Adhere to the Principle of
“Common But Differentiated Responsibilities”
An Interview with Maged George, Egyptian Minister of State for Environmental Affairs
ON August 28, Maged George, Egyptian Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, was interviewed in Cairo by China Today. He talked about the Cancun International Conference on Climate Change to be held at the end of 2010, Egypt’s views on global climate change and its expectations for the conference.
Minister Maged said he would lead a high-level Egyptian delegation to Cancun, its members including important leaders from the ministries of irrigation, agriculture, power, petroleum and foreign affairs and relevant specialists.
Egypt’s aim at this conference would be to urge major industrialized countries to undertake their responsibilities in combating climate change caused by pollution. In the past few months, climate change has manifested its crushing powers in the forms of global warming, forest fires in Russia, flooding, and melting of the polar icecaps.
He said that before the Egyptian delegation’s departure for Mexico, he would coordinate with South Countries vulnerable to the adverse impact of climate change, because the major industrialized countries are trying to impose their views on them. At the Cancun Conference, the opposed positions of South Countries and the developed countries would be serious. The Copenhagen Conference of 2009 had failed to reach agreement on responsibilities in dealing with climate change, so the South Countries and the emerging nations headed by China would exert great efforts to demand adoption of an agreement, and urge the United States and Europe to implement the Kyoto Protocol and fulfill their responsibilities in providing financial and technological support to developing countries, so as to realize their commitment of cutting emissions by 40 percent off the present level by 2020.
Minister Maged pointed out that, according to a 2007 report by the World Bank on 84 countries, Egypt is one of the most heavily hit countries in the world by climate change. The rise of sea level and shortage of water resources pose huge negative impact on the country’s agriculture, tourism and health.
He said that the issue of climate change has become a cornerstone for international conferences on politics and economics and that its status affects global peace and security. He called on every nation of the international community to follow the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” in addressing climate change, and pointed out that as regards the emission of greenhouse gases leading to climate change the developed countries should shoulder their historic and humanitarian responsibilities, whereas the developing countries are the victims of global climate change.
Minister Maged especially pointed out: Egypt is a developing country deeply affected by climate change, and its policy is to refuse any obligations imposed on developing countries. The developed countries should follow the Rio de Janeiro Declaration and the Bali Roadmap, fulfill their responsibilities, and provide technological and financial support to developing countries for enhancement of their capabilities, instead of reneging on their promises because of the financial crisis.
He hoped for a successful conference, which would not let the interests of developed countries outweigh those of the developing countries. He demanded establishing implementation plans and mechanisms for technology transfer to developing countries, and the removal of all obstacles, so that the financial and technological support would be genuine, adequate and sustained.
Minister Maged stressed that Egypt will not accept any amendment to the 2012 expiration date of the First Commitment Period under the Kyoto Protocol. By 2020, the greenhouse gas emission targets of the developed countries should be lower than 40 percent of the 1990 level, and 80-95 percent lower than the 1990 level by 2050.
Minister Maged thought it likely that the Cancun Conference would adopt a political statement rather than a new international agreement, with the possibility of a substitution plan being worked out, and would issue resolutions to determine the emission reduction proportions of developed countries and developing countries.
Minister Maged stressed that Egypt has cooperated with Arab and African countries, the Group of 77, China, and member countries of Non-Aligned Movement in dealing with climate change.
Minister Maged characterized climate change cooperation between Egypt and China as consisting mainly of industrial technologies from China for new energy, renewable energy, recycling and treatment of garbage, afforestation, reducing the burning of accompanying gases from petroleum production, building of safe landfills, and equipment for rice husk burning that causes serious pollution in early autumn every year.