvement of non-profit organizations and global momentum, a grant outcome is possible.

It is worth noting that since Egypt joined AIIB, the bank has contributed to financing a number of projects that come in light of the state’s strategic priority for the government and private sectors, with the portfolio recording about $1.3 billion, in various infrastructure sectors, in order to promote sustainable and comprehensive economic development.