Egypt Efforts to Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change on Human Rights
Written by :
Dr. Hind El-Saeid Farouh
Professor of Environment and Sustainable
Urban Development at the Architecture and Housing Research Institute
Within the framework of the binding environmental rights, the issue of climate change represents a threat and clearly affects all human rights, especially the environmental ones. Climate change is also influencing all sectors; the matter which requires decisive measures to avoid its repercussions. This should be done by focusing on the national efforts in the field of mitigating and adapting to the phenomenon of climate change and achieving sustainable development. Egypt’s hosting of the COP 27 Climate Summit represents a qualitative leap as it places the rights of the African continent and the developing world at the forefront of the international community’s priorities. This is done for the sake of protecting Egypt, the Arab countries, the African continent, and even the whole world from the dangers of climate change, especially since the issue of climate change is an international one that requires cooperation from all countries worldwide in order to address its harmful effects.
In this regard, we will shed light on some of the Egyptian state’s efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, especially with regard to buildings and cities in which people live.
Efforts of the Egyptian State to Adapt and Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change:
The following lines review some of the strategies, ministerial decisions and projects launched and implemented by the Egyptian government in order to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change.
Egypt 2030 Vision for Sustainable Development:
Egypt 2030 vision reflects the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic dimension, which includes energy, the social dimension, and the environmental dimension, which includes everything related to the environment and urban development. This strategy aims to achieve a number of goals; improving the quality of life for the present and future generations, raising awareness about protecting nature and reducing the impact of climate change, applying developmental policies to integrate the environmental element, achieving a balance between the priorities of economic growth and the environmental dimension, stopping environmental degradation, and implementing rational and sustainable management of natural resources in a manner that supports the fair use and optimum utilization of such resources. It also aims at reducing pollution, applying an integrated waste management system, and implementation Egypt’s international and regional obligations that stem from environmental agreements, and ensure that they are compatible with its national policies.
The National Climate Change Strategy in Egypt 2050:
This Strategy was launched by the Ministry of Environment with the aim of achieving five main goals. The first of which is achieving a sustainable economic growth from low-emissions development strategy in various sectors. This should be done through increasing the share of renewable and alternative energy sources, maximizing the energy efficiency, by improving the efficacy of the thermal power plants, the transmission and distribution networks, and the oil and gas related activities.
In addition to the necessity of adopting sustainable consumption and production trends with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from other non-energy activities. The second goal is the ability to build resilience and adapt with climate change.
Renewable Energy Strategy 2035:
It was launched by the Ministry of Electricity with the aim that the renewable energy would contribute by around 42% of the total electric energy produced in 2035.
Second: Prime Minister and Ministerial Resolutions
Prime Minister's Resolution No. 2850 of 2022
This resolution, which was published in the Official Gazette, obligates all units of the state’s administrative apparatus, including ministries, government agencies, departments, local administration units, public authorities, public sector companies, public enterprises, and companies wholly owned by the state or in which it has a controlling stake, to rationalize electricity consumption in all its buildings and facilities throughout their official working hours. It also obligates them to completely shutdown their internal and external lights after the end of the official working hours, except in some places where work requires a continuous power supply.
Resolution of the Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities No. 295 of 2021 Regarding the restructuring of the Egyptian Green Building Council (GBC). It includes representatives of the relevant ministries, experts, specialists and consultants to develop an integrated strategy for green building and sustainable cities through establishing specialized quality committees. They should also propose the action plans and the mechanisms of their implementation, including encouraging the private sector to move towards the green building in order to achieve the requirements of the Egyptian state for sustainable development. The Egyptian Council announced the strategic axes for the transformation to the green building and sustainable cities, which include preparing rules and procedures for the application of green building and sustainable cities through applying engineering building codes and building licensing procedures, and implementing the national system for the green building assessment systems, setting annual targets to improve the efficiency of energy and water consumption in public buildings, and reducing the amounts of the construction and demolition wastes.
Third: Codes Issued by Ministerial Decrees in this Regard:
− A code for improving the energy efficiency in the buildings.
− A code for water desalination plants.
