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Civil society associations at Al-Ahram Economic Symposium Civil society efforts and participation in confronting climate change

12-12-2023 | 13:09

Civil society associations at Al-Ahram Economic Symposium

Civil society efforts and participation in confronting climate change

 

The state's efforts are directed in several directions to confront the harmful effects of climate change, and given that society is integrated with state agencies, represented by civil society associations, whose role cannot be overlooked, in developed countries we find that civil society has an effective influence in bringing about changes in environmental protection, and Egypt is also waiting There is a lot of civil society, given that its effort can be one of the effective tools in the Egyptian environmental file and one of the paths in the climate negotiations, as it expresses the popular and societal will and its effort expresses the popular effort. Therefore, it was necessary to present the opinions and thoughts of civil society regarding confronting the effects of climate change in order to know the opinion of a man. The street and identifying the effective points in the societal role regarding this issue. Therefore, the Al-Ahram Economic symposium was entitled “Civil Society Efforts and Participation in Confronting Climate Change” in order to review societal efforts in confronting climate change and also review the strengths and weaknesses, and discuss the evaluation of those efforts by experts and specialists. With state agencies... In the beginning, Ghada Ahmadin, Director of Programs at the Arab Bureau for Youth and Environment, pointed out that the Arab Bureau for Youth and Environment is one of the oldest civil society associations in Egypt in the field of the environment, starting in 1978, when it emerged from the womb of the Al-Ahram Science Clubs, and it can be said that the Bureau is like the rest. Civil society is active in the midst of many challenges, especially since the associations spread throughout Egypt have witnessed a surge in growth, reaching about thousands, but we find that the associations that are active and have an influential role in the governorates are few, especially those active in the field of confronting climate change, and recently it has been increasing, and this has been the case. As a result of Egypt’s hosting of the Biodiversity and COP27 conferences, the office was the focal point to assist civil society at the 2018 Biodiversity Conference by supporting associations to participate in the exhibition and side events, where it was possible to present 40 events for civil society and through negotiation with the secretariat of the convention. This contributed In forming partnerships and expertise for civil society, it was able to obtain funding for many projects in the field of biodiversity. The office is also considered to be the only one registered in the Secretariat of the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Therefore, we participated in about 15 climate cups through activities to represent Arab civil society in climate conferences. Therefore, In COP 27, preparation was intense, especially since it is being held on Egyptian soil and is considered an opportunity. Therefore, there was support for the participation of the largest number of civil society in COP 27, how to prepare for that, the nature of the conference, the Green Zone and its role, as well as the Blue Zone and the activities that are held in it, as well as participation through events. Given that the Arab Office is the host of the Small Grants Program and is affiliated with the United Nations Development Programme, a program that has funded many associations in more than one field for more than thirty years, it is considered the most important areas that have been funded by the Small Grants Program since 1992. About 350 projects and 60% One of these projects is in the field of climate change, so it is an important facility for civil society. The Arab Office mobilizes various associations in order to present their projects to benefit from this program, and thus presents their projects in COP 27 by presenting 40 events. Civil society associations presented their projects, whether in agricultural waste management. Or electronic, sustainable transportation, bicycles, and the use of solar energy. Therefore, COP 27 encouraged many associations to apply for accreditation in the secretariat of the agreement. This is in addition to technical assistance from the Ministry of Environment to support civil society, in addition to the role of the Ministries of Solidarity and Foreign Affairs, as they provided technical support, but civil society is blamed for He still lacks experience in the field of negotiation, especially logistical services related to interaction with international civil society.

Ghada Ahmadin added that the Small Grants Program is currently in the seventh stage, receiving projects, 70% of which are in the field of climate change and for associations that participated in COP27. Therefore, we focus in our program this year on building training capabilities to gain expertise, given that financing operations are only carried out for those with experience, and also a factor. The weakness of the foreign language and its proficiency by members of many associations hinders their opportunities to obtain aid and communicate with embassies and donors. Therefore, the Small Grants Program focuses on the use of the Arabic language in presenting ideas and visions to facilitate the application of civil society associations to obtain grants to implement their projects. It is an effort that The Ministry of Environment is making efforts to involve civil society organizations in many activities under the Ministry’s auspices. This has contributed to providing them with expertise, even if they still need technical support.

