HSBC commits funding to UAE coastal ecosystem restoration project

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The project is part of HSBC’s commitment to help scale-up high impact nature-based solutions to capture carbon dioxide and protect natural ecosystems

HSBC is committing philanthropic funds to a coastal ecosystem project in the UAE as part of the bank’s US$100 million global Climate Solutions Partnership with World Resources Institute, WWF and a network of local partners.

The project is part of HSBC’s commitment to help scale-up high impact nature-based solutions to capture carbon dioxide and protect natural ecosystems.

Supporting nature-based solutions for climate action is one of three workstreams in HSBC’s Climate Solutions Partnership – announced in May 2021 alongside the World Resources Institute, WWF and a network of local partners with the aim of unlocking barriers to finance for companies and projects that tackle climate change – alongside supporting start-up firms developing carbon-cutting technologies, and backing initiatives to help transition energy growth to renewables in Asia.

Abdulfattah Sharaf, HSBC UAE CEO and Head of International, said: “The Climate Solutions Partnership is powered by HSBC’s resources, knowledge and insight along three themes – scaling-up climate innovation ventures, promoting nature-based solutions and helping to transition the energy sector towards renewables – as part of the mission to achieve a net zero, resilient and sustainable future.”

HSBC and its project partners in the UAE – the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), Emirates Nature-WWF (ENWWF), and International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) – are focusing on the management and restoration of coastal ecosystems, including mangroves, to mitigate climate change and drive socio-economic benefits such as eco-tourism and food security.

Collectively, they are exploring technical, policy and financial considerations that are important for public and private sector decision making that supports the scaling up of nature-based solutions for climate action. 

Her Excellency Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, said: “With the launch of our new five-year strategy (2021-2025) where our first priority is dedicated to climate change, we are very proud to be part of this collaboration with HSBC, ENWWF and ICBA in the UAE. Our project will create a solid nature-based solution proposition that aims to enhance coastal ecosystem resilience as part of our efforts on climate change mitigation and adaptation, while delivering benefits for the UAE at large. Furthermore, by enhancing and restoring coastal wetlands, including mangroves, saltmarshes and seagrass habitats, the project will help contribute to the ambitions of the UAE government in reducing greenhouse emissions.”

Her Excellency Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri added: “The success of this project will be determined by the advance collaboration among private and public sector, civil society and scientists to increase interest and participation in scaling up nature-based solutions for the advancement of climate, nature and people.”

His Excellency Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “Nature-based solutions are integral to the UAE’s response to the climate challenge. The protection and restoration of blue carbon ecosystems in particular is a priority for the country. As part of its second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement, the UAE pledged to plant 30 million mangrove seedlings by 2030. Building on this commitment, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is proud to endorse the project to enhance coastal carbon sinks and ecosystems, being implemented by HSBC, EAD, ENWWF and ICBA. The project will not only yield measurable outcomes in climate mitigation and nature conservation but also provide valuable input for federal and emirate-level policies. Development of public-private partnerships and innovative solutions, an approach that lies at the heart of the project, is a key enabler of the implementation of the National Climate Change Plan 2017-2050. We hope that this project will demonstrate the potential of local nature-based climate solutions and strengthen multi-stakeholder collaboration in this promising area of work.” 

In addition to investing in nature-based solutions for climate action, HSBC is also leveraging its network throughout the Middle East to identify start-up firms in the region that are developing carbon-cutting technologies as part of the climate innovation workstream within the bank’s global Climate Solutions Partnership.

The Climate Solutions Partnership is part of HSBC’s ambitious climate strategy, announced in October 2020. HSBC aims to align its provision of finance to net zero by 2050 or sooner, in line with the Paris Agreement goals, and expects to provide up to US$1 trillion of finance and investment by 2030 to support its customers in the net zero transition. The bank has also pledged to work across the financial sector and beyond to accelerate solutions that will help avoid catastrophic climate change. The Climate Solutions Partnership represents a key plank of this strategy.

About HSBC in the MENAT region:

HSBC is the largest and most widely represented international banking organisation in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT), with a presence in nine countries across the region: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. In Saudi Arabia, HSBC is a 31% shareholder of Saudi British Bank (SABB), and a 51% shareholder of HSBC Saudi Arabia for investment banking in the Kingdom. Across MENAT, HSBC had assets of US$68.9bn as at 31 December 2020.