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  • Thursday, 07 December 2023

The Minister of International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Delivers the Closing Speech of the Sustainable Innovation Forum during COP28

● Al-Mashat stresses the need to strengthen partnerships between the government and private sectors to advance innovation in the field of sustainable development and climate action.

● Promoting the partnership with the United Nations through the United Nations Technology and Innovation initiative to formulate technology-based projects in various fields.

The Minister of International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, participated in the Sustainable Innovation Forum, held during COP28 in the United Arab Emirates, and organized by the non-profit Climate Action Foundation. The forum was attended by business leaders, governments, civil society, 1,000 decision-makers, investors, innovators, climate leaders, and about 150 speakers. The forum is intended to explore the urgent actions the world needs to promote a just transition towards green transformation, establish partnerships between sectors, and showcase innovative climate solutions that accelerate the pace of this transformation.

In her speech, Al-Mashat stressed the great importance of promoting innovation to achieve SDGs and accelerate the pace of climate action, pointing out that joint work between governments, the private sector, and civil society is the only way to bridge the gaps between current efforts and climate change.

H.E. pointed out that despite the current era being characterized by unprecedented technological development, at the same time, it faces complex and interconnected challenges as much as this development. The Minister added that companies and the private sector, as engines of economic growth, possess great potential, resources and innovation to lead the transformation towards a sustainable future. They are also required to invest more in green technologies and sustainable practices in order to reduce emissions and promote the green transition.

H.E. stressed the need for governments to create the appropriate environment and policies that enhance the ability of companies to innovate sustainably, encourage climate-smart investments, stimulate the development of renewable energy, and enhance sustainable consumption patterns, through clear measures, pointing out that the Egyptian government has launched constructive partnerships with development partners and the private sector to enhance Transitioning to a green and more sustainable future.

Al-Mashat also pointed to the vital role that entrepreneurs can play in developing innovative solutions in the field of climate change, which helps societies move towards a fair and equitable economy for all, and ensures that no one is left behind. To achieve this goal, H.E.  pointed out that the Ministry of International Cooperation, in cooperation with national agencies, development partners, and the private sector, launched the international Climatech Run competition during the COP27, emphasizing the importance of the contribution of entrepreneurship to the green transformation, and the importance of using technology in confronting climate change. The initiative witnessed a large response from startups from various countries around the world.

H.E. stated that the competition witnessed a large international turnout of more than 422 emerging companies from 77 countries from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australia applying to participate in the climate track, and more than 166 artists from 55 countries, including 16 artists from Africa, applied to the artistic track, and honored 5 emerging companies from Africa and countries around the world.

Al-Mashat continued that in 2023, and in response to the large demand from companies in the first edition of the competition, the competition provided an opportunity for those startups that did not get a chance to apply in the 1st round. 

In the 2nd edition, three additional selection criteria were added for emerging companies, represented by growth, flexibility, and innovation, with the aim of identifying startups that have the potential to make a significant positive change to the environment and society, develop innovative solutions to combat climate change, and expand mitigation and adaptation ideas and solutions. 

Indeed, 3 startups have qualified for the final stage of the competition to participate in COP28; Powerstove from Nigeria, which specializes in renewable energy solutions in developing countries, FreshSource from Egypt, which specializes in agricultural supply chain solutions in the Middle East and North Africa region and promoting sustainable food systems, and Kumulus from Tunisia, which specializes in solutions for providing clean drinking water using solar energy.

Al-Mashat also referred to the partnership between the government and the United Nations through the UNSDCF 2023-2027 and the initiative of the United Nations Joint Technology and Innovation  (JTDI) Working Group, to crystallize ideas about projects based on technology and innovation in various sectors. 

H.E. also pointed out to the second workshop on climate action and strengthening digital ecosystems through the components of the NWFE  program, in a way that drives innovation and partnership between the government and private sectors, builds capabilities, and enhances interaction between relevant parties to promote project ideas and solutions based on innovation to promote sustainable development.

Additionally, Al-Mashat participated as a keynote speaker in the session organized by Forbes, on “Enhancing the Power of Private Sector Investments for Sustainability,” where she was interviewed by Sarah El Battouty, United Nations Ambassador for the Climate Change Initiative. The session witnessed a discussion of the importance of financing and investments from the private sector to enhance sustainability, drive climate action, and bridge the financing gap faced by climate action efforts globally.