Willkommen auf den Seiten des Auswärtigen Amts
Text of the interview accorded by H.E. German Ambassador to Egypt Frank Hartmann to al-Akhbar newspaper
1-What is your evaluation of Egyptian preparations for COP 27? And what are the topics that should be on the top of agenda?
Hosting an event like COP27 is, without any doubt, a massive task that takes huge efforts on many different levels -from logistics to coordinating economy, society and politics. During my talks with Egyptian partners, I have gained the impression that this conference is an absolute top priority for the Egyptian government and that everybody is working tirelessly to make sure things go smoothly.
COP27 comes at a crucial time as the impact of climate change has become visible all over the world. If we want to have a chance to curb these dramatic effects and limit global warming to 1.5°, we need joint immediate action. That does of course include major contributions to climate financing and adaptation funds. However, money alone will not suffice to bring climate change to a halt. The international community must take concrete steps towards an ambitious green transformation. Decisive National Action plans are needed as well as a close exchange between policy makers and civil society, economic players and scientists.
2-Germany is supporting many eco-friendly projects in Egypt; can you give us examples for it?
Sustainability and environment have been playing a key role in German-Egyptian cooperation for many years. Together with our diligent Egyptian partners on the ground and through our implementation organizations GIZ and KFW, we have realized numerous projects reaching from hydropower, solar and wind energy plants to waste management and irrigation. To give an example: German-Egyptian cooperation in the field of renewable energies helps reduce Co2 emissions by 2 Million tons annually. The overall aim of these projects is to achieve sustainable progress and improve the living conditions for the people. In addition, many German companies that specialize in eco-friendly solutions and future-proof technologies have a strong interest in further energy cooperation. The plans for exploring green hydrogen are proof of this potential. But, fighting climate change is not only a task of development and economic cooperation, it is also a task for civil society. This is where our partners from DAAD, Goethe and our political foundations come into play with their various Egyptian non-governmental organizations. By founding the format „Cairo Climate Talks“ (CCT) we have also established a successful and unique platform to exchange experience, raise awareness and foster cooperation between policymakers, business representatives, scientists and civil society.
3-How can Egypt and Germany cooperate for the success of COP27? Russian invasion of Ukraine and its consequences on the top of the global agenda. How can Egypt and global partners work to make sure that climate change and COP27 have the due attention?
Climate change is the biggest security threat of our time. It requires immediate, joint action on a global level. COP27 is the stage for creating the much-needed road map for this and we all have to give it the due attention. Unfortunately, the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, which blatantly violated international law, has tremendous repercussions not only on international security, financial markets and food security, but also on all our efforts towards fighting climate change. Moscow’s use of food and energy as weapons in its hybrid war has caused a global crisis that exacerbates many existing problems in different countries all over the world. Dealing with this, ties up international resources that we would urgently need in our joint fight against climate change. On the other hand, this global shock might also amplify the wake-up-call and thus, expedite the countries plans and ambitions for climate action. In Germany, we have painfully realized where dependence on fossil fuels left us; energy transition is more urgent and our will to accelerate it is now greater than ever.
4-How can the developed countries fulfil their previous commitments to help developing countries especially in Africa to face and mitigate climate change?
The climate crisis is a global threat that does not stop at borders; it affects each and every one of us. Nevertheless, industrialized countries like Germany have a special responsibility towards countries that are particularly suffering from the consequences of climate change despite not being among the main emitters. Against this background, green modernization is key; Germany supports Egypt and other countries in their efforts to expand renewable energies and achieve sustainable economic growths and social progress. At the same time, we remain committed to promote ambitious climate protection on the global political level. We are ready to fulfil our share. This is also reflected financially: between 2005 and 2020, Germany has increased its climate financing more than tenfold.
5-How can facing climate change offer economic opportunities (like green hydrogen), will that motivate Capitals to invest in eco-friendly projects?
Climate change and its impact become more visible every year –from floods to droughts and the loss of fertile land. This does not only show the vulnerability of our environment and the increasing threat to our livelihood, but also bares a security factor: Climate related shocks act as catalysts to conflicts all over the world. Investing in green energy and eco-friendly projects is therefore not a question of motivation -it is a mandatory answer without alternative.
In Europe, we have just experienced how vulnerable reliance on fossil fuels can make us. The Russian war of aggression in Ukraine and Moscow’s power games with gas have caused a major energy crisis. On the long run, green energy is the only way to achieve independence, stability and security –politically and on a climate-related level. We are therefore pushing ahead with energy transition and the development of new sustainable technologies such as green hydrogen at top speed.