CAIRO - 17 September 2020: This year is a point of no return. As the United Nations turns 75 this year, beginning its General Assembly (UNGA) session on 15 September, it will be an unorthodox celebration in the organization’s three quarters of a century of existence. Under threat from a world pandemic, and climate challenges, this is an opportunity for real action and collective solidarity to protect our people and planet.
To help deliver the UN’s promise of a better world, Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation is calling for the international community to see the coming years as “Years of Purpose and Progress,” in which all governments, development partners, the private and civil society must all unite to tackle the most urgent development problems.
“Multilateralism through strengthened inclusive engagement is key to build back better, a sustainable and resilient recovery. By working together, we can rebuild better. We are not only thinking about returning to a world we once had, but creating and advancing to the world we want to live in,” Dr. Rania Al Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, said.
Committed primarily to improving people’s lives, the Ministry’s mandate by presidential decree works on strengthening the economic cooperation and multilateral engagement between Egypt and other countries, international and regional finance institutions as well as specialized agencies of the United Nations, and follow up and monitor national agencies that benefit from foreign financing within the framework of achieving the sustainable development goals.
The Ministry is also responsible for overseeing the implementation of the United Nations Partnerships Development Framework (UNPDF) since 2018 and chairs the steering Committee, and has worked on enhancing coordination between the result groups to ensure that the strategic framework is implemented in accordance with national priorities. On top of that, it also co-chairs the UNDPF with the UN resident coordinator in Egypt to oversee the progress across four themes: prosperity, people, planet and women with other ministries and UN agencies.
SHIFTING MINDSETS TO CREATE ADVOCACY
The world pandemic has reignited the need for creating advocacy for developmental efforts and goals. To celebrate the 75th Anniversary during UN General Assembly Week, the Ministry of International Cooperation will be launching a thematic film "Beyond Food" on the World Food Programme's activities in Upper Egypt that aims to support community development, food security and empower women entrepreneurs.
The Ministry launched the ‘Global Partnerships Narrative’ last April to engage with its local and global audiences and mobilize them around three key pillars: people at the core, projects in action, and purpose as the driver (P&P&P). Going beyond the traditional image of project signings, the narrative aims to foster trust and interest in human development through showcasing real human stories and include all voices in Egypt’s development journey.
PUSHING FOR MORE DIALOGUE WITH INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
As there is now also a greater need to create dialogue and open discussions, H.E. Dr. Rania Al Mashat will participate in several events organized by the United Nations Global Compact during the UN General Assembly Week to address "Partnerships to achieve the SDGs in the COVID-19 Era". These events are prestigious High-Level gatherings of business leaders and global policy leaders at the United Nations, and highlights leaders that are using their influence to demonstrably accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.
This year’s programme will provide a platform for meaningful dialogue on the role of the private sector in co-creating lasting solutions for a more sustainable future, as well as addressing some of the most critical issues of our time, including how to ensure a sustainable recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic and address challenges such as climate change and nature loss; social inequality; and economic exclusion.
On top of that, the discussions will also include a dedicated session on women, and the need for greater women leadership and parity in decision making as the global pandemic has highlighted the unique leadership of women around the world.
TURNING PROJECTS INTO HUMAN STORIES
Focused on turning projects into inspiring human stories, the Ministry has been implementing projects in partnership with the UN through the WFP to promote food security and ensure better livelihoods, such as the launch of a new two-year programme to support families in Upper Egypt to face the COVID-19 crisis. The programme includes transforming 139 community schools into smart schools that provide integrated services in technology and capacity building for youth, as well as women’s micro business support to empower women entrepreneurs.
Improving access to clean water in Upper Egypt is also carried out in partnership with the USAID and the US Embassy, through the ‘Wastewater Treatment Inauguration - The Holding Company for Water and Waste Water’ to improve the health and livelihoods of thousands of families.
The Minister of International Cooperation emphasized that agriculture is one of the most vital and important sectors for national development, representing 14% of Egypt’s GDP growth, and constituting 28% of job opportunities and 55% of rural employment. As such, the ministry has been keen on putting farmers and their families at the core to equip them with the adequate skills needed to meet the demands of the modern economy. Currently, there are 13 agricultural projects worth a total of $545.42m being implemented across 27 governorates, which reach 1.5 million women and men and provide 15,000 job opportunities.
Since the start of the pandemic, the ministry organized regular multi-stakeholder platforms to coordinate efforts over food security as well as discussing priority areas and needed support. Over the past decade, there has been a 40% increase in export revenues in vegetables, which has contributed to the achievement of several SDGs, mainly through providing job opportunities, reducing inequality, and improving livelihoods.
LOCAL ACTION FOR GLOBAL IMPACT
The Ministry of International Cooperation is actively working to promote local development efforts to achieve global impact; strengthening its bond with the international community and protect the planet as a whole. For more information, subscribe to its Weekly Digest Newsletter here.