International Mother Earth Day 2023: Taking Action, Investing in our Planet.
April 22, 2023
Today is International Mother Earth Day, a reminder to all of us to appreciate and conserve our planet's natural resources for future generations.
This year’s theme - “Invest in our Planet” - highlights the urgent need for global action to address climate change and its impact on our ecosystems and natural resources. It also underscores the importance of engaging governments, institutions, businesses, and people worldwide to play their part. Everyone is accounted for, and everyone is accountable.
UNDP is working hand in hand with the government of Egypt to strengthen the capacities of civil society, the private sector, governmental bodies, and financial institutions to incorporate environmental considerations into their policies and practices. Here are some of the ways we do that.
Our Strategy for Environmental Sustainability
Our approach to environmental sustainability is grounded in the belief that economic growth and environmental sustainability do not have to be mutually exclusive. By implementing the principles of sustainable development, we can achieve economic growth while conserving the environment, creating a sustainable future for all Egyptians.
Promoting Renewable Energy
The sobering statistics on global energy consumption and its environmental impact underscore the importance of promoting renewable energy. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the energy sector is responsible for 73% of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it the largest contributor to climate change.
In Egypt, through our UNDP solar energy project, “Egypt PV”, we are supporting the country’s transition to clean energy by promoting grid-connected small-scale photovoltaic systems.
Implemented by UNDP Egypt, in partnership with the Industrial Modernization Center (IMC) and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), “Egypt-PV” works to remove barriers to increased power generation through small, decentralized, grid-connected PV systems installed by households and small- and medium-sized enterprises.
So far, the project has led to the installation of 225 solar PV plants across 19 governorates, resulting in an estimated total savings of 26 GWh/year in electricity. Projects like Egypt PV are working to shift the world towards clean energy, good health, and a sustainable future.
Strengthening Climate Resilience
Egypt is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rise, and extreme weather events. With support from the Green Climate Fund and UNDP, Egypt is taking measures to protect its people and economy from the devastating impacts of sea-level rise.
Through our joint project, “Enhancing Climate Change Adaptation in the North Coast and Nile Delta in Egypt”, 18 million people will be protected from coastal flooding by installing a 69 kilometer low-cost dike system across the Nile Delta shores.
An Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) plan will also be implemented to make economic, social, and agricultural activities in the area more climate resilient. The plan will include establishing a system to monitor changes in sea levels, as well as the impact of climate change on coastal erosion and shore stability.
Enhancing Sustainable Tourism
Egypt's appeal as a prime tourist destination lies in its natural landscape, warm climate, picturesque sandy beaches, and captivating culture and history. However, unsustainable tourism can have detrimental impacts upon the environment. These can lead to the degradation and destruction of natural habitats, resulting in loss of biodiversity, greater soil erosion, and increased pollution. Such activities can cause long-term harm to ecosystems and wildlife.
To protect both people and the planet, we launched the project “Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Egypt’s Tourism Project (MBDT)", implemented by the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) and UNDP and funded by the GEF. Out of this, the ECO EGYPT Experiences initiative was born. This nationwide campaign reconnects adventurous travelers with Egypt’s countless ecological sites and protected areas. Promoting the importance of environmental conservation the project encourages sustainable, responsible tourism for travelers seeking unique, outside-the-box experiences, while bringing to light Egypt’s hidden gems.
The project has also supported the adoption of several decrees by the Egyptian Government, including a ban on single-use plastics in South Sinai and the creation of the first Red Sea Marine Conservation campaign in the Middle East and North Africa.
Strategically situated at the intersection of three continents, Egypt’s terrestrial and marine habitats support biodiversity of substantial global significance, and we are committed to protecting it.
At UNDP Egypt, we are working to conserve protectorates across Egypt, which encompass over 15% of the country's land.
A sustainable protected area financing system, along with associated management structures and systems and capacities, ensures the effective use of generated revenues for priority biodiversity conservation needs. This approach is essential for ensuring the long-term conservation of Egypt’s terrestrial and marine habitats.
People living in protected areas play a key role in their protection. Improving their livelihoods is a fundamental pillar of environmental conservation. As of late last year, we had trained 2,400 women to produce, package, and market local goods. Additionally, 24 recreational boats have been established in the Wadi El Rayan protected area for local communities, and craft shops were established for women to sell their products in the Wadi El Gemmal protected area.
While much work is currently being done to protect our planet, much more is needed. On this International Mother Earth Day, we acknowledge our achievements but keep our eyes on the horizon, ready to take the necessary steps toward a bright and promising f