Cairo, 6 March 2015 - President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E. Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Wednesday met UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Achim Steiner on the margins of the 15th Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) to discuss the road to a binding climate change agreement in Paris later this year, and Africa's growing opportunities in renewable energy.
Attending the meeting was Dr. Khaled Fahmy, Minister of the Environment of Egypt. The President also met with a delegation of African Environment Ministers.
Mr. Steiner congratulated President El Sisi on Egypt assuming the presidency of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) and AMCEN.
President El Sisi, meanwhile, stressed the need for concerted efforts by all countries to reach a new binding agreement on climate change at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will be held in Paris later this year.
The AMCEN meeting kicked off in Cairo, Wednesday, attended by delegations from 54 African nations as well as over 300 participants from around the continent representing policymakers, experts, civil society, businesses and major groups. Also attending the meeting are partner organizations, UN agencies and representatives from the donor community.
New UNEP studies, launched at the event, show that climate adaptation costs for Africa could soar to reach US $50 billion annually by mid-century. The continent is looking at a combination of internal mechanisms, supported by international cooperation, to meet the cost and implement sound adaptation policies at the national and regional levels.
The new Green Economy Africa Synthesis Report, launched Thursday, highlights the key findings of agriculture, energy, water, fisheries, buildings, manufacturing, transport and tourism assessments carried out in 10 African countries. The report has been developed to help policymakers better understand the diverse benefits of investing in the green economy.
The Green Economy Scoping Study for Egypt - another study released at the conference - shows that a shift to a green economy pathway could lead Egypt to achieve annual savings of over US$1.3 billion in the agriculture sector, and US$1.1 billion in the water sector, as well as a 13 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions, and a 40 per cent reduction in water consumption.
President El Sisi also discussed with Mr. Steiner opportunities for building sound renewable energy infrastructures continent-wide to feed Africa's growing energy needs. For example, geothermal holds massive potential in East Africa, where the UNEP ARGeo Project is providing technical assistance for the exploration of geothermal prospects in East Africa. Kenya alone expects to install 5000MW of geothermal capacity, or one third of all expected poor need, by 2030.
UNEP is committed to increase the levels of investments in sustainable energy in Africa by engaging the private sector. For example, UNEP is developing an Atlas of Africa's Energy Resources in partnership with Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) and with funding by Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA).
The Africa Energy Atlas will feature illustrative maps, charts and comparative images that can provide important information on renewable energy resources across the continent and the possible impacts on the environment. It will also provide visual information on the challenges and opportunities to providing Africa's population access to reliable, affordable and modern energy services.