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  • Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Placing Food Security, Clean Energy, & Climate Action at the Center: This Week’s Highlights at the Ministry of International Cooperation

Minister of International Cooperation met with Regional Director of World Food Programme on COP27, the “NWFE Program”, & the 2nd Edition of the Egypt - ICF 

Al-Mashat discussed the Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) with the World Bank Group, and the WBG’s participation in the “NWFE Program”.

The Minister met with the IFC on joint cooperation in climate action & stimulating private sector participation in the green transition. 

On Cooperation with the World Food Programme:

In line with the strategic partnerships between the Government of Egypt and the United Nations, and its affiliated agencies, the Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat met with the World Food Programme's (WFP) Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Corinne Fleischer. 

This took place in the presence of Praveen Agrawal, the Representative & Country Director for Egypt at the WFP, and several representatives from the Ministry of International Cooperation.

During the meeting, they discussed several cooperation files, including opportunities for partnerships ahead of COP27, and the importance of strengthening joint works with international institutions and development partners to advance climate action. They also discussed the recently launched “NWFE Program”, addressing progress in the water, food, and energy sectors, in line with the National Strategy for Climate Change 2050.

Moreover, Al-Mashat stressed the Government of Egypt’s keenness on the effective participation of development partners, international financial institutions, multilateral development banks, as well as the private sector, in financing the list of projects within the “NWFE Program”. 

H.E. added that this level of cooperation is of paramount importance to overcome the repercussions of climate change, so as to move from pledges to implementation, while also taking into account the benefits of utilizing climate finance in developing and emerging economies in financing adaptation projects to enhance food security efforts in Egypt.

The Minister also looked into the WFP’s participation in COP27, especially in line with the UN’s strategic partnership with Egypt, and its role in promoting joint action and cooperation in supporting agricultural resilience, thus enhancing food security in the face of current crises and global shocks. 

In that light, Al-Mashat also pointed out the importance of joint cooperation with the WFP in the “National School Feeding Program”, supporting the country’s efforts, and in the ClimaTech competition, also supported by the WFP to stimulate innovation and technology in addressing climate change. 

Additionally, H.E. discussed the WFP’s participation in the second edition of the Egypt - International Cooperation Forum (Egypt - ICF), which will be an opportunity to enhance joint action and to discuss key messages and activities that will be implemented in COP27; all while gathering finance and environment ministers from the African continent.

Towards the end of the meeting, Al-Mashat applauded the continuous cooperation and coordination between the two teams of the Ministry of International Cooperation and the WFP, in preparing the 2023-2027 country strategy. The WFP representatives also affirmed their keenness on enhancing cooperation with the Ministry, along with their participation in the COP27. They also praised the launch of the “NWFE Program” in promoting development efforts in vital sectors such as energy, food, and water.

The current portfolio between Egypt and the World Food Program amounts to $586 million in a variety of sectors, the most important of which is the development of rural Egypt, where there are currently projects implemented in 63 villages in 5 governorates. 

With the World Bank Group on Green Projects:

During the week’s activities, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat also met with the World Bank Group (WBG) on the Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) and the bank’s participation in the “NWFE Program” in providing developing financing to a list of green projects in energy, food and water. This meeting included Robert Jaoude, the World Bank Operations Manager, and the CCDR working group. 

In early July, the Minister had held a meeting with 15 national entities, including the participation of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, to discuss the report’s first draft and comments of national entities. 

The CCDR for Egypt reviews how climate change affects development efforts and the SDGs. It also takes into account the steps and measures taken by the state in various fields to enhance green transformation efforts, while also combating climate change and monitoring the country’s economic resilience.

For her part, Al-Mashat stressed the importance of the CCDR for Egypt, as it comes at a vital time in preparation for the COP27, and also while the country is taking successive steps in supporting the green transformation. The Minister elaborated that the CCDR aims to assess the risks of climate change, and identify opportunities for mitigation and adaptation actions, with a focus on water and agriculture, energy and industry, and resilient cities and coastal economies. It also represents a new pillar of the development cooperation between Egypt and the bank, while working to enhance implementation of the National Strategy for Climate Change 2050.

Regarding the same topic, Al-Mashat spoke with Marina Wes, the World Bank’s Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti on the “NWFE Program”, on potential areas for development cooperation in energy, food, and water; in line with the National Strategy for Climate Change 2050, and in light of COP27. 

Moreover, Al-Mashat noted the importance of the strategic partnership between the Government of Egypt and the World Bank, which is reflected in several development efforts through effective development cooperation. The upcoming 2023 - 2027 country strategy with the World Bank will also represent new opportunities, aiming to stimulate job creation and private sector cooperation, investment in human capital, and strengthen governance and regional integration, while also creating greater resilience to shocks. 

To that end, Al-Mashat noted the government’s commitment to effective cooperation with development partners, international financial institutions, multilateral development banks, and private sector, as coordination and partnerships are key to overcoming the repercussions of climate change, paving the way for moving from pledges to implementation and stimulating climate finance in developing and emerging economies. 

Recently, through partnerships with the Ministry of International Cooperation, a $500 million development financing agreement with the World Bank to enhance the resilience of Egypt’s agriculture sector, was approved; mitigating the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war on food security. 

It is worth noting that the ongoing development cooperation portfolio between Egypt and the World Bank includes 15 projects, worth $5.18 billion, addressing several sectors: transportation, education, housing, health, social protection, petroleum, housing, sanitation, local development, and environment. 

On “NWFE Program” with the IFC:

On Tuesday, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat met with representatives from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), including Cheick-Oumar Sylla, the Regional Director for North Africa; Vivek Pathak, the Global Head and Director of Climate Business; and Yasmine El-Hini, the Egypt Country Officer at IFC.

During the meeting, they discussed the “NWFE Program”, launched by the Ministry of International Cooperation to leverage support for energy, water, and food projects in Egypt, as per directives by the Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, promoting green projects for cooperation opportunities, especially in light of COP27. 

Al-Mashat stressed the importance of cooperation and coordination with multilateral and bilateral development partners to advance development cooperation, while advancing the country’s green transition.     

Al-Mashat added that Egypt holds strong relations with multilateral and bilateral development partners, including the IFC which have contributed to the implementation of pioneering green projects, including the Benban Solar Park, Gabal Al-Asfar Wastewater Treatment Plant, and Bahr El Baqar Water Treatment Plant, as well as the participation of different development partners in metro projects, including cooperation with the private sector. 

Moreover, Al-Mashat noted the IFC’s cooperation in terms of COP27 and its “Finance Day”, also mentioning the future partnerships with the bank in green projects, and an upcoming mission visit to Egypt next September. 

In the same context, H.E. stressed the importance of blended financing mechanisms and innovative financing to stimulate private sector participation. 

For his part, Vivek Pathak, the Global Head and Director of Climate Business, emphasized the importance of reducing harmful emissions, enhancing the sustainability of cities, biodiversity, and achieving the blue economy within the framework of sustainable development. Pathak also noted the IFC’s commitment to supporting the Government of Egypt in investing in green hydrogen and renewable technologies, among other areas, also highlighting the role of the private sector in development.

During the past year, IFC provided $248 million to the private sector, including the first green bonds for the private sector for the Commercial International Bank (CIB), worth $100 million. It is also worth noting that the current cooperation portfolio between Egypt and the IFC amounts to $1.2 billion, addressing several sectors including health, education, industry, agriculture, businesses, financial markets, and tourism.