− A set of codes for solid waste recycling (construction and demolition, industrial, sewage, and agricultural wastes).
− A code for the reuse of treated wastewater in agriculture.
- The Egyptian Green Pyramid Rating System for Administrative Buildings.
- The Egyptian Green Pyramid Rating System for Sustainable Urban Communities.
- The Egyptian Green Pyramid Assessment System for Buildings and Establishments.
Fourth: Environmental Sustainability Standards Guide "Strategic Framework for Green Recovery" 2021 Edition
The Ministry of Planning and Economic Development launched " A Guide to Environmental Sustainability Standards: The Strategic Framework for Green Recovery", in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and in coordination with relevant government agencies. It is the first guide of its kind that aims to raise awareness towards the sectors that have a direct positive impact on the environment, and directs the public and private sectors towards investing in them. It also highlights the performance indicators that measure progress in this respect so as to pave the way for serious and ambitious steps towards achieving sustainable development, which "The green economy’’ is considered one of its main pillars.
Fifth: Examples of Projects:
Renewable Energy Projects above 500 Kilowatts
According to the announcements of the Egyptian electricity and renewable energy sector and what has been implemented on ground, many renewable energy projects have been implemented with an expected participation rate that exceeds 42% by 2035. In this vein, a number of unexploited lands have been allocated for new and renewable energy projects. The Wind Atlas shows that Egypt possesses the largest electrical capacities in the Middle East and North Africa that can reach around 77 gigawatts of wind and solar energy. In order to achieve this ambitious vision of using renewable resources, a number of measures have been taken and incentives have been provided to encourage the participation of the private sector in the energy sector projects, as private investments will play a major role in achieving the desired goals. In Egypt, we have a successful example in this regard; Benban Solar Park Project in Aswan Governorate which is considered the largest project in the Middle East and Africa with a total capacity of 1465 megawatts.
This Project has won the World Bank award for the best solar energy project with private sector implementation. It is also one of the largest solar energy projects worldwide that has been implemented in one place.
Small Solar Cell Systems Project (Egypt-PV):
The Industrial Modernization Center (IMC), in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) are implementing this Project with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). This Project aims to develop and support the installation of the solar cell systems in various sectors (industrial - commercial - tourism - educational - public buildings ... etc.), which resulted in installing 12.5 megawatts; 135 solar plants from 2018 to 2021 in 16 governorates nationwide, thus saving electricity up to 20 gigawatt hours/year, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 13 tons/year.
Green Social Housing Project:
This Project has been implemented in cooperation between the Housing and Building National Research Centre (HBRC) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Work is currently underway to establish 25,000 green housing units in the Capital Gardens, El-Obour, and New Aswan, where an environmentally compatible architectural model has been designed and areas have been planned according to the criteria of the Egyptian Green Pyramid Housing Assessment System.
Assessments for Sustainable Green Buildings according to the Egyptian Green Pyramid Appraisal System:
A number of buildings were evaluated as sustainable green buildings according to the Egyptian Green Pyramid Rating System for Buildings issued by the HBRC, and includes the following items in the evaluation
- The permanent site.
- Energy consumption efficiency.
- water consumption efficiency
- Building materials and sustainable resources.
- Quality of the environment and indoor ventilation.
- Renewal and innovation.
To sum up; it is worth mentioning that one of the most important factors that help address the phenomenon of climate change is to spread awareness among citizens of the environmental, economic and social benefits of the transition towards implementing adaptation and mitigation projects, and to clarify that benefits that will lead to improving the quality of life of the citizens. For example, the green buildings address the phenomenon of the Sick Building Syndrome, which appeared in the seventies of the last century with the beginning of the spread of the industrial cooling and heating systems and the electrical appliances. In this vein, the term Sick Building Syndrome is used when common symptoms such as headaches, tingling and allergies appear on a number of people inside a specific building or part of the building and these symptoms disappear if you leave the building and may not disappear as complications may lead to a disease called Building Related Illness where symptoms are permanent but improve. The rise in the respiratory diseases and allergies have raised awareness of the importance of such projects in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions, improving the quality of air inside the houses, and controlling reducing and eliminating the sources of pollution.