The world’s attention turned to Sharm El-Sheikh as it hosted the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) on 6-18 November.
Broad international participation from around the world is expected, with more than 40,000 people representing some 197 countries and dozens of international and regional organizations participating in the annual climate change negotiations, with the aim of discussing the way forward in reducing the negative impacts of climate change and adapting to its repercussions. On that occasion, Daily News Egypt interviewed Na Kyung-won, the South Korean Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and Environment, during her visit to Egypt to participate in COP27.
How do you evaluate the relations between Egypt and South Korea?
Egypt and Korea are currently experiencing the best government-to-government cooperation since 2016 when the Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership has been established as the result of the official visit of President El-Sisi to Seoul. We also recently had numerous high-level exchanges such as the call between two presidents in October, the Korean president’s visit to Cairo in January, and the visit of the Speaker of the Parliament in 2021. These all highlight how advanced our relationship is.
I participate in the COP27 Leaders’ Meeting as Presidential Special Envoy for Climate Change as discussed during the phone call between the two leaders, which reflects Korea’s expectation for the successful COP27.
Still, we need continuous support from the people of the two countries to make the excellent bilateral relations sustainable. This is why the South Korean government spares no efforts to enhance mutual understanding of both people through active public diplomacy. I ask for the continuous interest of Egyptian people to flourish person to person interaction between Egypt and Korea.
What are Seoul’s priority files in cooperation with Egypt?
Two countries are showing significant accomplishments in the field of economic cooperation. Many Korean companies like Samsung and LG have manufacturing plants in Egypt, and the El Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant Project and Hyundai Rotem’s Metro Cars Supply Project are ongoing. This form of cooperation is not simply exporting Korean goods to Egypt. Rather, products are co-produced in Egypt to be used inside Egypt and to be exported outside of Egypt. Our cooperation provides benefits to both sides and hopefully there will be more mutually beneficial products.
Recently, the area of cooperation is extending to wider matters including the defense industries. In February 2022, Korea signed to provide the K-9 howitzer to Egypt, and in August, Egyptian and Korean Air Forces demonstrated Pyramids Airshow 2022 together. Cultural cooperation which has already started through the bilateral MOU on cultural heritage exchange signed in this January is another example for the cooperation expansion
We also have various fields for future cooperation, such as tourism. In August, the Korean government lowered the travel alert level upon Egypt, and this will surely attract many Korean tourists to visit Egypt.
How does South Korea see Egypt’s hosting of COP27? What are the expected outcomes of COP27?
Extreme weather, such as heat waves, wildfires, floods, droughts, and so on, observed all around the world, reminds us that the international community must accelerate efforts to address climate change.
Especially, in the midst of energy and food security crises, caused by the Ukraine War, members of the international community should strengthen its cooperation not to pull back implementation efforts to meet the 1.5-degree goal.
With this in mind, we highly appreciate Egyptian efforts to host COP27 and maintain the momentum of the international community to fight climate change.
Based upon these invaluable efforts, we need to achieve balanced progress in the area of Adaptation of climate change and expect to have constructive discussions on Loss & Damage, the agenda in which developing countries are much interested.
We look forward to seeing negotiations and discussions of the COP27 make progress in the areas of mitigation, adaptation and climate finance.
Would you please brief us on South Korea’s action plan to tackle climate change impacts?
Korea, as a global pivotal state, will further make efforts to accomplish 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and 2050 Carbon Neutrality Scenarios.
In Particular, Korea will contribute to the successful COP27 through strengthening solidarity with the international community in combating climate change.
How can Egypt and South Korea cooperate in the future in the field of combating climate change?
Egypt is already putting tireless efforts on combating climate change not solely in Egypt but also throughout Africa. For its part, Egypt already launched the national strategy for climate 2050 and is launching many Green growth projects.
Meanwhile, the Republic of Korea chose Egypt as a strategic partner for development cooperation from 2021 to 2025. Furthermore, we selected “Environment and Energy”as one of the main cooperation fields.
Against this backdrop, two countries can strengthen the cooperation for various programs or projects in the fields of renewable energy, transportation and other green-related sectors through ODA or cooperation with Korean businesses that are equipped with relevant technologies.
We are looking forward to furthering our green cooperation and making fruitful outcomes from it in the future. Also, we will continue to make an effort to contribute to Egypt’s effort for green growth.