Scaling up Climate Ambition on Land Use and Agriculture through Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans (SCALA) 

Country overview 

The Arab Republic of Egypt is a developing country in Northern Africa. This terrain consists of a vast desert plateau that has a fresh water renewable resource - the River Nile and its Nile Valley and Delta. Most of Egypt’s population and infrastructure are concentrated in the Nile Delta and along the Mediterranean coast, which makes the country vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise, particularly inundation and saltwater intrusion. About 15 percent of the most fertile arable land in the Nile Delta is already negatively affected by sea level rise and saltwater intrusion. With this negative impact, climate change studies predict a reduction in productivity of two major crops in Egypt - wheat and maize – by 15 percent and 19 percent, respectively, by 2050. Nevertheless, agriculture is the biggest employer involving over 31.2 percent of the total population.  The agriculture sector contributed 14 percent to the GDP in 2009 and contributes 10 percent of the country's total GHG emissions. 

Country priorities

In 2011, a National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction was released. This strategy lays out the path to overcome the challenges raised by climate change and estimates the investment required to reach its strategic goals. Egypt ratified the Paris Agreement in June 2017 and submitted their nationally determined contribution (NDC), which focuses on the sustainability of agriculture, the environment, water resources, energy, and land management as priority areas.  

Egypt’s NDC pledges to reduce its GHG emissions; particularly reducing CO2 emissions by 20 percent from the baseline emissions level of 250MtCO2 emissions by 2030. Each sector of the economy has set mitigation targets; particularly for the agriculture, forest, and other land-use sectors, the mitigation targets include recycling agricultural waste and manure and the implementation of a national MRV system. Additionally, the NDC outlines Adaptation Action Packages with specific adaptation goals for the most vulnerable sectors, including agriculture. Such adaptation actions include building an effective institutional system to manage climate change associated crises and disasters at the national level.

UNDP office in Egypt is implementing a Green Climate Fund (GCF)-financed National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Readiness project aiming to formulate and advance Egypt’s National Adaptation Plans Process. This NAP process targets to build/enhance climate resilience in all the sectors of the economy by improving institutional and technical capacity for climate change adaptation (CCA) planning, examining climate risks, determining CCA priorities, integrating CCA into national and sectoral planning and budgeting, and increasing investment in adaptation actions. This NAP process also targets to identify private sector actors with the potential to invest in climate change actions. Already there is a large and fast-growing small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector and a large domestic market. 

The main barriers towards implementation of mitigation and adaptation measures and progress in the agriculture, forests, and other land use (AFOLU) sectors are in an institutional and technical capacity to undertake evidence generation through climate risk vulnerability assessments. Most policymakers and technical experts in the Ministries still require an enhanced understanding of climate change impacts and the technical skills necessary to craft and implement appropriate CCA integration and interventions. There are institutional barriers related to the functioning of the Measuring, Reporting, and Verifying (MRV) systems on mitigation and adaptation measures and progress in the AFOLU sectors. Egypt plans to build institutional coordination and capacity on climate risks management and to undertake climate adaptation planning, as well as overcome the barrier of insufficient financial resources and budget allocations dedicated to adaptation actions.


Already, the government of Egypt has embarked on preparing a NAP framework; a process that involves assessing and addressing institutional and technical capacity gaps for adaptation planning and management of adaptation actions, national level climate risks and vulnerability assessments and identification of sectoral adaptation priorities, and mapping of mid-and long-term climate change adaptation financing options.  

Moving ahead – 2021 and beyond 


The Ministry of Environment and the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency have officially approved and cleared the implementation of the FAO-UNDP SCALA programme in Egypt. A background desk review of relevant climate change plans and documents has been undertaken, as well as a baseline report has been produced. This will be further informed by the stocktaking and climate action review exercise for the identification and validation of climate actions with transformative potential in the AFOLU sectors.

Through initial consultations with the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Agriculture & Land Reclamation, it has been recommended that the SCALA programme supports the NAP development process under the recently launched GCF-NAP Readiness project. SCALA deliverables therefore will be designed to serve as inputs to the NAP project through which Egypt’s overall NAP will be developed. Contributions will mostly be towards evidence generation through climate risk and vulnerability assessments, innovative climate research on water management and irrigation adaption measures, capacity needs assessment reports on disaster risk reduction and early warning mechanisms in AFOLU sectors, and environmental impact assessments of land use plans.

By supporting the preparation of the National Adaption Plan Framework, which will target to address the mitigation and adaptation barriers, the SCALA programme in Egypt will contribute to the country’s long-term goal of decreasing climate vulnerability and building climate resilience of AFOLU sectors. By establishing a framework for improving institutional and technical capacity for climate change adaptation planning it will help the country enhance climate action needed by 2030. The programme will support assessments of climate risks and vulnerabilities, determining climate change mitigation and adaptation priorities and integrating climate change mitigation and adaptation into national and sectoral planning and budgeting.