Ghada also added that the Arab Office has implemented many projects, such as a project to install energy-saving lamps, which is funded by German Aid (GIZ) in the Ezbet El-Nasr area, in addition to establishing a youth center to become a model for water and energy conservation, as it is a green building with the participation of youth and children residents of the region and spreading Think about how to confront climate change and the role of each individual in society. Currently, a project is being implemented in partnership with the European Union on climate change and is being implemented in Cairo and Beni Suef. It includes spreading the use of solar energy and lighting-saving lamps, as solar energy is used in irrigation machines for agricultural lands. It is a project implemented in 3 areas. Years.

For his part, Dr. Mohamed Mamdouh Abdullah, Head of the Misr Al-Kheir Association Development Sector, presented the steps taken by some associations to reconcile their situation, which reached about 36,000 out of about 55,000 associations, 70% of which are in the scope of charitable work and specialized in the field of the environment. Therefore, there is a challenge and problem in how Placing civil action associations on the development path in accordance with the National Strategy for Climate Change 2050, as the strategy includes one of the mechanisms for its implementation, which is done through the role of civil society in achieving it, but the problem is that civil society is still a prisoner of financial aid, so when looking at the mechanism for confronting climate change, it falls into two parts. Mitigating emissions and adapting to the effects of climate change. Therefore, many civil society associations focus on the adaptation aspect to help communities how to withstand climate change, and those that implement their projects in the field of mitigation are few. This made Misr Al-Khair establish an entity within the association, which is the Arab Center for the Sustainability of Civil Action, to integrate the concepts of And the applications of sustainable development practices and climate work within the organization. We have made an effort for 3 years to strengthen the role of civil society work in confronting climate change. It can be said that civil society is still far from the knowledge and conceptual part of the term climate change. Misr Al-Khair was established in 2007 and has 1,200 workers in 15 offices around the country. Egypt's activity is crystallized in 7 areas (83 projects in the field of sustainable development), which are scientific research and financing many innovative research such as improving organic fertilizer and the uses of nanotechnology in this regard. Misr Al-Khair also has a special incubator for scientific research and adopting youth ideas, as well as the field of life aspects, which is Projects aiming to enhance Egyptian identity, popular heritage, and Egyptian heritage through an electronic platform in cooperation with the Sheikhdom of Al-Azhar to preserve Islamic heritage, in addition to conferences to spread this thought. The third field is health and focuses on providing therapeutic assistance to those who are unable, especially during the period of the Corona pandemic, and providing assistance to some hospitals to provide medical medications. Also, the education sector, which consists of some scholarships abroad in China and Italy, providing them to outstanding, unable students from marginalized communities, and also helping them to enroll in universities, in addition to establishing and developing 1080 schools. Also, in cooperation with one of the Chinese universities, a college was built inside the Suez Canal University, as well as the Garmin sector, which is related to the issue of poverty. In the field of development, the Misr Al-Kheir Association presented a model based on self-financing by financing some projects that generate a return that enables us to continue spending on the various activities of the association. This ensures a form of sustainability as we have an investment sector (a clothing manufacturing complex in Minya - a complex For fattening livestock - stock exchange bonds), also 70% of Misr El Kheir’s funding comes from individuals, 15% from the investment sector, and 15% from donors in order to achieve financial stability, and 80% of the aid that Misr El Kheir provides to marginalized communities that are less resilient to climate change, such as establishing a desalination plant. Water using solar energy in Marsa Matrouh, also developing housing within marginalized areas to become more able to cope with torrents or rain, in addition to developing water networks inside homes in remote areas in cooperation with the National Water and Sanitation Authority. A model of green school construction was presented within the Educational Buildings Authority. So that the use of building materials is a component of the environment, this was implemented in Aswan, and Misr Al-Khair launched a campaign to introduce climate change prior to holding COP 27 through seminars with some civil society organizations and university youth.

