CLIMATE CHANGE COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATION
2. Climate change education and training in the country
3. Climate change communication in the country
i. Climate change context
According to the World Bank, Egypt is a middle-income country located in northeastern Africa with a population of about 102.3 million people (2020). Egypt’s population is projected to reach 120.8 million people by 2030 and 159.9 million by 2050. Egypt has 27 governorates. An estimated 43% of the current population lives in urban areas.
The World Bank reports that most of Egypt is classified as an arid desert, except for the semi-arid Mediterranean coast. The Nile River provides more than 90% of its water needs. Egypt’s Nile Delta and its coastal front on the Mediterranean are vulnerable to shoreline changes from erosion and to accretion, subsidence, and rising sea levels from climate change. As a result, the Nile Delta’s major urban areas, agricultural areas, and coastal wetlands will be significantly affected by saltwater intrusion, groundwater contamination, soil salinization, deterioration of crop quality, losses of productivity, and other social and economic impacts.
The Global Carbon Atlas indicates that Egypt’s carbon emissions were around 2.1 t CO2 per person in 2020. The biggest contributor to emissions is the energy sector, responsible for 71.4% of 2016 emissions. Electricity and heat production, predominantly dependent on oil and gas, are the largest emitters (45%) within the energy sector.
Egypt is a Non-Annex I country under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), ratified in 1994. The country ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2005 and the Paris Agreement in 2017 and was in the national process of accepting the Doha amendment at the time of this review.
ii. Relevant government agencies
The Ministry of Environment is responsible for formulating environmental policies, preparing the necessary plans for environmental protection and development projects, following up on their implementation, and undertaking pilot projects.
The Climate Change Central Department within the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency is the Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) focal point. The Agency is the Ministry of Environment’s executive or administrative body responsible for environmental protection. The Agency coordinates all government environmental activities; formulates general policies; drafts legislation; issues rules, regulations, and standards; coordinates with other authorities to prepare and implement plans and programs for environmental protection; encourages economic activities in pollution prevention; and enforces laws and other environmental rules, including monitoring that existing establishments comply with environmental standards.
The National Council for Climate Change, established in 2015, is an inter-ministerial committee and the key decision body responsible for coordinating climate policy development and implementation across ministries and agencies. The Prime Minister chairs the Council, which consists of representatives from sector ministries with input from national experts (scientists, practitioners, academic researchers), civil society (non-governmental organizations, union representatives), and the private sector. The Council links national climate change policies, strategies, and plans to the sustainable development strategy. It drafts, updates, and develops general policies of the state that deal with climate change. It monitors climate change budget allocations to ministries involved in climate change action. It is responsible for raising awareness of officials and decision makers on climate change and how it relates to their specific areas of work. All these responsibilities build institutional and individual capacities to deal with climate change.
The Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation is in charge of managing Egypt’s water resources, mainly the Nile. The Ministry also manages irrigation projects, maintains water quality, protects water from pollution, and formulates water policies to cover all water requirements in agriculture. The Ministry engages in climate change matters through projects and seminars.
The Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy manages and regulates the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in Egypt. The New and Renewable Energy Authority under the Ministry was established in 1986 as the national focal point to develop and introduce renewable energy technologies and to implement related energy conservation programs (wind, solar, water). The Authority plans and implements renewable energy programs together with other national and international institutions. The Authority has organized training grants in all types of renewable energy for engineering students at Egyptian universities and schools.
Education and communication
The Ministry of Education and Technical Education is responsible for formal education from kindergarten to Grade 12.
The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research develops, implements, and monitors Egypt’s policies on higher education. It is responsible for the education activities of Egyptian universities, both public and private.
The Ministry of Planning and Economic Development promotes and sustains economic growth through effective planning and governance of public investment. The Ministry also develops and implements Sustainable Development Strategy; Egypt Vision 2030 (2016), which includes both the education sector (Sustainable Development Goal [SDG] 4) and the climate sector (SDG 13).
The Egyptian Cabinet Information and Decision Support Center is the country’s designated government agency to distribute information. Information provided by the agency includes sustainable development and climate change information.
The Desert Research Center is an independent specialized scientific and research body that explores the natural resources in the Egyptian desert and develops plans to invest in these resources to achieve sustainable development. Research interests include groundwater under climate change conditions, rainwater harvesting, desertification, the desert environment, plant and animal production in arid lands, and human and economic studies. The Center’s Economic and Social Studies Division evaluates climate change impacts, desertification, drought, and biodiversity deterioration.
The Environmental and Climate Change Research Institute was established in 1994 to perform high-level research on the impacts of environmental and climate changes on natural resources, particularly water resources. It is one of 12 research institutes under the umbrella of the National Water Research Center in the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation. The Institute’s Environmental Studies Department assesses environmental impacts of development projects on water resources and international cooperation. The Climate Changes Department assesses effects of climate change on Nile basin countries. The Non-Conventional Resources Department suggests environmental adaptation and mitigation policies for wastewater treatment and desalination plants.
The Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association is a non-governmental organization specializing in marine and land conservation in the Egyptian Red Sea, focusing on solid waste management and recycling. It comprises an extensive network of scientists, professional divers, industry experts, and community members. The Association runs several projects, including an in-depth study of marine mammals, sea turtles, sharks, and the coral reef ecosystem. Projects have often expanded into campaigns to bring public awareness and participation to initiate conservation-based interventions.
The Wadi Environmental Science Centre is an Egyptian non-profit organization founded in 1998 and dedicated to outdoor environmental education. The Centre’s goal is to complement and build on what Egyptian students currently learn in science. The Centre teaches students about their environmental and cultural heritage through science: water, renewable energy, waste management, pollution issues, environmental sustainability, biodiversity, and climate change. The Centre works with over 14,000 students annually from about 100 schools (both private/language and Egyptian National schools) on field trips at the Centre’s premises and elsewhere. The Centre runs several projects related to climate change, such as Climate Change and Water Issues for Public Schools, where 35 students from Khaled Ibn EL Waleed School in Talbeya were trained on climate change and water issues in 2014. The project integrated lessons with existing classroom studies and then brought students to the Centre to reinforce these lessons with hands-on, experiment-based field studies that bring to life what the students were taught at school.
iii. Relevant laws, policies, and plans
The Environmental Law/105 (1994, amended 2015) is Egypt’s main environmental legislation. The Law encourages projects that promote the environment and fight pollution. However, the Law does not mention climate change.
The Prime Minister’s Resolution No. 1129 (2019) was issued to restructure the National Council for Climate Change with the Prime Minister as its Chair and to formulate a comprehensive strategy for climate change. The third article of this resolution stipulates formation of the Higher Committee of the National Council for Climate Change, with membership of seven ministers and a representative of the Ministry of Defense.
Production of Electricity from Renewable Energy Resources Law /2013 (2014) sets up development plans and incentives to promote energy production from renewable sources, such as competitive bids, feed-in tariffs, and independent power production.
Waste Management Law No.202 (2020) promotes waste recycling and reuse. It is part of Egypt’s mission to generate a more sustainable society.
The National Environmental Action Plan for Egypt 2002–2017 (2001), established by the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, was Egypt’s agenda for environmental actions for 15 years. The Plan complemented and integrated with sectoral plans for economic growth and social development. The Plan was designed to coordinate future environmental activities in support of the sustainable development of Egypt. The Plan focused on climate change issues related to water resource management, air pollution, and solid waste. The Plan stressed the importance of environmental education, training, and awareness through, for instance, reviewing curricula for a multidisciplinary approach to environment and development issues; establishing scientific and environmental clubs in governorates; and creating radio and television programs with new environmental concepts from specialists in specific fields.
Egypt’s National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (2011) aims to help Egypt adapt better to risks and disasters from climate change and its impacts. The Strategy reduces disaster risk caused by climate change. Education is described, among other measures, to activate adaptation to climate change. The Strategy calls for including climate change programs in education curricula, mostly focused on green buildings and architecture. The Strategy notes that these programs need to be more effectively disseminated to raise awareness about climate change and the means of adaptation.
The National Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production (2015), from the Ministry of Environment, recognizes that unsustainable production and consumption patterns lead to deforestation, water scarcity, food waste, and high carbon emissions, causing degradation of key ecosystems.
The Sustainable Development Strategy; Egypt Vision 2030 (2016) from the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development reflects Egypt’s plans to achieve the principles and goals of sustainable development in all areas. The Vision is based on the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental. The Vision describes the challenges facing the environment as including water loss, climate change, and poor incentive policies for encouraging green production. Accordingly, the Vision focuses on addressing the effects of climate change through promoting an integrated and sustainable ecosystem that enhances resilience and ability to face natural hazards; developing the necessary policies for the production and consumption of new and renewable energy sources, particularly wind and solar power; and developing the education system curricula for all levels to be compatible with the energy sector’s needs.
The National Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction 2030 (2011, updated 2017) includes approaches for Egypt to react to disasters, from terrorist attacks to climate change. The Strategy divides disasters into natural and man-made, listing climate change under man-made disasters. Raising awareness, education, and training are core principles of the Strategy. These core principles have a strong focus on local communities that are most affected by disasters.
The Sustainable Energy and Climate Adaptation Plan (2017) is a strategic document and operational tool for the City of Hurghada – Governorate of Red Sea, Egypt. It defines a global framework with quantifiable objectives to be reached by 2030, based on an emissions reference inventory and detailed assessment of energy consumption. The Plan for Hurghada was developed as part of the Cleaner Energy Saving Mediterranean Cities Project, funded by the European Union. The Project supports cities in developing their plans. Education and awareness-raising campaigns are highlighted in the Plan for Hurghada to deliver guidance and advice for citizens on saving water and energy, especially in the climate crisis. At the time of this review, this was the only local plan found.
The Egypt National Climate Change Strategy 2050 (2022) is a roadmap for meeting the challenges of climate change within the framework of the updated Egypt Vision 2030. This Strategy helps Egypt to manage climate change and supports achievement of Egypt’s desired economic and development goals, following a low-emissions approach. The Strategy calls for awareness campaigns for citizens about the dangers of climate change and its effects, and for more projects on climate change education to encourage schools to adopt climate action activities.
