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COP27: Solutions day sees the launch of initiatives

Four initiatives were launched including Friends of Greening National Investment Plans in Africa and Developing Countries initiative, Low Carbon Transport for Urban Sustainability (LOTUS) initiative, Sustainable Urban Resilience for the next Generation (SURGe) initiative, and Global Waste Initiative 50 by 2050.

They mainly focus on urban resilience, investment in developing nations, waste and sustainable transport

As climate negotiations dragged on at the highest level, solutions were to be found in the form of initiative announcements at COP27 that sought to provide answers to pressing issues- predominantly in developing nations.

On the final thematic day, the 17th of November 2022 of COP27, the Egypt Presidency unveiled four initiatives focused on finding solutions. The initiatives presented seek to offer complementary routes to strengthen global climate action and guarantee that nations can fulfil their NDCs and achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

A number of sessions earlier in the day focused on urbanization and climate change, emphasizing the importance of including cities all over the world in climate solutions in order to speed up multi-level action and stronger leadership to accomplish the global goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030.

Four initiatives were launched including Friends of Greening National Investment Plans in Africa and Developing Countries initiative, Low Carbon Transport for Urban Sustainability (LOTUS) initiative, Sustainable Urban Resilience for the next Generation (SURGe) initiative, and Global Waste Initiative 50 by 2050.

Friends of Greening National Investment Plans in Africa and Developing Countries initiative

Lead by Egypt’s Ministry of Planning and Economic Development and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Initiative aims at shaping the process of planning and designing the economic policies in a manner that factors in the impact of climate change.

It will further quantify the efforts made in mitigation and adaptation, while also identifying the gaps and support needed, and proposing a set of essential guidelines, criteria, and policy advice, to expedite the implementation of the UNFCCC, Paris Agreement and the NDCs.

It was introduced by the Egyptian Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Hala El-Said. According to him, the primary tenet of the programme is creating a method for formulating economic plans that account for climate change.

“Additionally, the evaluation of the work done in the fields of mitigation and adaptation would be adapted to be more suited to climate goals,” said El-Said.

He added that that the initiative’s proponents have voluntarily agreed to work to increase the proportion of green projects in their national investment plans by at least 30% in 2030 while tracking and monitoring public investments made to combat climate change and identifying gaps and necessary support

Low Carbon Transport for Urban Sustainability (LOTUS) initiative

Responding to the urgent need and willingness to move away from the legacy ‘mode-first’ mindset, the transformative initiative aims to activate systemic change to improve and decarbonize the urban mobility landscape.

The initiative will focus on improving access to low carbon and resilient urban mobility solutions and strengthening the foundational enablers of change as the first-order priorities.

To set sustainable low-carbon mobility as a top priority, LOTUS allows existing efforts to be scaled and replicated across geographies.

In his allocution, COP27 President Shoukry said that decarbonizing the urban mobility landscape is a priority for the Presidency and featured prominently as one of our important discussions during the Sharm El Sheikh Implementation Summit.

“With over half of the world’s population living in cities, transportation makes up 37% of CO2 emissions from end‐use sectors. As urbanization accelerates in the global south, improving urban transport and mobility is becoming an increasingly salient lever to address the challenge of global emission,” he added.

According to Kamel al-Wazir, Egyptian Minister for Transport, developing nations are growing rapidly. Our initiatives need to acknowledge the challenges of the Global South.

“The LOTUS initiative will enhance green, fair and resilient means of transportation,” he concluded.

Improving public transport is a key aspect that will positively affect business transition to net zero as commuting behaviours have a notable contribution to emissions.

Sustainable Urban Resilience for the next Generation (SURGe) initiative

It aims to effectively address some of the barriers that limit urban emissions reductions, adapting urban systems to climate change, and building urban system resilience.

It will, in addition, track buildings and housing, urban water, urban mobility, urban waste and consumption, and urban energy, all of which will be supported by partnerships and collaborations with organizations from all over the world.

“Climate change and growing urbanization are intertwined megatrends. Sustainable urbanization is a critical piece of mitigation measures in the developing world where urbanization is most rapid. SURGe seeks to create a better, more sustainable, and stronger urban world aiming at net zero emissions and decarbonization. This initiative is another example of how COP27 is helping to bring partners together for implementation,” said a COP27 Presidency spokesperson.

Climate change is very pronounced in urban areas. Urbanisation growth and climate change are related megatrends. Extreme weather conditions like storms, heat waves, droughts, and flash floods have all been brought on by rising global temperatures.

Urban services, housing, infrastructure, livelihoods, urban ecosystems, cultural practices, and the health and well-being of city dwellers are all impacted by these. The most vulnerable are severely harmed by these effects, which are made worse by rising food and energy prices.

Today, over three billion people reside in climate change hotspots, and over one billion urban residents reside in unofficial settlements. The Sustainable Urban Resilience for the next Generation (SURGe) Initiative is being developed by the COP27 Presidency, UN-Habitat, and ICLEI to address these issues comprehensively.

The Buildings and Housing, Urban Energy, Urban Waste and Consumption, Urban Mobility, and Urban Water tracks of this Initiative, which has ten guiding principles, aim to enhance and accelerate local and urban climate action through multi-level governance, engagement, and delivery.

It is aimed at helping to achieve the Paris Climate and Sustainable Development Goals. It expands upon prior work in this area, helps to achieve pledges made by local and regional governments, gives current projects more momentum, and offers a comprehensive framework for achieving sustainable and resilient urban systems.

Global Waste Initiative 50 by 2050

Waste is the third largest contributor to man-made greenhouse gas emissions globally -this discovery has led to Egypt’s impending announcement of its Global Waste Initiative 50 by 2050.

The initiative seeks to treat and recycle at least 50% of the solid waste produced in Africa by 2050. It will leverage voluntary engagements from over 180 countries at the international level for Africa to achieve this target.

The initiative is first of its kind global coalition that proposes a collaborative platform for all stakeholders involved in waste management to holistically address all solid waste types and contribute to an ambitious target at the scale of the African continent.

The fact that waste is the third largest human-made source of greenhouse gas emissions has prompted Egypt to unveil its 50 by 2050 Global Waste Initiative.

At a press conference convened at COP27 to present civil society’s viewpoint on the Egyptian government’s goals concerning sustainable waste, the COP27 host made the commitment. GAIA, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, and Friends of the Earth Nigeria were the organisers of the press conference.

According to Niven Reddy, regional co-ordinator for GAIA Africa, the 50 by 2050 initiative provides us with an opportunity to scale zero waste systems for climate action in Africa and around the globe”

“However, this initiative can only be effective if it includes organic waste management, inclusion and recognition of waste pickers, and phase out of residual waste and fundamentally moving away from incineration and other climate-polluting waste management practices that aren’t meant for Africa,” he concluded.

This article has been published with support from MESHA/IDRC grant for coverage of COP-27 by African science journalists

Espoir Iradukunda
Espoir Iradukunda
Data Investigative Journalist


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