Bringing Sharm-El-Sheikh to Dubai UNDP Egypt at COP28

December 11, 2023


This year’s COP28 Climate Conference began with the transfer of the COP presidency to the United Arab Emirates from the Government of Egypt, which hosted the conference in Sharm el-Sheik in 2022. Yet COP28 has truly been a momentous climate conference for the Government of Egypt, all of its climate action partners, as well as UNDP Egypt.

COP28 has been a powerful showcase for the ideas, initiatives and ingenuity that were on display during last year’s COP27 in Sharm el-Sheik. This includes the opportunity to feature initiatives launched in COP27 that recognize the critical connection between climate action,  global securityand green transformation. 

UNDP Egypt Resident Representative Alessandro Fracassetti discussed some highlights from COP28 as well as shared his belief that the Egyptian COP27 presidency will influence the global climate agenda into the future.

1) What recommendations were made during COP27 and what were their role during COP28? 

The COP27 in Sharm el-Sheik was truly groundbreaking. Most observers in the climate space recall that this was where the COP parties under the Egyptian Presidency issued the decision to create the Loss and Damage Fund, which set the foundation for the breakthrough decision at this year’s COP on the operationalization of the fund. So, this is one clear example of the COP27 presidency, which was held by the Egyptian Government, influencing the COP28.

But there is another example that is relevant to your question. The Egyptian Government endeavored to mainstream the sustainable peace agenda into the COP, and it is believed to be the first time that the peace agenda was integrated into a COP. This inspired the launch of the Climate Responses for Sustaining Peace or CRSP, launched by the Egyptian COP27 Presidency,which aims at solutions that strengthen the climate-peace-development nexus.

UNDP Assistant Administrator & Regional Director for Africa Ahunna Eziakonwa

At this year’s COP, we’ve seen this nexus between climate and peace present itself in the form of the COP28 Declaration on Climate, Relief, Peace, and Recovery. This Declaration references CRSP in the text. 

These are a couple of important ways that COP27 has informed this year’s COP, and we believe the COP27 will continue to influence the global climate agenda. 

Click here to access the Declaration


2) How is UNDP Egypt working in the areas of clean energy and green projects?

We are involved in a variety of different ways: supporting green transformation, working with governorates to scale solar energy, aiming to connect clean energy firms with financing. But I will touch on a couple of concrete examples. 

In advance of COP27, UNDP Egypt in partnership with the Egyptian Ministry of Environment, the South Sinai Governorate, and the Global Environmental Facility launched the Green Sharm initiative to support Sharm el-Sheik’s green transformation. You can see the impact in just one year. Sustainable transport infrastructure. Efforts to reduce single use plastic. The installation of 30 solar plants. But more importantly, Green Sharm has the potential to make Sharm el-Sheik the model city for green transformation. That will be a tremendous achievement for Egypt.


A separate example is the Egypt-PV programme, which is a solar energy project piloted with Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Industrial Modernization Center, and the Global Environmental Facility. Egypt-PV has successfully implemented roughly 240 solar system plants with a total capacity of 18 MWp, powering an array of public and private buildings, as well as cultural and historic sites.

There are other thematic areas of climate action that UNDP Egypt is working on, including biodiversity and climate adaptation. We are currently working on a flagship project in support of climate adaptation for the Nile Delta, one of three most vulnerable river deltas in the world. With the support of the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation and Green Climate Fund, we are anticipating the installation of 69 kilometers of low-cost dikes, which would protect 17 million people from coastal flooding due to sea level rise. 

3) UNDP Egypt has been very youth-focused in the area of climate. Can you share more about that?

This is a project I am truly proud of at a personal level. Climate is a critical determinant of how the future will develop. We need to empower, inspire and support the next generation of climate change activists. Many of whom will come from Egypt. 

Through a wonderful partnership with the British University of Egypt as well as Zayed University, we conducted the COP28 Simulation, in which over 130 students representing 46 universities conducted a simulation of COP28 conference. And we have had the good fortune of being able to bring several of the students from the programme to Dubai so they could share their findings in front of actual COP28 delegates. 

But just as importantly, the simulation provides a framework for young people who are invested in the climate issue to be able to exchange ideas and develop their skills. This is a programme that is truly cultivating the climate action leaders of the future. 

Included in the picture: Several participants of the COP28 simulation; Dr. Ashraf Sobhy, Egyptian Minister of Youth and Sports; Ambassador Hisham Badr, Assistant Minister of Planning and Economic Development; Dr. Mohamed Loutfi, British University of Egypt; Alessandro Fracassetti, UNDP Resident Representative for Egypt.

4) What was Egypt’s role as the COP27 President in reaching the agreement at COP28 to operationalize the Loss & Damage fund. 

It was at the COP27 in Sharm el-Sheik that the parties agreed in the decision to create a Loss & Damage fund. But of course, to agree on how it should be operated requires rounds of negotiations that include an array of actors: negotiators, technical experts, NGOs and observers to name a few.

Egypt through the COP27 presidency hosted two such rounds of negotiations on the Loss & Damage fund. The negotiations focused on technical issues that were of high importance, including funding arrangements and financing. There was also a separate retreat hosted by the Egyptian government that operated as a forum for open exchange ahead of the formal negotiations. UNDP supported the COP27 presidency team throughout all the consultations, with generous contributions provided by the European Union. 

UNDP Egypt is pleased that the COP27 decision laid the groundwork for the COP28 decision om the breakthrough decision on the operationalization of the Loss and Damage fund. 

Ambassador Mohamed Ibrahim Nasr, Lead Negotiator for the Egyptian COP27 Presidency