BIOFIN 9th Regional Workshop

Speech Delivered By Alessandro Fracassetti, UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt

March 14, 2023


As prepared for delivery. 

Dr. Abo Ali Sunna, CEO of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency

Mr. Onno van den Heuvel, Global Programme Manager of BIOFIN

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

A very pleasant morning to you all. Welcome to Egypt and welcome to the 9th Biodiversity Finance (BIOFIN) Regional Dialogue.

As one of the newer countries to join BIOFIN last year, we are pleased to host this gathering of government representatives and UNDP colleagues from 11 African countries. A warm welcome to all country delegations.

Last October, Egypt had the honor of hosting the COP27 on climate change.

To demonstrate that the hosting of COP27 was fundamentalto our goals, let’s consider the dividends that have alreadybeen gained with the support of UNDP: 

1. Firstly, the greening of Sharm El Sheikh, the host city of COP27. One of the main aims was to demonstrate how the city can become a driver of the green energy transition in Egypt. 

2. Secondly, the installation of rooftop solar panels and a reduction in single-use plastics.

3. And thirdly, an improvement in energy efficiency and the expansion of renewable energy coverage. On current trends, by 2030, renewable energy will comprise 42% of Egypt’s energy production.

These are just a few examples that demonstrate our commitment to the work started at COP27.

In late 2022, another historic moment for nature came to pass, as 188 countries signed off on the new global biodiversity framework in Montreal, Canada. 

Today’s regional dialogue for Africa is part of our broader action to realize the 23 biodiversity targets for 2030 set out in Montreal. These include effective conservation and management, restoration and terrestrial and marine ecosystems and mobilizing at least $200 billion annually from public and private sources for biodiversity-related funding among other targets.

 We simply can’t achieve our ambitious conservation and restoration targets and arrest the further decline of biodiversity without adequate financing. That is why it is heartening that the global biodiversity framework has fully incorporated financing as a target in itself.  I want to stress that not all financing will arise from resource mobilization alone. 

It is important to remember the financial results thatBIOFIN promotes, including more effective spending, the avoidance of future costs, and the realignment of expenditures that contribute to further biodiversity decline. 

Biodiversity is of particular importance in Egypt. The country is characterized by its contrasting tropical and Mediterranean environments, in which variousmicroclimates and habitats provide a home to a rich diversity of species.

Some date back millions of years, as we see in the fossilized whale skeletons found in the Western Desert. They remind us how our world has constantly been changing, yet never at the speed we see today, and which demands an urgent response.

 Like many countries, Egypt is confronting the pressing challenge of how to finance the conservation and sustainable use of its biodiversity. 

In recent years, the country has shown a growing interest in aligning financial resources towards biodiversity conservation, and developing a range of policies and initiatives to protect its natural resources.

 While Egypt has estimated the amount required to bridge the climate finance gap, we have not done the same for biodiversity. 

Therefore, we rely upon the robust methodology offered by BIOFIN to estimate the biodiversity finance gap and, more importantly, to identify synergies in financing climate and biodiversity. These two realms are neither distinct nor mutually exclusive.

To this end, Egypt has developed a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) for 2015-2030. The strategy identifies six strategic goals to address the decline in biodiversity and sets out a range of objectives and targets for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. 

The NBSAP aims to ensure that by 2030 biodiversity in Egypt is valued, mainstreamed, and maintained to support good livelihoods; and conserved for the sustainable use of future generations.

In addition, Egypt has developed several partnerships withinternational organizations and donors to finance its biodiversity conservation efforts. 

UNDP has supported long-term solutions for biodiversity conservation in the country through various initiatives, such as the Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Tourism project, theStrengthening Protected Areas Finance and Management system, and the programme aimed at Mainstreaming Conservation of Migratory Soaring Birds into Key Productive Sectors, among others. 

Despite these efforts, Egypt still faces significant challenges in financing biodiversity conservation, and there is a pressing need for innovative financial mechanisms that can attract new funding sources. 

There is still much work to be done, and it must be done through continued collaboration. Together, we will be able to protect and preserve Egypt's rich biodiversity for future generations. 

Finally, I am eager to hear the results from BIOFIN countries in the region. What we learn here at this gathering will contribute significantly to UNDP, and we welcome this knowledge sharing opportunity. 

Again, welcome to Egypt, and I wish everyone a productive three-day dialogue. 

Thank you.