COP President calls climate protection aid for poorer countries “tiny”

Samih Shukri

This year’s UN climate conference begins on November 6 in the Egyptian seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

(Photo: dpa)

Cairo The President-elect of the UN climate conference COP27, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Samih Schukri, has called for more financial aid for poorer countries. The previous aid was “without real influence” in the fight against global warming, said Schukri of the German Press Agency in Cairo. “I don’t want to downplay the commitments. But $100 billion on a global scale, based on the capabilities of developed countries, some of whose budgets are in the trillions of dollars—that’s tiny.”

This year’s UN climate conference begins on November 6 in the Egyptian seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. There, representatives from around 200 countries will then spend two weeks debating how global warming can be curbed. It is also about further financial aid against damage caused by climate-related extreme weather. Developing countries have been demanding more money for this for many years. The summit will take place in Africa for the first time since 2016.

“How we make these funds available is a question of the collective will of the parties and the world community,” said Schukri. Rich and poor countries are equally affected – “regardless of what seas may lie between them”. The Egyptian foreign minister cited the flood disaster in Pakistan and the destruction caused by storms on the US east coast as examples. “We’re all sitting in the same boat.”

The rich countries had actually promised to mobilize 100 billion US dollars (about 100 billion euros at today’s exchange rate) every year from 2020 to 2025 for climate protection in poorer countries. So far, a one-off amount of 83 billion dollars has been raised, and follow-up financing is not secured. “There is a lack of trust,” Schukri said. Countries “have not necessarily fulfilled their previously made commitments”. Both poor African countries and the “broad community of developing countries” therefore have expectations of richer countries.

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The assumption that the goal of at most 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming has long been out of reach, has its justification, said Schukri. “But that really doesn’t help us for the future.” Instead, the goal must be to build trust. Sharm el Sheikh – known as a holiday resort with hotels, beaches and shopping streets – has now been pimped up for the more than 30,000 expected participants.

Climate activists are to demonstrate in a specific zone near the conference center. In the North African country, protests are otherwise extremely rare and effectively forbidden. According to human rights activists, hundreds were arrested during demonstrations in 2020, before protests were also bloodily suppressed.

Protests in North Africa: Human rights activists criticize “mass espionage”

“We absolutely want civil society to be present and given the same rights and privileges as at any other COP. We want to create a receptive and pleasant environment for them,” says Schukri. However, he sees no reasons for protests in other Egyptian cities. Anyone who does not want to demonstrate in Scharm, where the message of the activists ultimately belongs these days, “should perhaps demonstrate better in Germany”.

Human rights activists have also criticized the fact that, according to the local authorities, 500 taxis are being fitted with cameras. They are linked to a “security observatory,” Governor Chalid Fuda said in a TV interview. The aim is to protect visitors and observe drivers. Human Rights Watch speaks against it of “mass espionage”. Fuda called the demonstration zone a “very chic area” with cafes and restaurants.

Security measures have been significantly tightened in Sharm and nearby Dahab. Nobody without a place of residence or a permanent job is currently allowed to enter the cities, as the dpa learned from security circles. If you cannot present any papers, you have to leave. There are also reports that those affected are sent back to their places of birth – for example to Cairo, hundreds of kilometers away, or to Alexandria.

More: Greta Thunberg’s “Climate Book”: A truth that is becoming more uncomfortable every day

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