New climate lab embedded in Egypt’s government to enhance access to clean air and water announced at Arab climate negotiators conference in Cairo

Cairo, Egypt

Community Jameel, an independent, global organisation advancing science and learning, and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab Middle East and North Africa (J-PAL MENA) at the American University in Cairo (AUC), have announced plans to launch a new lab embedded in the Egyptian government to drive evidence-based and innovative approaches to tackling the effects of the climate crisis.

In the MENA region, 90 percent of children already face high or extreme water scarcity, with climate change adding stress to fragile infrastructure and limited resources. By strengthening and supporting Egyptian policymakers, the new lab will help institutionalise evidence-informed air and water policies with the Egyptian government and improve millions of people’s access to clean air and water.

The new lab is one of at least five J-PAL government-embedded air and water labs that Community Jameel is supporting worldwide – at the national government level in Egypt, at the city level in Cape Town, and at the state level in India, including Gujarat – collectively serving nearly 260 million people. Community Jameel is also supporting two climate labs focused on sustainable urban planning in Chennai, India, and Amman, Jordan, led by a global network of nearly 100 mayors of the world’s leading cities confronting the climate crisis, . J-PAL and will collaborate to leverage learnings.

Plans to launch the new air and water lab in Cairo were announced at the ‘Partnership development for climate adaptation in Arab states’ (PDCA) conference, a two-day conference organised by J-PAL MENA, the Arab Water Council, the National Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, in partnership with Community Jameel.

With a focus on advancing evidence-based strategies for effective climate solutions to support efforts on the global goal on adaptation, the conference aimed to introduce randomised evaluations to policymakers and practitioners, support regional practitioners in setting the adaptation agenda, and empower climate negotiators representing Arab states at COP28 in the United Arab Emirates. Leveraging J-PAL’s research insights, the PDCA conference aims to inform the climate adaptation agenda and highlight how randomised evaluations can serve as a tool to guide investments towards impactful climate solutions.

George Richards, director of Community Jameel, said: “Swift climate action is critical – now more than ever. Our commitment to promoting policies and solutions rooted in evidence aims to ensure that actions undertaken by governments have maximum impact. This new air and water lab in Egypt, in partnership with J-PAL MENA and embedded with partners in the Egyptian government, will generate evidence to inform effective policymaking that will enhance access to clean air and water for millions of Egyptians in the face of climate change. Through this conference, we hope to support climate actors in the region to leverage evidence in the solutions and partnerships that will drive a more coordinated response to the worsening climate crisis.”  

Ahmed Elsayed, executive director of J-PAL MENA at AUC, said: “We are excited to have the opportunity to introduce more policymakers and practitioners to randomized evaluations, showcasing their role in evidence-based climate solutions at the Partnership Development for Climate Adaptation conference. Our goal is to inspire policymakers and practitioners to collaborate with us and leverage the power of data to make informed decisions for a sustainable future. We are especially proud to announce the launch of the Air and Water Lab, a new initiative at J-PAL MENA that aims to co-generate evidence with government partners to improve clean air and water. Looking ahead, we are optimistic about forging more successful partnerships that will drive transformative change in climate adaptation.”

Community Jameel has previously partnered with J-PAL to advance evidence-based policymaking through partnerships with governments to allow for enhanced policies and programmes in line with development priorities. In 2022, J-PAL MENA launched the Egypt Impact Lab in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, with foundational support from Community Jameel and the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development.

Since its establishment in 2003, more than 600 million people have been reached by programmes informed by evaluations by J-PAL affiliated researchers, and in 2019 its co-founders, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, along with longtime J-PAL affiliated professor Michael Kremer, won the Nobel prize in economics for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.

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