On 8 October 2019, in the framework of the EU Climate Diplomacy Week and in light of the recent initiatives of the Ministry of the Environment on the prevention of single use plastic bags and the preparation of the Solid Waste Management Law, Cairo Climate Talks (CCT) held its 62nd round of discussion on the topic of Engagement of Civil Society Organizations on Waste Management and Plastic Reduction. The Minister of the Environment, H.E. Dr. Yasmin Fouad, held an open dialogue with CSOs and green business representatives on the topic.
In his opening remarks H.E. Ambassador Ivan Surkos, head of the EU delegation to Egypt, referred to the EU’s efforts to fight plastic pollution and expressed the EU’s interest in extending their efforts to Mediterranean countries. He also mentioned the many ways the EU is collaborating with the Egyptian Ministry of Environment and other state and non-state actors to address issues of sustainability, circular economy, climate change and biodiversity.
H.E. Dr. Cyrill Jean Nunn, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, highlighted the many years of successful cooperation between the embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Ministry of Environment on addressing climate change and environmental issues using Cairo Climate Talks as a platform to bring this cooperation to life. Dr. Nunn also stressed the importance of joint cooperation efforts of Germany, Switzerland and the EU with the Egyptian Ministry of Environment and the Waste Management Regulatory Authority to improve waste management in Egypt.
Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, welcomed the discussion with representatives from Civil Society Organizations. She described the current situation as a phase of many challenges, but also a lot more opportunities: “We’re changing the narrative of the environment in Egypt because the world is changing.” She also assured the audience that the Egyptian government is putting the environment on top of its agenda and that it is being taken into consideration in all economic growth projects. Dr. Yasmine also mentioned the creation of a committee that includes the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Environment to ensure the creation of wholistic roadmap for moving forward.
During the discussion Dr. Fouad explained that young people in Egypt are hardly waiting for the opportunity to be included. On the contrary, she explained, young people have managed to create many initiatives in the fields of waste management and the environment. Dr. Fouad also stressed that the ministry is currently working on nurturing and supporting ideas that have potential and that are impact oriented.
Mr. Ibrahim Laafia, Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation to Egypt, suggested that a successful approach is necessarily an inclusive one. “We need not only to talk to governments; but also to civil society organizations and the private sector” he explained.
Mr. Uwe Gehlen, Head of German Development Cooperation in Egypt applauded the role civil society organizations have and could potentially have on government to government cooperation. He also stressed the importance of creating a dialogue with future generations: “We are in a time where parents are being taught by their kids.We need to accept this new dynamic and embrace it because it creates a very interesting constructive inter-generational dialogue for a better future”.
Background information: The Cairo Climate Talks are conceived, organized and hosted as a cooperation between the German Embassy in Cairo, the Egyptian Ministry of Environment, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). For more information, please visit our website www.cairoclimatetalks.net or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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