Dubai-UAE: Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, stressed the need to include all sectors and segments of society in designing and implementing climate efforts and advancing sustainable development to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and to safeguard the future of humanity in light of the devastating impacts of climate change.
During her participation in the activities of the first day of the May Ministerial Meeting on Implementation, held in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, Her Excellency said: “The UAE is keen to involve all public and private sector stakeholders in developing and executing strategies for tackling the causes of climate change and strengthening adaptation capabilities. The UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative views sectoral participation in defining and raising national climate ambitions as a main priority.”
Speaking at the first panel discussion, entitled ‘Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change’, she added: “Based on its model of transforming challenges into opportunities, the UAE focuses on driving sustainable socio-economic development while protecting the environment and stepping up climate action, and the private sector is a crucial partner in these efforts.”
Her Excellency pointed out that global estimates confirm that investing in strengthening adaptation capabilities makes sound economic sense, as it reduces and possibly eliminates the costs of dealing with losses and damages caused by the impacts of climate change in the future. She added that to encourage such forward-looking investments, the UAE has introduced several enabling national policies and initiatives, including the UAE Sustainable Finance Framework, the Dubai Declaration on Sustainable Finance, and the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Declaration.
In a session on ‘Avoiding, Minimizing and Addressing Loss and Damage’, Her Excellency said: “The effectiveness of climate change mitigation measures can be boosted by conducting extensive studies and assessments and developing climate action models specific to each country and region. As part of the National Climate Change Adaptation Program, we have undertaken an assessment of climate risks in four priority sectors – energy, infrastructure, health, and the environment – and we are currently developing sectoral action plans to adapt to these risks.”
She added: “We aim to work closely with our regional partners, particularly Egypt – the host of COP27 – to share expertise, identify common goals, and explore areas of collaboration to build climate resilience capacities in the Middle East and Africa.”
Her Excellency presented several strategic initiatives launched by the UAE with the aim of mitigating the impacts of climate change at the local level and enhancing adaptation capabilities, including increasing its mangrove-planting target from 30 million to 100 million by 2030. Mangrove forests protect coasts from rising sea levels and storm surges, serve as effective carbon sinks, and provide critical habitats for biodiversity. In addition, she highlighted the country’s role in fast-tracking the clean energy transition by driving the deployment of renewable energy solutions locally and globally.
The final session of the first day, ‘Reducing emissions and keeping 1.5°C alive’, included discussions about implementing the requirements of the Glasgow Pact and raising the ambitions of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Her Excellency outlined the UAE’s experience that involves increasing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction target in its second NDC, submitted in December 2020, and launching the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative.
She said: “Improving access to finance, accelerating technology adoption, and promoting innovation are the most important enablers that contribute to achieving a qualitative shift to enhance climate efforts and reduce emissions to limit global warming to 1.5°C.”
Running from May 12 to 13, the May Ministerial Meeting on Implementation provides an open platform for ministerial discussions on climate in preparation for the 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) that will take place in Egypt in November 2022. The event is hosted by Denmark and co-chaired by the UK and Egypt as the respective current and incoming COP presidencies.