Interview with AlQahera News
UNDP Egypt Resident Representative Interview: We support the Egyptian government in its development pathways
January 18, 2023
Original interview published on Al Qahera News
Cairo News - The interview was conducted by: Hind Al-Maghrabi
- 45 projects in Egypt are under implementation at a cost of $294 million in 4 years
- 50 projects and 132 solar power plants to promote climate issues over 5 years
UNDP Egypt: Resident Representative Alessandro Fracassetti confirmed that the current plan focuses on three main areas: Inclusie growth and Innovation, Climate Change and the Environment; Social Inclusion and Local Development.
In his interview with Al-Qahera Al-Akhbariya, UNDP Egypt Resident Representative indicated that the approval of the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme on the latest country program documen in Egypt for the period 2023-2027 gives a future look at the current program and extended cycles.
- Tell us about the United Nations Development Programme? What is the role of the Egypt office? And What are the most important programmes that UNDP works on?
UNDP works through an extensive network of experts and partners in 170 countries to combat poverty, inequality and climate change, and we help countries build integrated and lasting solutions for their citizens.
For more than 50 years now, we have supported the Egyptian government in its development pathways. Under the current program, we focus on three main areas: inclusive growth and innovation; climate change and the environment; social inclusion and local development, our main priorities are job creation and addressing disparities, and we are proud that the UNDP Executive Board has approved our latest country program document in Egypt for the period 2023-2027, giving an outlook on the ongoing program cycle and extended cycles. This is done through an action plan centered on achieving sustainable and green economic development and the effective management of natural resources.
The Egyptian government, as our strategic partner, has provided great support in moving forward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNDP in Egypt has 45 projects under implementation in 27 governorates at a cost of $294 million between 2018 and 2021.
- What are the most important programmes that UNDP works on, in the field of environment and climate change?
In the past, we focused on climate change and supported the COP27 presidency team in presenting the international conference, as well as supporting Sharm El-Sheikh in its ambitious green transformation. The great focus of our work was on preparing Sharm El-Sheikh to be the host city for COP27.
We have also supported Sharm El-Sheikh in its ambitious goal of becoming the main driver of Egypt's energy transition, by helping to reduce carbon emissions and rapidly enhancing photovoltaic systems in hotels, the convention center and airport.
Our "Egypt PV" project by the United Nations Development Programme in Egypt, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Industrial Modernization Center, the Ministry of Electricity and the Global Environment Facility has reduced greenhouse gas emissions in Egypt over the years.
Between 2018 and 2022, 50 projects have been established, and Egypt PV has successfully implemented 132 solar power plants in 16 governorates, with a total capacity of 11 MWh, and a total electricity saving of 17.6 GWh/year.
Egypt was one of the first countries in the world to join the Small Grants Program, a program that embodies the essence of sustainable development and the principle of “thinking globally, acting locally”, by providing financial and technical support for projects that support environmental protection while improving people’s lives and livelihoods. Since 1994, we have implemented 355 small projects with an estimated value of nine million dollars.
The Small Grants Program in Egypt has been considered one of the most successful programs globally, and I am very happy to be able to say that the Small Grants Program has greatly contributed to raising awareness among local communities about global environmental issues.
- What is the importance of the private sector’s role in development programmes in Egypt?
The private sector is a key partner in achieving the SDGs. We work closely with the private sector in Egypt to find solutions to development challenges, benefit from financing solutions and innovative partnerships to mobilize private capital to implement the SDGs and facilitate discussions between the public and private sectors and civil society on a specific development issue and mobilize financial and in-kind resources for sustainable development solutions.
Globally, we need $120 trillion in the next 30 years to achieve net zero emissions, and 80% of that has to come from the private sector. There are many calls for emerging economies and developing countries, especially in Africa, to perform their own energy transition, yet the investments are not flowing evenly. For example, of the $2.8 trillion invested in renewables globally between 2000 and 2020, only 2% went to Africa.
- How did the Corona pandemic change UNDP’s programmes?
COVID-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities and created new situations, hitting the most vulnerable hardest. In response to the pandemic, we have led international policy dialogues on important post COVID-19 issues, such as the future of using big data for evidence-based policymaking, and the future of Skills in the Digital Age and the Role of Technical and Vocational Education (TVET).
We also supported the provision of sanitary equipment as an essential input for the government's response to COVID-19. We also worked together with the Ministry of Social Solidarity by leveraging the extensive networks of the "Waai" program to advocate for correct behavior in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic in the most disadvantaged communities.
To support MSMEs to recover faster and stronger from the pandemic, we have worked to build the capacity of MSMEDA beneficiaries through e-learning materials, ensuring the effective transmission of their products and services online.
UNDP Egypt in collaboration with MSMEDA also conducted the largest national survey on the impact of COVID 19 on MSMEs, and data analysis and recommendations were sent to the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development to inform the existing post-COVID-19 policy-making process on the evidence to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable.
- What are the most important initiatives that UNDP is working on to support youth in Egypt?
Youth are the critical agents of change and leaders of tomorrow, and one of the key ways to engage youth isto ensure that they have a seat at the table to participate in policy-making decisions as equal partners, actively articulating their concerns and sharing their ideas and solutions to build a more inclusive and sustainable future for the entire region.
One of the most important examples of youth support in Egypt is the “SDG Ambassadors” initiative, which has helped university students take an active role in raising awareness among their peers about the SDGs, gender equality and financial inclusion.
And in partnership with one of the major universities in Egypt – the British University in Egypt – we promoted youth participation and dialogue on the implementation of sustainable development goals in Egypt. We also organized the largest climate run with more than 8,000 participants and concluded the international COP 27 simulation model that was organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, the UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt. The simulation model paved the way for the role of youth in climate action.
About 170 participants from 52 countries and 120 Egyptian and international universities participated and were trained by distinguished researchers and practitioners on COP27 topics through a capacity building simulation program. Young people actively participated in negotiation sessions, technical sessions, exhibitions and pavilions.
- How does UNDP Egypt support women in Upper Egypt?
Women are the backbone of societies and economies. In collaboration with the Ministry of Social Solidarity, we are supporting the implementation of the women’s social protection component of the “Takaful and Karama” cash transfer programme, which is expected to increase access to vulnerable groups and implement gender and social protection issues.
In 2021, we supported the employment and entrepreneurship for the most vulnerable groups creating 97,660 job opportunities for women, 4,037 of which were for women in Upper Egypt.
We also work with MSMEDA to disseminate the principles of gender equality and women's empowerment through the agency's policies and programmes.
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