Egypt calls for pledge fulfillments at climate conference

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s foreign minister Wednesday urged world leaders and negotiators to deliver on previously made pledges to battle climate change ahead of this month’s U.N. summit.

Sameh Shoukry, the president of the COP27 climate change conference to be held in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on Nov. 6-18, said participants should aim to take “meaningful and tangible steps” to implement the 2015 Paris climate accord.

The Paris Agreement aims to keep global temperatures from rising another degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) between now and 2100, a key demand of poor countries ravaged by rising sea levels and other effects of climate change. Last year’s summit in Glasgow produced a compromise deal aimed at keeping that key global warming target alive.

“We aim to restore the ‘grand bargain’ at the center of the Paris Agreement and our collective multilateral climate process,” Shoukry said in a four-page letter to world leaders and delegates taking part in the COP27.

“This year the picture is less encouraging,” he said, warning of backsliding on the delivery of finance pledges to developing countries to increase their efforts to address climate change.

Shoukry said the summit comes amid uphill challenges including the failure of the G-20 meeting of industrial and emerging-market nations earlier this year to produce an agreement on environment. He also pointed to a lack of “concrete agreements” to allow financial support to address the impacts of climate change during the fall meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The annual conference convenes 197 nations for deliberations on how to address climate change. The COP27 comes as the world faces an energy crisis and a war in Europe that have rattled the global economy.

In recent years, many developing nations and activists have increased long-standing calls to establish a fund to compensate poor countries for devastation brought about by climate change, disproportionately caused by rich countries because of past emissions.

The call was rejected during last year’s summit. Many supporters of the idea, often called “loss and damage,” hope to make progress on it this month. Their arguments could get a boost by the symbolic significance of this conference being held in Egypt, a developing nation in North Africa.

The Egyptian minister said “significant progress” was achieved over the past year, including a $40 billion resilience fund created by the IMF, and the Green Climate Fund which provides some $2.5 billion a year to support developing countries addressing impacts of climate change.

“This progress proves that when there is political will, a sense of urgency and a functional structure, we can collectively make strides in our joint effort to combat climate change,” he said.

He called for countries to launch “implementation frameworks” stemming from the negotiating process of the U.N. climate change convention.

“COP27 creates a unique opportunity for the world to come together, mend multilateralism, rebuild trust and unite at the highest political levels to address climate change,” he said.

The conference, dubbed “Africa COP,” centers around financial aid to poor countries struggling to cope with the impacts of climate change. It is expected to draw more than 45,000 delegates, including President Joe Biden, and over 100 head of states and governments.

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