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  • Sunday, 19 July 2020
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Ministers of Environment, International Cooperation and Local Development Participate at the Concluding Meetings of the WB's Mission on GCAPMCC Project

The Ministers of Environment, International Cooperation and Local Development participated at the concluding meeting of the World Bank's (WB) mission in Egypt to stand on the results and outcomes of the mission's task to prepare for the Greater Cairo Air Pollution Management and Climate Change Project to be financed with $ 200 million, thereby paving way to move on to the negotiation phase. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Ministries of Health, Housing, Planning and Transport as well as Qalyubia Governor, Deputy Governor of Giza, and representatives of the WB and the project's task forces.

The Minister of Environment Dr. Yasmin Fouad stated that the project aimed to improve air quality in Greater Cairo and mitigate the impacts of climate change in light of the political directives to accelerate addressing this phenomenon. She mentioned that the project's final consultation document was finalized and cadres at the Ministry of Environment (MOE) were set to establish a project coordination unit. Dr. Fouad commended the WB's support over the past two years, particularly in the studies on air pollution and its environmental implications on Greater Cairo, and the data developed by the Ministry's environmental monitoring system which demonstrated that open waste burning was one of the principal causes of the air pollution problem. The key factor for the project's success was effective coordination and cooperation between relevant ministries and stakeholders to overcome all difficulties, ascertained Dr. Fouad, while commending MOIC's role in supporting this project, putting it into effect and finalizing its procedures. On her part, the Minister of International Cooperation Dr. Rania Al-Mashat emphasized the importance of investments that supported combating climate change and environmental issues in Egypt, given that the project supported the state's "green recovery" plan, besides taking preventive measures either with regard to air pollution or solid waste, owing to the direct relation between pollution and citizens' health, referring to the close cooperation between MOIC and MOE in this regard. Further, Dr. Al-Mashat pointed out that MOIC was ready to commence negotiations with the WB on this significant project and to provide all possible support for finalizing the procedures necessary for commencing project implementation due to its significance in realizing the SDGs. The Minister of Local Development Maj. Gen. Mahmoud Shaarawy reiterated that the Ministry was keen on the success of projects implemented in collaboration with all international partners, topped by the WB, in light of the joint cooperation in the Air Quality Improvement Project in Greater Cairo (Cairo – Giza – Qalyubia) to restrict air pollution and implement the main solid waste system scheme in Greater Cairo. An integrated complex for waste recycling, treatment and disposal would be established in the 10th of Ramadan City over 1200 acres for solid, medical, demolition, construction and hazardous waste, stated Maj. Gen. Shaarawy. Moreover, he shed light on the project's significance in reducing emissions from vehicles and buses of the Public Transportation Authority (PTA) and in converting them into environmentally friendly units, in line with the Egyptian state's efforts to use new energy and expand the use of electric buses run by natural gas based on the directives of the political leadership in this regard. He also reiterated the importance of continuous cooperation between task forces of relevant ministries and the WB to follow up on all developments on ground, thereby overcome any obstacles or challenges. "Air pollution is one of the most dangerous environmental problems in Greater Cairo and Egypt has been keen on including the environmental protection cause in its national plans, particularly the Sustainable Development Strategy. The WB and the Egyptian Government held a high-level meeting to discuss details of the GCAPMCC Project aiming to reduce air pollution, a fundamental step towards improving air quality in Greater Cairo and improving citizens' health," stated Regional Director of WB's Office in Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti Marina Weiss. Within this context, the Governor of Qalyubia Maj. Gen. Abdul Hamid Al-Hagan confirmed that there were attempts to improve the garbage system in the governorate through establishing a new waste management and recycling unit in collaboration with MOE and the Waste Management Regulatory Authority (WMRA) to benefit from experts in the field, in addition to increasing the number of intermediate stations in the governorate and the number of equipment, and establishing new landfills that absorb the largest amounts of waste. It is worth noting that during the period from 7 to 16 July 2020, WB's mission held several meetings with officials in Egypt in preparation for the project's negotiations, during which the project's objectives and components were discussed. The project will be implemented in collaboration with several relevant agencies, namely the Ministries of Environment, Local Development, Transportation and Health, as well as the Governorates of Qalyubia, Cairo and Giza, and CTA. It will enhance capabilities to respond to environmental risks and strengthen community engagement in environmental issues. The ongoing projects' portfolio with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) includes 16 projects worth $ 4.9 billion in the areas of social housing, health, education, social safety networks, oil, local development, sanitation, transportation, SMEs, investment and the environment.