On the other hand, Dr. Mamdouh Rashwan, Secretary-General of the Arab Union for Youth and Environment, presented a presentation of the activity of the association, which was established in 1983. The beginning was in the Al-Ahram Foundation with the Al-Ahram Science Clubs, with the support of Salah Galal, head of the African Journalists Syndicate at the time, as it was the beginning of the call for attention to environmental aspects to spread these ideas through an event. It was established under the patronage of Fouad Mohieldin, Prime Minister at the time, and was the beginning of the establishment of the Union, which was later approved by the Arab League in 1986. The aim of its establishment was to strengthen environmental thought in Egypt and the Arab world. The Union currently includes under its umbrella 19 Arab countries, including organizations whose activity is in the environmental field. Therefore, we focus on The issue of climate change through programs that emerge from the meetings of the Council of Arab Environment Ministers (as an observer), and the environmental issues that were discussed are transformed into programs and activities. We also attend the councils of Arab youth ministers and the councils of Arab water ministers and transform the theses that are made in those councils into programs and activities. Also, regarding climate change, we focused on spreading awareness, especially for young people. This is done through an annual meeting in which we address the most important issues raised in the environmental arena, and it is through a youth conference to simplify information. 17 conferences have been implemented over the past years, and the issue of climate change has been a priority in our activities. We discussed climate change and its impact on the coastal environment, mangroves, and biological diversity. These conferences were held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Aqaba, and Tripoli, as well as the effects of climate change on heritage sites. They were held in Luxor in cooperation with UNESCO and the Ministry of Environment, and also in cooperation with the Council of Arab Youth Ministers through a tourism program شrabic for a ship from Cairo to Aswan over the course of 14 days, in which young people representing the entire Arab world gathered. Before COP 27, it was the Green Ship, and we focused its activities on discussing climate change. This year, the activity was in Marsa Alam with the participation of 21 Arab and African countries. We carried out cultivation to multiply mangrove plants because they are It is important to confront climate change with the support of the Global Environment Facility. An information board was installed and linked to meteorology to identify temperatures and provide them with some simple instructions on how to deal daily with high or low temperatures for personal protection. In cooperation with Al-Matareya Hospital, a room in the hospital was prepared to treat cases of heat stress. About 50 nursing staff were trained to deal with cases of sunstroke and first aid, and also afforested the Maryam Tree area. About 12,000 lamps were replaced with energy-saving ones for a number of residences in the Maryam Tree area. A study of the carbon footprint of the Maryam Tree neighborhood was prepared. The office also implemented a waste management project. We called it “Be Modern and Environmentally Friendly” and it was implemented in 10 Egyptian universities. Some of the youth from those universities were trained to know the dangers of electronic waste and how to deal with this waste. Coordination was also made with the factories that recycle this waste according to the Ministry of Environment system. And determining collection points, and gains have been made, such as the Faculty of Physical Education at Tanta University implemented a unit that made gains from selling 30 tons of waste, and the proceeds helped them buy equipment for the college. This project is ongoing and was presented at COP 27, also through the annual event in which about 400 Arab youth gathered in Luxor and Aswan The Union focuses on their meetings every year. There were also seminars on how to manage crises and disasters resulting from climate change in cooperation with the Kuwaiti side, in addition to seminars held in cooperation with the State Information Service to spread thought and raise awareness about climate change.

For his part, Dr. Mostafa El-Sherbiny, Vice President of the Egypt Foundation for Health and Sustainable Development and Ambassador of the European Climate Charter, discussed the association’s role in supporting civil action through initiatives in partnership with the United Nations, such as Climate Ambassadors in 2020, where 3,200 climate ambassadors were trained with Ain Shams University and under the auspices of the African Union. A number of African students were trained as climate ambassadors, all of which are attempts to support young people in COP27 to achieve climate awareness. We also have an initiative with the United Nations to combat tobacco (Stay Home Campaign). The association also participated in disinfection campaigns for many facilities during the Corona pandemic by volunteer youth, and more recently The Water Footprint Pioneers Initiative was launched with the United Nations, followed by participation in the United Nations Water Conference 2023. We presented many recommendations at this global conference, and the association was among the international observers at the activities of the United Nations General Assembly within the Conference of the Least Developed Countries. The play The Climate Ambassador was also presented. Al-Saghir University at Ain Shams University in the first artistic work that combines drama with climate ideas to spread awareness among young generations and connect them to the environment, especially climate, such as rationalizing water and electricity consumption. Currently, the association participates in academic education through a diploma in carbon footprint in partnership with the National Institute for Quality, and 62 accounting specialists have graduated carbon footprint.

