Egypt contemplates a greener agenda in the political arena

Egypt contemplates a greener agenda in the political arena


In response to calls from the Johannesburg Earth Summit of 2002, green movements led by environmental activists have led to the formation of numerous Green parties in a growing number of countries including the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

 Egypt has witnessed the establishment in 1990 of The Green Party of Egypt, ‘Hizb al-Khodr’ by the Papyrus Institute’s founder  in Egypt, the late Hassan Ragab highlighting that priority given to the awareness of  the environmental agenda existed in the country even before international calls for action were heard.

 Hizb al-Khodr a minor liberal party among 12 parties registered under the liberal grouping Hizb al-Khodr was put on standby in 1995, but revived in 1998. It is represented in the Shura Council by its president, Abdul Munem al-Aasar, although by presidential appointment rather than by election.

 The party prioritizes the protection and promotion of the environment and the best use of resources. It calls for striking a balance between incomes and prices and drawing up solutions to the problems of poverty and under-development by rendering social justice to all citizens. The party looks to religion as a main guideline for solving daily problems while vowing allegiance to the liberal democracy’s principles.

However, most political parties in Egypt except for the ruling National Democratic Party wield little weight in the realm of public affairs.  Hence little is known about the mission of Hizb al-Khodr or how they plan to translate their ideas into action.

 In all reality twenty years after having a full-fledged green political party and thirteen years after the creation of a ministerial portfolio devoted to the environment there still appears to be a major gap existing between intent, legislation and policies on the one hand, and practice on the other denoting a lack of respect for the environment and low levels of social responsibility by individuals, institutions and corporations

To solve the problem one option includes considering granting executive power to the Minister of State for the Environment and greater political leverage to the relevant ministries and the business sector.  Furthermore instilling the greens with greater representation in parliament especially with the upcoming elections in November could very well achieve this outcome.

 However the solutions require national awareness of the philosophy underpinning the environmental agenda. In parallel, including environmental concepts in educational curricula is also a must in order to foster an environmental culture among new generations.


 Possibly the consequences of climate warming will force us to think differently highlighting that green politics isn’t a luxury, but a question of national survival