Education and communication
The Strategic Plan of Pre-University Education 2014–2030, developed by the Ministry of Education and Technical Education, underscores Egypt’s commitment to ensuring every child’s right to receive quality education following international standards. However, the Plan does not mention climate change, environment, or sustainability.
Egypt’s National Education Strategic Plan 2007–2012 (2006), developed by the Ministry of Education and Technical Education, aimed to provide high-quality education for all, to prepare all children and youth for healthy and enlightened citizenship in a knowledge-based society, and to adopt a decentralized education system that enhances community participation, good governance, and effective management at the school and administrative level. However, the Plan does not refer to climate change in any instance.
The National Strategy for Mainstreaming Gender in Climate Change (2011) was elaborated, on behalf of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, through a multi-stakeholder process in collaboration with the Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe and key national institutions in Egypt. The Strategy aims to mainstream gender issues into national climate change initiatives and policies. The goal is to include men and women on equal terms so that they can understand, participate in, and decide on effective measures to implement mitigation and adaptation activities. In this way, everyone can benefit from climate change programs and funds, contributing to all dimensions of sustainability.
The National Strategy to Reform the Vocational Education and Technical Training System in Egypt 2012–2017 aims to establish an integrated system for technical education and vocational training by providing the skills and competencies required by a diversified and changing economy. However, the Strategy does not mention climate change, green economy, or sustainability.
In September 2018, Egypt’s Ministry of Education and Technical Education launched Education 2.0 to reform the education system. This reform initiative is meant to drastically restructure education in Egypt from pre-primary to secondary and to align with Egypt’s 2030 Vision (2016) for economic, environmental, and social development, preparing youth for a 4th industrial revolution. The initiative was initially hosted by the Social Research Center at the American University in Cairo and funded with a grant from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2020. Due to COVID-19, funds were cut in January 2021. Thus, at the time of this review, the document is not available for public viewing for references to climate change.
The National Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation 2030 (2019), developed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, is a national guide to enhance Egypt’s technology and boost innovation in the public and private sectors. The Strategy aims to protect the environment and natural resources by addressing the potential impacts of climate change. Examples of actions are a) preparing studies on environmental economics, sustainable development, and economic development and b) establishing early warning centers for severe weather events such as heavy rains, floods, dust storms, heat waves, droughts, low rainfall, and low Nile water table.
iv. Terminology used for Climate Change Education and Communication
Many Egyptian documents specific to climate change refer to climate change communication and education in terms of environmental protection, energy conservation, adaptation and mitigation, sustainable development, and water resilience.
The Sustainable Energy and Climate Adaptation Plan (2017) uses specific terms for climate change responses such as ‘adaptation’ and ‘mitigation.’ For example, the Plan stresses the importance of integrating greenhouse gas mitigation into national policy and investment frameworks; increasing climate change adaptation capacities, particularly in agriculture and water; and raising awareness of the impacts of climate change.
In education-specific materials, like the Strategic Plan of Pre-University Education 2014–2030, the National Education Strategic Plan 2007–2012 (2006), and the National Strategy to Reform the Vocational Education and Technical Training System in Egypt 2012–2017, references to climate change communication and education are absent. However, terms such as ‘environment,’ ‘sustainable development,’ and ‘nature preservation’ are used in Science and Social Science subjects.
Egypt’s 3rd National Communication (2016) refers to climate change communication and education in terms of ‘capacity building,’ ‘enhancing awareness,’ and ‘sustainable development.’ For example, the Communication states that “Capacity building must be an integral component of any climate change adaptation strategy due to existing uncertainty within the climate models, particularly at local and national levels” (p. 201).
v. Budget for climate change education and communication
According to the Egypt Human Development Report (2021) from the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, government spending on education was about US$ 7.1 billion (EGP 132 billion) in the approved budget for fiscal year 2019/2020, constituting 10.7% of overall government spending. Spending on education was 3.2% of gross domestic product, on average, from 2010/2011 to 2019/2020. The Report notes that Egypt “has obtained around $5.5 million from the Green Climate Fund to enhance adaptation to potential climate changes on the northwest coast” (p. 231). However, no information is publicly available on the specific national budget allocation for climate change communication and education.
The Environmental Protection Fund was established by the Ministry of Environment under amended Environmental Law 9/2009. The Fund’s goal is to stimulate investment in the environmental sector in Egypt to support the government’s environmental, social, and economic policies. The Fund provides financial assistance on a competitive basis for projects that benefit the environment. The Fund encourages solid waste management, nature conservation, and hazardous waste management projects.
In 2017 the Green Climate Fund of the UNFCCC approved a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project entitled Enhancing Climate Change Adaptation in the North Coast and Nile Delta Regions in Egypt. The project is to be implemented by the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation with a total budget of US$ 31.4 million over 7 years. However, no specific funding was allocated to climate change communication and education.
Egypt’s 2021 Voluntary National Review states that public funding is being directed toward climate-related projects, in addition to strengthening policy and institutional frameworks. The 2020/2021 investment plan included 691 green projects with an overall cost of US$ 28.5 billion (EGP 447 billion). About US$ 2.3 billion of that is budgeted for 2020/2021, 14% of total public investments for the year.
