On December 6th, 2016, another new resourceful initiative was launched adding to an extensive successful partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Egyptian Ministry of Environment (MOE) & the Centre for Development and Environment for the Arab Region & Europe (CEDARE). The three partners have launched two demonstration Projects namely; "Mainstreaming Sustainable & Green Public Procurement" Project and "Reduction of Plastic Bags Consumption" Project. A press conference attended by Dr. Iyad Abumoghli, Regional Director and Representative for the UNEP Regional Office for West Asia (ROWA), Eng. Ahmed Abul Seoud, EEAA’s Chief Executive Officer, and Dr. Hossam Allam, Regional Director of CEDARE’s Sustainable Growth Programme, was conducted to announce the details of each project.
Dr. Hossam Allam stated that the two projects in hand are an integral part of Egypt’s “National Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Action Plan” developed under the SwitchMed Programme & funded by the European Union. Using a multi-stakeholder approach, the SCP Action Plan paved the way for Egypt’s transformation into sustainable and green economy in four specific sectors agriculture, energy, water and waste management by 92 experts from relevant ministries, government institutions, specialized research centres, private sectors, and non-governmental organizations. This significant effort was translated into a list of 28 projects, falling directly under the targets of the 12th goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The two projects in hand demonstrate the top of the list.
Subsequently, Dr. Iyad Abumoghli said that the two projects are a step forward in turning towards sustainable consumption & production. Both are an embodiment of the efficient use of resources as mandated in the SCP Nation Action Plan. He explained that the objective of the projects is the integration of economic aspect in the environmental and social components and attracting investments to this very domain. Speaking on the significant role of media, he emphasized the importance of spreading the word and raising the awareness on green and sustainable consumption and changing the patterns of behavior. Only then initiatives turn into policies and practices. As an illustration, and by using energy-saving devices, citizens will save 10% of their bills and all parties would definitely benefit; citizens and governments.
Eng. Ahmed Abul Seoud highlighted that the implementation of Sustainable Public Procurement Project creates a competitive advantage for sustainable products, as well as it encourages producers to pay much attention to the environmental aspect which is also economical at the long run. The project will set standards and technical specifications of environment–friendly and sustainable products to be abided by governmental institutions as the prime buyer. An assessment of public regulations and legislations will also be developed in light of the existing Egyptian market needs and status. He indicated that at this stage the project would only be applied to relevant departments of the Ministry of Environment and a number of ministries as a first step, to be nationwide standardized later on.
On another note, he added that many countries have banned the use of plastic bags due to its environmental, health, and economic threats. To start with, this very project will assess the Egyptian market, consider the efficient alternatives available, and provide the necessary measures and regulations to reduce non-degradable plastic bag, taking into consideration the social dimension. The project will be implemented with wide-ranging collaboration with pharmacies and supermarkets big chains in Egypt.