El Gouna, Egypt goes ‘green’

El Gouna, Egypt goes ‘green’

The Egyptian Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs is devising a strategy to transform the Red Sea city of El Gouna into a carbon-neutral city. Once achieved, El Gouna will officially be the first carbon-neutral city in Africa and one of the leading carbon-neutral cities in the world.

Commencing with an agreement between The Egyptian Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs and the Italian Ministry of Environment on 27 January 2014, this project is to stimulate Egypt’s tourism industry and make an impression on a wider international audience. The project will also strengthen the Egyptian government’s efforts to develop the environment and tourism sectors. Moreover, it will have significant advantages for Egypt in protecting the environment and promoting tourism at local, regional, and international levels by incorporating the new transition to renewable energy. This agreement is part of the cooperation protocol signed by the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Power and Energy and the Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs on 14 December, 2013, to support Egyptian tourism projects to help the environment by creating carbon neutral cities. This protocol has strong support at the international level and represents an important step towards achieving global environmental goals.

El Gouna is already recognised as Egypt’s most environmentally-friendly holiday destination. The city’s management has worked hard in cooperation with local hotels, businesses, residents and visitors to maintain, protect, and preserve its unique environment. The town’s environmental programmes and grassroots environmental organisation paved the way for several awards; including the Green Globe and Travelife, leading to El Gouna’s selection as the pilot location for the Green Star Hotel Programme (GSHP). The GSHP is recognised by both the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). As such, El Gouna is well positioned to be at the forefront of implementing this strategy as it has the necessary requirements to make it the first carbon neutral city in Africa.

Mr. Hisham Zaazou, Egyptian Minister of Tourism, said: “El Gouna will be ready to obtain the title of first African, carbon-neutral city soon and we will be working on implementing this project in other Egyptian cities.”

The Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, Dr. Laila Iskandar, confirmed that: “This agreement will help the Egyptian government to achieve a significant breakthrough in the fields of environment preservation and tourism, enhancing Egypt’s global image and opening the door for Egyptian tourism projects and cities to rank among the leading carbon-neutral cities.”

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