According to Egypt’s 1st Biennial Update Report (2018), the Government of Egypt plans climate change adaptation measures up to 2035 that will require US$ 3.4 million. Of this, US$ 10,000 will be dedicated to raising farmers’ awareness of the importance of proper use of water resources and good agricultural practices, and around US$ 1.5 million to the construction of database and information systems on climate change-related adaptation and mitigation.
Egypt’s 1st Nationally Determined Contributions (2022) highlight that financing and an insufficient legal framework are among the biggest obstacles for the country to reach its climate change goals. The Contributions state that Egypt would need US$ 246 billion to create adequate mitigation and adaptation measures. While a number of financial sources exist, such as the Environmental Sustainability Criteria Guideline and increased involvement in the stock market, the Contributions stress the need for a more systematic approach to climate financing.
i. Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education
In Egypt, education is divided into stages: the basic stage of primary (ages 6 to 11 years) and preparatory education (ages 12 to 14), and the secondary stage of the last 3 years of education (ages 15 to 17). The 2014 Egyptian Constitution (Article 19) stipulates that the state provides free education for students in these stages.
Egypt’s National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (2011) calls for incorporating knowledge on climate change risk reduction in relevant curricula at all levels. Similar calls have been repeated over the years, including in Egypt’s 1st Nationally Determined Contributions (2022), which aim to integrate climate change into the curricula of schools and universities.
Among the recommendations in the National Strategy for Mainstreaming Gender in Climate Change (2011) is to develop training and education programs for women and girls (particularly in vulnerable communities) with general information about climate change-related hazards. The Strategy recommends that academic curricula include methods to identify climate change-related diseases.
The National Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production (2015) ensures integration of sustainable consumption and production and green economy concepts in education curricula and considers awarding academic degrees in this field. However, the Plan makes no direct reference to climate change education.
The Egypt Human Development Report (2021) highlights that participation and public acceptance must be achieved through appropriate communication between waste management service providers and the public by including environmental education in school curricula. However, climate change education is not mentioned.
Climate change-related issues are included in Egypt’s formal education systems through units in specific subjects. The Islamic Education textbook (2018) for Grade 1 refers to the importance of cleaning the school garden and putting waste in the garbage. The Arabic Language textbook (2018) for Grade 3 encourages environmental protection through tree planting. The Social Studies textbook (2018) for Grade 5 looks more explicitly at natural resources, mainly water scarcity and food security, the emergence of renewable energy, and pollution. The Science textbook (2018) for Grade 8 has a unit on water to sensitize students to waste, scarcity and conflict, Nile River pollution, and water resource management. Another unit touches on the atmosphere, global warming, and climate change risks. The Geography textbook (2018) for Grade 11 also highlights the water issue in Egypt, how to manage scarcity, and the effects of climate change in terms of floods, temperature rise, drought, deforestation, and renewable energy. The learning dimension most prevalent in textbooks is cognitive, based on knowledge sharing, memorization, and activities. A description of the types of climate change-related keywords discussed in the curricula may be found in the MECCE Project Monitoring section of this profile.
The Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association runs the Future Egyptian Environmental Leaders program to engender a culture of environmental stewardship among youth through a dynamic hands-on learning approach to conservation. The program takes young learners to some of the Red Sea’s virgin beaches and to terrestrial and desert attractions such as mangroves, birds, wildlife, and the Indigenous Bedouin tribes. Youth learn about environmental conservation through outdoor activities and teamwork.
Cairo Climate Talk, initiated in 2011, is a collaboration of the German Embassy in Cairo, the Egyptian Ministry of Environment, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ). Talks are a series of events to exchange experiences, raise awareness, and foster cooperation between policy makers, businesses, the scientific community, and civil society. The collaborative runs projects such as CCT Junior, a youth-focused activity initiated in 2021 to educate children and teenagers about climate change and climate protection. CCT Junior focuses on youth engagement for a greener future.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, in cooperation with the Wadi Environmental Science Centre, organized a series of workshops on Renewable Energy and Climate Change in schools, which were held in Giza in 2018. The workshops aimed to educate youth from marginalized areas and train them as agents of change to take an active lead in their society and serve their community. The Centre developed a sustainable environmental science program and experimental curriculum on climate change to reach this goal. This project worked with 300 high school students for core training on climate change, with a focus on air, land, and water, and with elements on stewardship values and active citizenship. Students gained basic information on climate change problems, risks, and mitigations in the world and in Egypt. Students also identified issues within their local community. The Centre then provided students with specific training, according to their interests, through educational games, visual aids, and a science/energy fair.
According to Egypt’s 3rd National Communication (2016), Egypt’s new education system and modern information technology strongly support the promotion of climate change education. The Communication states that climate change knowledge is developed and shared through the home pages of schools, colleges, and universities. Revised education curricula expose students to more Indigenous and local environmental experiences, including experiences associated with climate change.
ii. Climate change in teacher training and teaching resources
In 2021, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Education and Technical Education, with the support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Global Environment Faculty, published a Climate Change Education Kit. The Kit provides lesson plans and ideas for Egyptian teachers on how to best include climate change in the classroom. Ideas in the Kit include having students calculate their own carbon footprints and taking specific climate actions.