Dr. Hoda Al-Bakr, Director of the Arab Network for Non-Governmental Organizations, which is an Arab institution founded by Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz and concerned with the climate issue, also presented a presentation that stems from the institution’s interest in sustainable development, as it launched the value system in 2021 to approach goals related to sustainable development in accordance with its national concept of creating sustainable growth in several areas, Climate work is part of the interest in sustainable development, starting with the terrestrial environment and its components and the marine environment and its sections. Therefore, in 2022, the network launched the Arab Climate Forum in its first edition, the aim of which is to unify the goals of associations working in the civil field, given that climate change impacts on all sectors and affects all sectors. Specializations: Therefore, it was necessary to pay attention to marginalized communities that are harmed by the impact of climate change. Therefore, this must be taken into account in women’s empowerment projects or economic intervention by associations to help local residents. Experts from 12 Arab countries participated in the forum, presenting 9 civil society experiences in the field. Mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and a booklet was issued that included all these projects and experiences, which dealt with the role of youth in confronting climate change and ways to protect women, children, and special groups. A summary of environmental terms and concepts was also developed with the aim of making environmental information such as ocean acidification, desertification, etc. available. The network also launched a platform A specialized media outlet (Green) displays documentaries about the environment and risks, containing about 7 films, including a review of the impact of climate change on bird migration in the Arab region, agricultural lands that are exposed to invasion by seawater, and the impact of climate change on marine life in the Mediterranean. These are all tools we aim to achieve. Through it, creating societal interaction among all Arab peoples to understand the concept of climate change and its impact on all aspects of life in particular, and to benefit from the continuity of momentum achieved by COP 27 by paying attention to climate change.

Hoda Al-Bakr points out that the organization is currently focusing on supporting small, active farmers who are most affected by climate change and supporting them to achieve resilience and flexibility in the face of them, through financial inclusion and the ability to adapt and how to benefit from finding alternatives to cover losses. We seek to issue a series on climate policy and address the role of civil society. In climate action, it is directed to Arab governments to highlight the role of civil society in this field.

Manal Maher Al-Jamil, Director of the Al Qurra Foundation for Sustainable Development, also presented the efforts provided by the Foundation, explaining that moving towards a green economy is one of the goals through several activities in the Qalyubia and Menoufia governorates to spread awareness among young people to reduce illegal immigration abroad, and turned to spreading the idea of the green economy through... Training on preparing green youth initiatives according to ideas that create green jobs through the Opportunities Forum to highlight the advantages that the government is implementing for the green economy, and to clarify job or training opportunities in them with the aim of making young people aware of those opportunities. For this reason, the Foundation conducted a survey of the labor market in Qalyubia and Menoufia to identify green ideas. Which can be implemented, such as manufacturing some products, such as wax, from environmental materials while training young people in green skills. Therefore, we provided financial and technical support for about 16 green job opportunities through the Job Bank and the Youth Guidance Center, in addition to financing about 1,500 acres of wheat seeds, which will be given double for the production of an acre and training. Farmers learn how to select seeds that are resistant to climate change. This is in addition to funding more than 1,600 acres to grow a drought-fighting rice crop that produces higher quantities and consumes less water because it is irrigated by spraying and not by flooding. We also have a cultural project in the form of a monthly youth salon called (Shabab’s Sitting). Through it, many climate issues are discussed to raise youth awareness, especially in the field of green jobs. This is in addition to participating with the World Food Program to be implemented in 7 governorates in Upper Egypt to create job opportunities for youth, especially green jobs, to confront climate change. It can be said that the organization aims to encourage the establishment of small projects. And microscopic devices face climate change and are devoid of carbon emissions. Therefore, we adopt a craft school to encourage professions that depend on renewable energy to train technical school students under the umbrella of social responsibility, with a focus on recycling the flame that results from the cement industry, which was done through an internal incinerator and converted into energy for use. Waste, in addition to training for one of the agricultural schools in Sadat City on the latest agricultural methods, and all graduates of the school are employed by the institution.

Recommendations:

The symposium produced several recommendations, including the need to connect different associations in order to unify and implement goals, especially those related to climate change, spreading awareness of the dangers of the impact of climate change to those in charge of civil society associations, shedding light on the role of civil society and unifying efforts, paying attention to the term climate justice as it serves The Arab Negotiator: Reformulating the role, form, and composition of civil society associations, provided that the goal of establishing the association is to bring about positive change and not to obtain funding.