History of Climate Change Negotiations and the Arab Countries The Case of Egypt | Ifi Research Report
Research Report | July 2014
History of Climate Change Negotiations and the Arab Countries The Case of Egypt by Ibrahim Abdel Gelil
Even though Egypt’s share of Global Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) emissions is less than 1 %, Egypt has proved to be one of the most vulnerable countries to the potential risks of climate change. The most vulnerable sectors include coastal zones, water resources, and agriculture. Estimates show that a Sea Level Rise would lead to the permanent submersion of large areas of cropland in the Nile Delta, and accelerate the trend of desertification that is worsening the already fragile situation of food security. In the meantime, the energy policy of Egypt aims to improve efficiency, switch to low carbon fuels, and promote renewable energy resources, which have all proven to be climate friendly policies. These two factors, Egypt’s vulnerability and its energy policy are the two main drivers of its climate change policy. At an early stage recognizing the importance of the climate change issue to its future development, Egypt has actively participated in the efforts of the international community to address it since signing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992. The country has been successful in developing a relatively mature climate policy framework, which in turn plays an instrumental role in attracting donor funding, crucial in assessing vulnerability and adaptation strategies, building national capacity, and benefiting from the clean development mechanism of the Kyoto protocol (KP). This paper outlines Egypt’s vulnerability to potential impacts of climate change, analyses Egypt’s involvement in the climate change negotiations process, and sheds light on the major developments of national positions throughout the course of the negotiations up to the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP 18) in Doha in 2012. Analysis shows active involvement on Egypt’s part in the global climate regime and alignment of Egypt’s position to that of other developing countries’, especially the Arab and African groups. The major shift in Egypt’s position observed throughout the negotiations process is the concession regarding its commitment to reduce GHGs emissions, which they had rejected since 1992. This shift took place gradually, starting with Egypt’s acceptance of the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) in Cancun, followed by its acceptance to negotiate a legally binding instrument applicable to all, in Durban in 2011. It is evident that Egypt, together with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), has been playing a leading role within the Arab group irrespective of its own divergent national interests.