The Wadi Environmental Science Centre believes that active teacher participation is vital for environmental education and thus provides teacher training. For example, the Egyptian Environmental Education and Outreach Program is a USAID project to empower Egyptian teachers with tools, knowledge, and experience in delivering environmental education and outreach to the community in a sustainable manner. The Program subcontracted the Centre to provide teacher training in four governorates (Cairo, Alexandria, Fayoum, Beni Suef), working with over 100 teachers and 200 schools in each location.
The Trans-disciplinary Research Oriented Pedagogy for Improving Climate Studies and Understanding (TROPICSU) is a global project funded by the International Council of Science. The project is led by the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) and co-led by the International Union For Quaternary Research (INQUA). TROPICSU aims to integrate relevant education and science communication modules into the education system to help future citizens across the globe improve their understanding of the science of climate change and develop the necessary skills to mitigate its impact. TROPICSU provides a platform for high school and undergraduate teachers of earth sciences, environmental sciences, and geography, with a lesson plan about climate change and global warming, specifically the impacts of climate change in Egypt. The lesson plan helps students answer questions such as: What is climate change? What are the causes of global warming? What are the global impacts of climate change? What are the effects of climate change in Egypt? How will increased temperatures impact Egypt? How will changing weather patterns, including changes in precipitation, storms, and droughts, impact Egypt in the future? What are Egypt’s current and future health risks due to climate change?
Egypt’s 3rd National Communication (2016) recommends developing climate change skills for primary and secondary teachers and youth educators and for teacher training institutions.
iii. Climate change in higher education
Some Egyptian universities have departments that teach environmental sciences and management and issues related directly and indirectly to climate change. Calls for increased capacity building and knowledge sharing are included in many policies, including the 1st Nationally Determined Contributions (2022).
Egypt’s National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (2011) states that many universities have climate change programs in the disciplines of the environment, architectural design and urban planning, and civil engineering. However, the Strategy calls for more efficient dissemination of ways to raise awareness about climate change and adaptation.
The Sustainable Development Strategy; Egypt Vision 2030 (2016) states that the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy should coordinate with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to provide efficient human resources and achieve the objectives of improving the efficiency of electricity use and production, fulfilling needs for renewable energy, nuclear energy, and energy produced from coal.
The Sustainable Energy and Climate Adaptation Plan (2017) recommends that municipalities rely on university students and academia as partners in setting a sustainable and environmentally friendly future vision. The Plan urges research support for the electricity sector to deal appropriately with climate change.
In 2022, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the Ministry of Environment launched the Climate Pioneers Initiative to build national capacities and synergize with government work in dealing with climate change. The Initiative builds the capabilities of university youth by expanding their climate knowledge base and linking graduates with the Initiative’s supporters for research and projects. The Initiative’s program includes topics such as the concept of climate change, development of a national strategy for climate change, how to confront climate change, the principal axes of adaptation and mitigation and the basic pillars for achieving them, areas that require research and development, and priorities to address climate change in Egypt and the world.
The Ain Shams University takes a leading role in climate change-related issues. The university’s Faculty of Graduate Studies and Environmental Research studies environmental problems of a local, regional, and global nature through science and research; prepares specialized and qualified professionals to meet the need for environmental work and community service; works to develop and sustain resources following international standards; and builds partnerships with scientific research institutions. In 2022, the university organized a seminar entitled Carbon footprint and the impact of climate change on biodiversity about the concept of biodiversity and its types; causes of climate change and its impact on humans, biodiversity, and fisheries; the concept of carbon footprint, how to calculate for individuals, and its effect on climate change; and proposed solutions to reduce the impact of climate change on biodiversity and reduce carbon emissions in Egypt. Participants were the university’s dean, professors, and students. In 2022, the university also offered a training grant for African students who are interested in becoming Climate Ambassadors. This training, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and the Association of African Universities, offered participants the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the concept of climate change, its causes, and its impacts in agriculture, food, water, health, and biodiversity. Participants learned about the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2063 and in Africa in particular; calculated individual carbon footprints and measures of reduced emissions for personal and household activities; learned about ways to address climate change and climate adaptation measures for individual activities; and accessed reports and knowledge about international organizations in this area.
Alexandria University offers a Master’s program in Climate Change and Sustainable Development that combines knowledge and skills for multidisciplinary roles in effectively assessing climate change impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation, and their interrelationship with sustainability. The Alexandria Research Centre for Adaptation to Climate Change at Alexandria University, established in 2011 through a research project funded by the IDRC-Canada, is a hub for climate change adaptation work. The Centre promotes integrated climate change adaptation research, knowledge sharing, collaborative policy-oriented research, experience exchange, and best practices. Among the Centre’s projects has been ‘Assessment of Vulnerability and Adaptation to Sea Level Rise for the Egyptian Coastal Lake.’
According to Egypt Today news, in 2022 Cairo University launched an invitation to its scholars to submit applied research projects to reduce the challenges of climate change. The intent is to increase awareness of the short-term and long-term risks that affect the environment as a result of climate change. The university also hosts the Environmental Hazards and Mitigation Center.
