LAS – Japan - UNDP Dialogue: COP27 – A key opportunity to address disaster risk reduction in the Arab region

July 28, 2022

New York City – Experts from Member States of the League of Arab States (LAS), the Government of Japan (GOJ), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and other UN agencies, including the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), convening today for the 8th and final round of the LAS-Japan-UNDP Policy Roundtable series, underscored the importance of examining complex challenges and implications of climate disasters to development across the Arab States region and exploring policies and approaches to mitigate and manage risks.

“In this globalized world, Japan and the Arab countries face common challenges, such as climate change. To address these challenges, it makes very sense for Japan and the Arab countries to share experience and perspectives,” says Ambassador OKA Hiroshi, Ambassador of Japan to Egypt. “Japan is willing to share its experiences and expertise to contribute to promote disaster risk reduction measures in the other countries so that similar tragedies will not be happening in the other part of the world.”

The Arab States region is considered a climate change hotspot globally and one of the most vulnerable regions to its impacts, with high levels of water scarcity and food import dependency. Speakers and panellists at the event pointed out serious risks of climate induced disasters and their potential impact on the region’s economy and development, stressing that people and communities especially those who are most vulnerable and disadvantaged, would be disproportionately affected.

Ambassador Hossam Zaki, Assistant Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, stated that “the Arab Coordination Mechanism for Disaster Risk Reduction, adopted by Arab leaders, is an expression of the strong Arab political will to deal with disaster risks.” He stressed that this regional institutional framework lacks the necessary funding to implement the policies and programs approved by the Arab League Summit, adding that the region needs to mobilize sufficient resources to implement those programs.

Panellists stressed that hosting of the next two UN Climate Change Conferences of Parties (COPs) in the region—in Egypt in 2022 and the UAE, in 2023— presents a unique opportunity for the region to accelerate and scale-up climate action with a priority focus on building climate resilience at local and national levels and strengthening institutional systems and capacities to effectively manage related disaster risks.

“The Arab States region is one of the most food import dependant regions in the world. Risks from the climate change have far reaching effects, and the complex nature and implications of multi-dimensional climate challenges and related disasters require integrated response approaches” said Dr Khalida Bouzar, Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Director for Arab States, UNDP. “Hosting COP-27 in Egypt in a few months, and COP-28 in UAE the following year, present a critical moment for the Arab States region to advance climate-resilient development as a future imperative. Regional and global partnerships will be critical to the success of such an endeavour. We should seize this historical opportunity to strengthen our collaboration.”

Today’s virtual roundtable marked the 8th and final round of the LAS-Japan-UNDP Policy Roundtable series. Since its launch in 2019, the dialogue series —a multi-stakeholder platform to strengthen cross-regional partnership in addressing crucial and timely issues facing the Arab region— has engaged over

80 speakers and 600 participants from the LAS Member States, Japan, UN agencies, the private sector and academia.