Cop27's leftover food to be donated to Egypt's poor

Uneaten meals from UN climate conference will be given to people most affected by rising food prices and inflation

Sharm El Sheikh is preparing to host the Cop27 climate conference in November. Reuters
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A charity has been hired to minimise food waste at the Cop27 climate conference, which Egypt will host in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El Sheikh in November.

Ahmed Se’da, of the Egyptian Social Solidarity Ministry, said unused food from the UN conference will be packaged and redistributed among Egypt’s poor.

The ministry opened the door in May for volunteers to sign up for Cop27, Mr Se’da said, confirming that almost 10,000 had been chosen in the first round.

Only 1,000 of them will make it to the conference, he said.

Solar cells on the rooftop of a hotel in Sharm El Sheikh, which is maximising clean energy as it prepares for the Cop27 summit. Reuters

One of the volunteers’ main jobs at the conference will be to package the unused food and collect it for redistribution, Mr Se’da said.

He said 9,900 volunteers had come forward to participate in the conference from 80 different countries, underscoring young people’s commitment to the climate change issue.

The first wave of volunteers were subjected to rigorous tests to ensure their abilities were in line with what would be required for the conference. Mr Se’da said they had to be young and physically fit enough to handle the job.

The volunteers’ language skills were assessed in the second wave of tests, he said.

Egypt’s economy has been badly battered by the damaging aftermath of the war in Ukraine, which has resulted in a sharp rise in food prices and inflation hovering at about 14 per cent, according to the latest central bank data.

The fallout has been particularly felt as it comes on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic, which weakened the economy significantly over the past two years.

Updated: September 20, 2022, 11:40 AM