The American University in Cairo offers a Master’s program in Sustainable Development to foster a culture of green entrepreneurship and business in Egypt and the region. Students learn how to identify, assess, and shape environmental ideas into business opportunities and support ventures through entrepreneurial private, government, and civil society initiatives. Module 3 of the program studies renewable energy systems, solid and hazardous wastes engineering, and green building. The university is also home to the Center for Applied Research on the Environment and Sustainability, a hub for advancing sustainable development and addressing climate change in Egypt and the region. The Center runs research projects related to energy saving and sustainable urban agriculture.
The 3rd National Communication (2016) reports that technical and financial support is urgently needed in Egypt to establish research programs with teams from existing universities and research institutes. Priority research areas include advanced research on improved water use efficiency and water demand management as solutions to cope with climate change.
The 1st Nationally Determined Contributions (2022) aims to “Promote scientific research and demographic studies to identify population groups that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and effective means for support” (p. 27).
iv. Climate change in training and adult learning
Egypt’s National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (2011) calls for training government officials who can have an active role in climate change adaptation and mitigation, with a specific focus on medical training in ways to deal with the hazards accompanying climate change.
The Sustainable Development Strategy; Egypt Vision 2030 (2016) stresses the importance of implementing training programs for government employees (in the bodies charged with environment protection) and civil agencies (local communities in environment protection areas) on biodiversity preservation and protection.
The Sustainable Energy and Climate Adaptation Plan (2017) reports a great need for training and capacity building on energy issues in all sectors and all types of institutions and stakeholders.
The Technical and Vocational Education and Training Reform Program is a nationwide initiative co-funded by the Government of Egypt and the European Union. Operating across Egypt’s 27 governorates, the Program’s mandate is to enhance Egypt’s socio-economic environment through reform and development of Egypt’s human capital. However, at the time of this review, we found no training program or course dedicated to climate change.
The Wadi Environmental Science Centre runs a 2-year project, funded by the European Union in 2020, entitled Youth Action on Climate Change. For the residents of two underprivileged communities in Cairo, Abou El Nomros in Giza and Manshiet Nasser, the Action aims to provide green engineering skills to students and teach green solutions at the household level to women. The Action’s first aims are to build the capacity of local civil society organizations to become agents of environmental education and awareness-raising in their areas, and to assist residents in increasing their resilience and coping with adverse effects of climate change. A further aim, based on the expertise of the Centre in environmental education projects and experiences in building school curricula, is to fine-tune the existing curriculum to create relevant and community-sensitive content for the selected communities, informed by dialogue with local civil society organizations. This curriculum will be offered to 165 students (150 high school students and 15 university students) by 15 teachers who will receive support to familiarize themselves with the curriculum as part of the Action. The curriculum contains elements of circular economy, climate change challenges, potential adaptation and mitigation methods, basics of environmental science, green engineering, vocational training, and business development.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation runs the Partners in Climate project in Egypt. The project aims to set a national agenda with civil society and political parties to deal with climate change, to be presented to decision makers and legislators. The project will develop a vision for reducing risks, improve ability to deal with and adapt to climate change, and promote economic diversity, enhancing investment incentives for environmentally friendly projects and promoting societal awareness on climate change issues. Within this context, 28 parliamentarians and senior members of political parties and non-governmental organizations participated in a workshop on energy efficiency in 2021, in cooperation with the Egyptian Youth Council for Development. The workshop discussed the legal and organizational framework for renewable energy and energy efficiency, international and regional experiences on using clean energy to adapt to climate change, and techniques and solutions to enhance energy efficiency.
The Egyptian Cabinet Information and Decision Support Center organized a workshop in 2022 on Repercussions of Climate Change on Sustainable Development and Reinforcing Local Authorities’ Preparedness for Disaster Risk Reduction, in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). The aim of the workshop was to discuss the impact of climate change on sustainable development, the need to integrate disaster risk reduction and climate change into development plans, enhancement of readiness of local authorities to reduce disaster risk in the city of Sharm El-Sheikh, and the launch of the city as a global and regional center for resilience. Many international partners, representatives of government agencies in Egypt and several Arab countries, academics, experts, and interested individuals attended the workshop.
The Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation participated virtually in a session titled Dialogue on Water Scarcity and Migration: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Development in the Middle East and North Africa during Climate Week in the United Arab Emirates in March 2022. Participants highlighted the effects of water scarcity on food security and people’s displacement. In addition, the Ministry is implementing a project in partnership with the UNDP entitled Adaptation to Climate Change in the Nile Delta Through Integrated Coastal Zone Management (2018–2025). The project is to reduce the risks of coastal flooding on the northern coast of Egypt due to rising sea levels and frequent severe weather events and to conduct a training program to build capacity among development partners in the coastal governorates.
The Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association hosted 27 participants from around the world who are members of CISV Egypt for a training program on the ecosystem and biodiversity of the Red Sea. In 2017, the Association offered the Marine Conservation and Environmental Awareness Training Course to over 70 local dive guides. The training was designed to ensure the region’s competitiveness in the world tourism market by making environmentally conscious decisions. The training course included lectures on themes of the main threats to the Red Sea: overfishing, marine pollution, coastal development, and climate change.
