Remarks of U.S. Ambassador Jonathan R. Cohen
Opening Pane – World Youth Forum 2022
January 10, 2022
Thank you, and first I want to also thank President Al Sisi for inviting me to participate in this panel. I was an attendant at the last World Youth Forum in 2019, and I was very impressed by the inspirational young people I met then, and I am delighted we can be back together this year.
The work that we have done together with Egypt to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 has been a part of a very broad and deep strategic partnership that we have between our two countries. And over these past two years, in partnering to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, the U.S. for its part, has, in partnership with COVAX, provided over 16 million doses of Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson coronavirus vaccine to Egypt.
Our two governments have also been working together since the beginning of the pandemic to help each other limit the spread of the virus. Apart from the vaccines, the U.S. government has contributed over 50 million to helping Egypt mitigate COVID through various kinds of assistance and relief, and we recently donated two mobile medical units and medical equipment to combat the virus here.
I also want to highlight that at the very beginning of the pandemic, Egypt demonstrated remarkable generosity, donating medical equipment to the United States, and I want again to thank President Sisi and the people of Egypt for that.
I should also say, tackling COVID isn’t the only crisis we’re working on together, we are also engaged together in the struggle against climate change, where bold action to tackle the climate crisis is more urgent than ever. The U.S. is trying to do its part, and President Biden has returned the U.S. to the Paris agreement, committed to reduce U.S. emissions by at least 50% below the 2005 levels by 2030, and has pledged to double U.S. climate support for developing countries by 2024, and to triple U.S. contributions to adaptation finance.
Egypt too is taking steps to address climate change by meeting an ever-larger portion of its energy needs with renewable clean energy, as well as modernizing the oil and gas sectors. Egypt’s ambitions to become a leader in green energy mean that new projects in power generation and transmission will be coming along, and we expect that we’ll soon see, among other things, more energy efficient buildings, better management of critical water resources, and incentives for cleaner cars. This is where U.S. companies who have already enjoyed a strong presence her in Egypt can help.
U.S. innovation has already brought a lot of our U.S. companies to the forefront helping to combat climate change, and I have made it a personal priority to encourage more such U.S. companies to invest in Egypt, highlighting the strong innovative pool of talent among Egyptian people, Egypt’s strategic location, its promising economic prospectives, and its commitment to go green in its 2030 vision. I am pleased that one of the great champions of combatting climate change, U.S. Special Envoy John Kerry, will be offering remarks tomorrow at the World Youth Forum. And, I am hoping to welcome a green economy trade mission of potential investors from the U.S. to Egypt in the months ahead.
So, the United States government and the United States private sector are both looking forward to cooperating with Egypt as it hosts COP27 here in Sharm El-Sheik later this year.
Because we are here to talk about youth, I wanted to note that I have decided to start a U.S. Ambassadors Youth Council at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. This council is going to consist of 10 young Egyptian leaders between the age of 18 and 25 who are going to work together with me and my Embassy team to address common issues as we strive to achieve a better shared future. We are going to harness their creativity to sharpen our focus on promoting peace and development. The U.S. Ambassador’s Youth Council will be made up of representatives from a range of sectors, including young Egyptian men and women working on climate change and environmental awareness, entrepreneurship and economic development, youth empowerment, cultural innovation, and civic leadership.
There is so much that we can get from, as Miguel said, and I am delighted to be on this panel with Miguel, we are old friends from our time at the United Nations, there is so much that we can get from working in this cross-generational space, and I think you said it very well, it is not that you are our future, you are the present too and we need to work together. As my national motto says in Latin “e pluribus unum,” which means, “out of many one,” it’s on American currency, it’s in America’s heart, and I want to offer the thought that working together, across generations, we can, as one common humanity, combat the crisis that we face in terms of COVID-19 and in terms of climate and the other challenges that face us in the future as we work together to build a better tomorrow.