COP26 President Designate, Alok Sharma, has concluded a four-day visit to Egypt and Nigeria as he continues to drive progress on Africa’s priorities for the climate crisis, including greater action for adaptation to the effects of climate damage and increased financing.
Egypt and Nigeria are two of Africa’s largest economies and emitters of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs). Egypt also leads regional efforts to transition to clean energy and is an important voice in the climate negotiations for the Middle East and Africa.
In both countries, Mr Sharma emphasised the importance of submitting more ambitious and measurable short term climate action plans through NDCs (Nationally Determined Contribution) and long term strategies to reach net zero emissions by 2050, to align line with the Paris Agreement goal to limit global temperature rises to well below two degrees and pursue best efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C.
In Cairo, Sharma discussed the UK and Egypt’s joint work on adaptation and resilience and opportunities to build back greener from the pandemic with Prime Minister, Mustafa Madbouly, and other government Ministers, including the Deputy Foreign Minister, Minister of Environment, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy and Minister of Finance.
He met Vice-President Osinbajo in Abuja, and spoke about the importance of Nigeria’s leadership in climate action and noting the country’s potential to mobilise its young population and transition to renewable energy.
Mr Sharma also met with the Ministers of the Environment and Finance, and the Chief of Staff to the President to discuss the progress that Nigeria is making on both mitigation and adaptation. Mr Sharma welcomed the removal of the petroleum subsidy and encouraged more renewable energy to be added to the grid which will provide greater access to electricity for Nigerians.
Following his visit, COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma said:
Egypt’s engagement on COP26 is critical, both as a prominent regional voice in the climate negotiations, but also as an innovator and provider of adaptation solutions.
It is home to one of Africa’s largest solar farms, “Benban”, which is supported by UK funding. The country expects to exceed its current target of 20 percent renewable energy by 2022, and is aiming for up to 50 percent by 2035. It has also taken a lead on shifting away from future coal, having shelved plans for the Hamrawein plant, Egypt’s last coal fired plant, in favour of renewable alternatives. Alok Sharma encouraged Egypt to showcase this leadership by joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA).
Nigeria is a major player on the continent, both in terms of its population size and its economic influence. Forty three per cent of its population is below the age of 15 and 60 percent of the population now lives in urban environments. It is Africa’s second largest emitter of GHGs and has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. While heavily reliant on oil and gas, the country has the potential to generate its own renewable energy and their May 2020 Economic Sustainability Plan has committed to extend the Solar Homes Systems to some five million households. From a climate change perspective, it faces both significant challenges but also has huge opportunities.
Nigeria’s Minister for the Environment, Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, said:
A spokesperson from the Office of the Egyptian Prime Minister said:
In both countries, Sharma met with grassroot activists and civil society organisations to discuss the importance of an ‘all of society approach’ to tackling climate issues. In its COP Presidency the UK is engaging with people from all sectors working on the climate agenda, including youth activists, entrepreneurs and those focusing on women’s empowerment and inclusion.
Shady Khalil, Co-Founder of Greenish said:
Rita Idehai, Social entrepreneur and Climate Change Activist said:
From Egypt and Nigeria, Sharma will now travel on to India and Nepal where he will meet with leaders from government, business and civil society to hear how climate change is impacting communities and to discuss solutions.
- The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 1 – 12 November 2021.