The Egyptian Banking Institute, which is the training arm of the Central Bank of Egypt, organized a seminar on Introduction to Evaluation and Management of Environmental and Social Risks in Credit Processes in Cairo in 2017, in collaboration with Partnership for Action on Green Economy, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Ecobanking, and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) for 52 participants from 20 institutions. The seminar is part of the project titled ‘Enhancing low-carbon development by greening the economy’ to sensitize bankers, risk and credit managers, and other relevant parties across the financial sector on the importance, effective techniques, and significant benefits of incorporating environmental and social considerations into their investments to drive the economy and realize sustainable development.
The 3rd National Communication (2016) emphasizes the importance of training, especially for people whose livelihoods are threatened by climate change.
The 1st Nationally Determined Contributions (2022) includes training and capacity building measures for small farmers within proposed adaptation measures. Training is based on the “use of traditional knowledge and nature-based solutions” (p. 24).
i. Climate change and public awareness
Strategies and policies such as The National Environmental Action Plan for Egypt 2002–2017 (2001); the National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction(2011); the National Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production (2015); and the Sustainable Energy and Climate Adaptation Plan (2017) strongly emphasize raising awareness and mobilizing stakeholders on climate change issues.
Cairo Climate Talks hosts seminars to raise citizens’ awareness of climate change. For example, during a virtual seminar in 2020 on the topic of Keeping the Momentum Up: How do we activate young people to save the planet?, young experts from Germany and Egypt discussed how they became active in climate change, environmental politics, and awareness raising. In a 2021 seminar entitled The Heat is On. Climate Change and Heat, experts on climate change, extreme weather, and adaptation explored ways for local knowledge and technological advances to come together to create more sustainable ways of adapting to heat.
Ahead of World Environment Day 2021, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) joined the United Nation’s Act Now campaign to promote individual climate actions in Egypt. Act Now is the UN’s global call to individual action on climate change. Through the campaign, the UN aims to raise awareness, ambition, and action for climate change and accelerate implementation of the Paris Agreement. People from Egypt were asked to join the campaign and follow simple steps such as taking 5-minute showers, bringing their own bags to reduce single use of plastics, driving less to lower greenhouse gas emissions, and turning lights off to reduce the fuel needed to generate electricity.
The Center for Special Studies and Programs, affiliated with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina‘s Academic Research Sector and the World Academy of Sciences for the Advancement of Science in Developing Countries Arab Regional Partner, hosted a webinar entitled Green Economy: Concept and Practices in 2021. The webinar explored the concept of the green economy; why the green economy matters; green economy public benefits, especially for developing countries; the key players in making the green economy; green economy and environmental sustainability; the role of academia in supporting green economy, with particular emphasis on roles of young scientists; and best practices in applying the green economy concept. Participants were professors, researchers, experts, and senior advisers.
The Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association runs climate change and environmental public awareness projects, such as the No Plastic Campaign in the Red Sea to raise Red Sea residents’ awareness of the dangers of single-use plastic for the environment and their health. The Campaign, with the Association, submitted a proposal to the Governor of Red Sea to ban single-use plastics, and Decree 167 was issued effective June 1, 2019. The Campaign includes on-ground events, lectures for public and private schools, and clean-up campaigns for islands, beaches, and underwater in collaboration with schools, diving centers, and the Red Sea community.
You Think Green Egypt is a non-profit social enterprise working in Egypt since 2013. Its mission is to educate and empower youth to apply sustainable ecological solutions to Egypt’s most pressing sustainability challenges and problems, by designing hands-on empowerment programs for youth. The organization runs activities such as the ClimateLaunchpad Final Competition in Egypt (2021) to accelerate climate technology solutions for a net-zero Africa.
Al-Azhar University organized the 3rd International Conference on Climate Change in 2021 under the title Climate Change: Challenges and Confrontation, with participation by the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and many research institutions concerned with climate change. The Conference included scientific sessions on climate change, such as ‘The Role of Religious and Spiritual Leaders in Confronting Climate Change Issues’ and ‘The Role of Egyptian Civil Society Institutions in Confronting the Calamities and Disasters Resulting from Climate Change.’
The Go Green Initiative in Egypt is part of the National Sustainable Development Strategy Egypt 2030 (2016). The Initiative focuses on changing youth behaviors, spreading environmental awareness, and urging citizens to protect natural resources, the environment, and marine life to maintain sustainability. The Ministry of Environment launched the Initiative to raise awareness on the significance of afforestation, waste recycling, food and energy rationalization, air pollution reduction, and plastic use abatement.
Egypt’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2015) emphasizes the need to increase stakeholders’ awareness of energy and water use and raise community awareness about climate change risks and means of adaptation. Egypt’s 1st Updated Nationally Determined Contributions (2022) calls for water conservation measures in agriculture, industry, and municipal supplies. This includes lining of 20,000 km of irrigation canals to reduce water seepage and evaporation losses and rehabilitation of drainage systems in the agriculture sector. It would be complemented by enacting programs for upgrading water quality and sanitation to minimize pollution and public awareness campaigns for citizens to participate in water use rationalization. Other adaptation measures proposed are to establish an early warning system (beneficiary: 30 million people), raise the efficiency of the health care sector to deal with climate change, increase awareness of proactive health measures to limit risks, and confront crises and disasters on both political and community levels.
