The 27th United Nations (UN) Conference of the Parties (COP), which took place this November in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, marked a significant milestone in developing action against climate change.
Bringing together governments which have signed the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol or the Paris Agreement, COP27 held high-level and side events, critical negotiations, and press conferences, hosting more than 100 Heads of State and Governments, over 35,000 participants (the highest number of participants ever in a COP) and numerous pavilions showcasing climate action around the world and across different sectors.
Dr Amr Abdel-Aziz, President of Cairo-based Integral Consult – part of the global Inogen Alliance of environmental consulting firms, played an essential role at COP27, as a member of the presidency team serving as the Lead of the “Mitigation and Transparency” Teams. Serving as a negotiator to the series of Climate Change COP events since COP21 (2015) where the Paris Agreement was adopted, Dr Abdel-Aziz provided the Alliance with exclusive insight into this year’s landmark developments and future prospects.
In the midst of a weakened global economy and the war in Europe continuing to place strain on geopolitical relations, speculation as to whether COP27 could deliver measurable outcomes was a global concern. Despite the current economic and political issues, COP27 attendees positively engaged in developing and agreeing on new and emerging innovative projects for addressing climate change and its impacts.
‘Loss and Damage’ Fund Agreement
Climate change inequality, contributors and sufferers, has been a key agenda item at COP for many years.
“[T]he growing gravity, scope and frequency in all regions of loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, resulting in devastating economic and non-economic losses, including forced displacement and impacts on cultural heritage, human mobility and the lives and livelihoods of local communities, and underlines the importance of an adequate and effective response to loss and damage[.]” - Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan, VI. Loss and damage, 22. Page 4.
It has been 30 years since the principle of “Common but Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR)” was established at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. Addressing the differences across countries regarding the responsibility for causing climate change and the responsibility for mitigation, adaptation and recovery efforts, CBDR was adopted to create a shared moral responsibility globally.
In 2013, at COP19, ‘Loss and Damage, was introduced to address the economic and social losses incurred as a result of climate-related extreme weather events, such as that experienced during the floods in Pakistan and in the Somalian climate emergency and famine disaster.
"Vulnerable communities are the hardest hit by the effects of the climate crisis, leaving many families unprotected, and [resulting in] increasing displacement," said UNHCR’s representative in Somalia, Magatte Guisse. "The Somalia situation was already one of the most underfunded before this latest crisis."
Successfully, at COP27, the conference parties demonstrated a unified position, agreeing to develop a fund for loss and damage with its institutional infrastructure and funding plans to be defined over the course of next year. Over the next year, the Transactional Committee of 24 representatives from both developed and undeveloped countries will be delivering this technical work in preparation for agreed implementation at COP28, United Arab Emirates (UAE). This has been a significant step in the right direction for addressing climate change inequality.
‘Mitigation Work Program’ Development
COP27 was extended for several rounds of intense negotiations. Negotiations reached their peak with different priorities of the developing and developed countries addressing ambitious targets to take climate action and limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees celsius.
Currently, humanity uses the equivalent of 1.7 planets to provide the resources needed to produce goods and absorb waste (Global Footprint Network 2020). It’s quite clear that we’re not living sustainably. Human activity is overloading the natural carbon cycle. This is unequivocal and unsustainable (IPCC 2021). Seven years ago, at COP21, nearly every country in the world agreed to the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change, limiting global temperature increase to 2 degrees celsius and pursuing efforts to limit such increase to 1.5 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels, through climate change mitigation. In Glasgow in COP 26, Parties agreed to resolve to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees celsius.
Through the Mitigation Work Program, borne in COP27, countries will work together to identify potential emission reductions in various sectors and utilizing different technologies, which would help us reach the 1.5 degrees celsius target.
Dr Amr Abdel Aziz who, in addition to his role on the presidency, led the teams responsible for mitigation reported that the Mitigation Work Program aimed to scale up pre-2030 mitigation ambition and implementation for the 1.5˚C target.
During the past few years, coal has reemerged in the energy market. According to global energy think tank Ember, coal power rose by 9.0% in 2021 to 10,042 TWh, a new all-time high and 2% above the previous record set in 2018. This sharp increase in non-renewables fueled the debate on phasing out and phasing down fossil fuels, with measurable actions needed to be made in some of the world’s largest economies required to pull the brakes on global temperature increases.
COP27 recalled, stressed and reaffirmed all the issues related to mitigation, including coal phase-down, that came out of Glasgow, keeping the 1.5 ambition alive. Together, the Conference of the Parties showed strengthened action to mitigate Green House Gas emissions as well as boosting the financial, technical, technological and capacity building support to the developing countries.
Dr Amr Abdel Aziz commented on the outcomes of COP27 and his role as part on the presidency team stating;
“Wearing the Presidency hat is really tough. It's not an easy job at all, to facilitate the negotiations between parties and drive the agenda and conversation forward. Despite some struggles in the negotiations, I think we have in our evaluation a successful COP. The outcomes were far beyond our expectations with some historic progress made. I believe what we achieved at Sharm El Sheik was a balanced outcome for the parties and a clear reaffirmation of our global commitment to mitigate climate change.”
Going forward into the next COP, COP28 which will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), it is imperative that phasing down of fossil fuels progress is not hindered. The UAE is heavily reliant upon oil for its energy use currently. As it stands on the world stage, the UAE needs to demonstrate their commitment to moving away from fossil fuels for there to be a chance for the world to meet the ambitions of the Paris Agreement.
Inogen Alliance is a global network made up of dozens of independent local businesses and over 5,000 consultants around the world who can help make your project a success. Our Associates collaborate closely to serve multinational corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations, and we share knowledge and industry experience to provide the highest quality service to our clients. If you want to learn more about how you can work with Inogen Alliance, you can explore our Associates or Contact Us. Watch for more News & Blog updates here and follow us on LinkedIn.
About Dr Amr Abdel Aziz, President of Integral Consult
With extensive experience in the environment and energy sectors, Dr Abdel-Aziz works as an expert with several international organisations including the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and the World Bank.
Dr. Abdel Aziz has extensive experience as an author and reviewer of key climate research including acting as a lead reviewer for reviewing annex I parties national communications, biennial reports, and inventories and as an expert for the waste sector. Moreover, he is a Lead Author of the IPCC WGIII AR5 and AR6 reports and a former member of the IPCC Emission Factor Editorial Board.
He is also a voluntary advisor to HE the Minister of Environment. Dr Abdel-Aziz is an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Engineering Department of American University in Cairo where he teaches environmental systems and air pollution courses.
Additionally, Dr Abdel Aziz is a Member of the Methodologies Panel of the CDM Executive Board at the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC).
About Integral Consult
Established in 2004 as part of Shaker Consultancy Group, Integral Consult provides consultancy services in Environmental Impact Assessment, Energy Efficiency, Climate Change, Waste Management and Sustainability. Integral Consult is known to be the environmental consulting firm that helped craft Egypt’s national climate strategy, review Egypt’s NDCs for 2050 and Low-Emissions Development Strategy (LEDS), and plan environmentally medium and long-term strategies in a variety of sectors including energy, industry and waste. The 2050 review and LEDS subsequently enabled the revised emissions targets for 2030 in June 2022.
Operating globally as part of the Inogen Alliance delivers sustainable solutions to hundreds of leading industrial and non-industrial clients by helping them improve their environmental performance.