26 December 2022
Nat’l Initiative for Green Smart Projects: Climate Solutions Made in Egypt

In August 2022, the green city of Sharm El-Sheikh hosted the launch of the National Initiative for Green Smart Projects (NIGSP), a pioneering program directed toward attaining sustainable and smart development and addressing the environmental component and effects of climate change.

Launched as part of the preparations for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 27), the Initiative is a joint effort by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, Ministry of Local Development, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of International Cooperation, and the National Council for Women.

The environment-themed initiative is part of the efforts made to bring about sustainable development in line with Egypt's Vision 2030, safeguard the planet to bring a better life to people, and protect the rights of the next generations. It also comes within the framework of the National Climate Change Strategy 2050, a key feature of which is embedding climate change adaptation mechanisms in development programs and projects undertaken by the public and private sectors and civil society.

This unparalleled program is all about implementation and application. NIGSP aims to address the environmental dimension and climate change and help fulfill Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and digital transformation through impactful projects.

Another objective is to create a nationwide map for green smart projects, helping connect them with local and international funding agencies and investors. This is in addition to empowering governorates to face climate challenges, reaching citizens of different groups, raising awareness of climate change and the power of technology, unlocking women’s potential in fighting climate change and preserving nature, and engaging all segments of society in tackling environmental issues.

The idea behind the Initiative is to place sustainability as a top priority. Submitted projects have to involve a full range of opportunities and advantages and must hold promise in contributing to digital transformation.

NIGSP targets green smart projects in a number of categories, one of which is gender-related projects. The aim is to advance the empowerment of women in line with national efforts. Another category focuses on encouraging local communities to develop effective solutions to climate change.

The National Initiative has six categories: large projects, medium-sized projects, small-scale domestic projects (as part of Decent Life Initiative), projects by start-ups, not-for-profit community activities; and gender-related, climate change- and sustainability-focused projects.

Participation is open to companies, individuals, and public and private agencies. Submitted projects must meet certain criteria, including that the project must be green and smart, according to the evaluation criteria for each category, and it must be submitted in the category where it fits best, based on the size and nature of work of the applicant (not-for-profit/gender-related).

Additionally, a submitted project, one of its phases, or a prototype of it must have been implemented or be implementable. It must also meet pressing needs in a governorate or involve an innovative aspect. The project must be within the borders of the governorate where it is submitted.

When assessing gender-related and climate change- and sustainability-focused projects, evaluators apply the set criteria while considering a couple more factors. These include the participation rate for women in the initiative/project; if the submitted project helps enhance the role of women in the green transition; if it meets their needs, and the capacity-building element (education and training) for implementors and beneficiaries of the initiative/project.

As part of the Initiative, a digital platform was created, with an assessment tool embedded to evaluate projects and save important documents. The evaluation process is explained on the platform, helping guarantee impartiality and objectivity during the selection process.

NIGSP is carried out in collaboration with a wide network of partners, including the governorates, concerned ministries, the private sector, industries federations, chambers of commerce, investor associations, unions, and funding agencies.

The role of MCIT includes setting the selection criteria and organizing sessions in all 27 governorates to introduce investors and entrepreneurs to smart projects and their objectives and the qualification requirements for the National Initiative. Moreover, the Ministry, through Creativa Innovation Hubs, promotes the Initiative among members of the IT community and explains its different categories and terms.

MCIT is also responsible for attracting major ICT companies to support winning projects, financially or technically, and acting as a jury member that evaluates projects at the governorate level.

In October, the Ministry participated in the preparatory meetings for NIGSP Conference. Attending the meetings were representatives of a number of ministries, UN Women, UN Development Programme (UNDP), World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Officials from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Egyptian Exchange, Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI), Supreme Council of Universities, and Federation of Egyptian Banks, joined the meetings as well.

During NIGSP Conference, a total of 162 projects (six from each governorate) were presented, and 18 projects, winners in the final qualifiers (three in each of the six categories), were announced. At COP 27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, the best six projects were revealed.

The Initiative is to be implemented and updated on an annual basis. Within the Initiative, a list of the green smart projects in all 27 governorates is created, and the projects are linked to investors, with the sole purpose of encouraging the development of homegrown solutions to climate challenges.
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