Egypt’s 3rd National Communication (2016) calls for increasing population and decision makers’ awareness of the negative impacts of climate change on social, economic, and health situations while developing awareness programs. The Communication highlights that “campaigns promoting waste reduction, energy conservation, reducing plastic bag use, and so on, have emerged in the past few years” (p. 188).
ii. Climate change and public access to information
To ensure public access to climate change information, the Sustainable Energy and Climate Adaptation Plan (2017) suggests the distribution of an information letter that includes current sustainability events, local success stories, information on national energy policies and local implications, prevailing energy conditions in a municipality, and progress of actions implemented within the framework of sustainable energy.
Egypt’s National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (2011) strongly emphasizes the need for a shared database at the regional and national level to give access to and exchange climate change information, adaptation plans, and risk reduction measures. For example, the Strategy proposes that the government provide highly accurate information on weather conditions for 6–8 months. This could help farmers select suitable crops or animal feeds that are compatible with expected changes.
The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology publishes a yearbook that outlines Ministry activities: efforts to form a strong information and communications technology sector, information and communications technology for development, innovation and industry development, and regional and international cooperation. The 2021 Yearbook brings together highlights such as successful launch of a website for healthcare waste management within the Medical and Electronic Waste Management project, in a collaboration between the Ministry of Environment and the UNDP.
Egypt’s 1st Biennial Update Report (2018) mentions the importance of establishing and constructing a robust information system and a database to address climate change challenges, adaptation, and mitigation measures.
Egypt’s 3rd National Communication (2016) calls for “strengthen[ed] cooperation and exchange of information between research institutes and universities working on different aspects of water resources” (p. 128).
iii. Climate change and public participation
The National Environmental Action Plan for Egypt 2002–2017 (2001) focused on enhancing community participation to tackle environmental problems. For example, the Plan asked labor unions and syndicates to strengthen the role of workers and labor unions through training and increased participation to improve environmental management and sustainability in Egypt.
Egypt’s National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (2011) calls for enhancing a national partnership between public and private sectors and civil society in managing crises and disasters associated with climate change and in risk reduction, to promote participation by all sectors in completing adaptation measures.
The World Youth Forum is an annual event in the City of Sharm El-Sheikh in South Sinai, under the auspices of the Egyptian President. The Forum aims to bring together young people from around the world to engage in discussions on development issues. The 2021 Forum had a lead session titled From Glasgow to Sharm El-Sheikh: Combating Climate Change, where high-profile speakers including Egypt’s President, Prime Minister, and Minister of Foreign Affairs stated the importance of public participation to address climate change.
Egypt’s 3rd National Communication (2016) describes a need to promote marginalized groups and women’s participation in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies and to increase their participation and representation at all levels of decision making processes.
i. Country monitoring
Monitoring of climate change communication and education was not assigned to a specific ministry or agency in Egypt at the time of this review.
The Central Department of Climate Change is the technical arm of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency. The Department is responsible for greenhouse gas inventory preparation and reporting, and for developing and implementing climate-related studies, strategies, and programs.
According to Presidential Decree 2915 of 1964, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics is the official organization for collecting, preparing, and publishing statistical data and information and making censuses and economic surveys. The Agency analyzes data and information on elements of the environment: air quality, water, ordinary and hazardous waste, land use, climate changes, and new and renewable energy. The Agency publishes annual and monthly reports. For example, the Egypt in Figures - Environment 2021 report touches on the development of generated electricity from renewable energy from 2013 to 2019; garbage weight and quantity by waste authorities in each governorate in 2019; and quantity of agricultural wastes and recycled waste for some governorates in 2019. However, climate change is not referenced.
Egypt’s Sustainable Development Report (2021) aims to monitor progress in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Egypt’s overall climate change performance indicates that significant challenges remain in reducing CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production.
Egypt’s 1st Biennial Update Report (2018) notes that one mitigation action for climate change is establishing a national monitoring, reporting, and verification system for all sectors. However, at the time of this review, the system was not implemented.
The 1st Nationally Determined Contributions (2022) recommend that Egypt develop a proposal for a monitoring, reporting, and verification system, but this system has not been implemented due to financial constraints. The plan for the system includes a mechanism for reporting by each ministry. Also, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics should “expand its environmental unit to include a Climate Change GHG Unit to aggregate climate data from the ministries in coordination with [Climate Change Central Department].” The Contributions also highlight the possibility of establishing a support group to monitor the system. According to the Contributions, a consultation supported the development of the monitoring system.
ii. MECCE Project Monitoring
The Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project examined Egypt’s education sector plan, the Strategic Plan of Pre-University Education 2014–2030. The Plan does not explicitly refer to ‘climate change,’ ‘sustainability.’ or ‘biodiversity.’ The term, ‘environment’ is referenced 1 time.
At the time of this review, Egypt was in the process of formulating a new Education 2.0 reform initiative.
This section will be updated as the MECCE Project develops.
This profile was reviewed by Lydia Elewa, General Manager, Department of Climate Change Technology and Research, Ministry of Environment - Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA), Egypt.