UAE to Host GCC and MENA Regional Climate Dialogue with participation of US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry

16

COP 26 President Alok Sharma will also participate in the dialogue in advance of the Leaders Summit on Climate in Washington

Focus on Collective Climate Action to accelerate Progress leading up to COP26 in Glasgow

Progressive Action Seen as Opportunity for Regional Economic Growth 

Abu Dhabi, UAE: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will host a GCC and MENA regional dialogue for climate action April 4th in advance of the Leaders Summit on Climate to take place in Washington DC later this month and in the run up to COP 26. The UAE regional dialogue will include the participation of John Kerry, United States (US) Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, COP 26 President Alok Sharma, together with Ministers and High Level Climate Representatives from the GCC and Mena Region.

As part of its well established role as a convener on climate action, the UAE has also invited International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Director-General, Francesco La Camera, to attend the first Regional Climate Dialogue, taking place on April 4 in Abu Dhabi. The event will focus on national and regional preparations for the 26th United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), set to run from 1 to 12 November 2021. The COP26 summit, hosted this year by the United Kingdom (UK) in Glasgow, brings together countries from across the globe to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

His Excellency Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology said: “We look forward to welcoming Special Envoy Kerry and COP 26 President Alok Sharma, along with Ministers and high level representatives of the key economies of the GCC and MENA region to Abu Dhabi for this important dialogue. The UAE has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to progressive climate action and sought to promote sustainable development throughout the region.  By coming together for this dialogue, I believe we can create greater momentum for progress. The UAE views climate action as an opportunity for economic development, while contributing practical solutions to a global problem that affects us all. As the world seeks new pathways to ‘building back better’ in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Special Envoy Kerry’s visit will help consolidate efforts on smart sustainable solutions with tangible benefits for the global community.”

His Excellency continued: “We are already seeing great examples of climate leadership throughout our region, including the recently announced initiative by our brotherly neighbors in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The regional climate dialogue will provide a constructive platform for the MENA region to unite around progressive, practical solutions that can help the world reach global climate goals, while also fostering innovation for sustainable growth.”

Speaking in advance of the meeting, COP 26 President Alok Sharma said,

“It is vitally important that the world works together to tackle climate change. That means countries coming forward with net zero targets and near term emissions reduction targets (the 2030 NDCs) that keep 1.5 degrees within reach. The transition to a clean economy is one which can benefit us all: through creating jobs, spurring sustainable development, and cleaning our air. We are already beginning to see progress and countries in the MENA region are well placed to take advantage of the economic opportunities of this transition. However, the consequences of climate change are already being felt across the region, and the UK will use its COP26 Presidency to build momentum on adaptation to help to keep countries, communities and people safe from the impacts of climate change.”

The Regional Climate Dialogue will provide an ideal platform for the participating countries to exchange experience in their responses to climate change and build momentum for increased global ambition in the run-up to COP26. In addition, it will enable the US and the MENA region to examine new areas of collaboration in the field of climate change mitigation and adaptation with the aim of transforming the climate challenge into an economic opportunity.

Core themes will include accelerating the deployment of renewable energy solutions, exploring the potential of new zero-carbon energy sources, such as green and blue hydrogen, maximizing the impact of mitigation technologies, including carbon capture, and reducing the carbon emission intensity of hydrocarbon fuels, on which the world will still rely during the energy transition. The conversation will discuss policies for adaptation to the impacts of accelerating climate change trends that are of particular concern to the region, such as food and water security, desertification mitigation and environmental conservation.

The participants will seek to develop a common understanding of climate action priorities, as well as a roadmap for cooperation towards COP26 and related milestones.

The UAE has historically been a pioneer in the region in developing renewable energy and other climate mitigation technologies. Domestically, the UAE’s clean power capacity, including solar and nuclear, is on track to reach 14 GW by 2030, from just above 100 MW in 2015 and 2.4 GW in 2020. The UAE has established the region’s first commercial-scale CCUS network, Al Reyadah, advancing the deployment of a technology critical for carbon abatement and climate change mitigation.

The UAE was the first Gulf country to sign and ratify the Paris Accords and its recently announced Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) represents the region’s first economy-wide target to reduce emissions.

Approved by the UAE Cabinet in December 2020, the UAE’s second NDC includes an enhanced greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 23.5% compared to business as usual for the year 2030. The enhanced target is expected to translate into an absolute emissions reduction of about 70 million tons.