World Green Economy summit: How is UAE pursuing a green economy?
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World Green Economy summit: How is UAE pursuing a green economy?

World Green Economy summit: How is UAE pursuing a green economy?

Global and regional ministers, officials and experts gathered at the World Green Economy Summit in September to discuss sustainability, climate change, green economy, and renewable and clean energy

Zubina Ahmed
World green economy summit

The impact of climate change is being felt across all sectors of society. According to the World Health Organization, water scarcity impacts 40 per cent of the world’s population, and as many as 700 million people are at risk of being displaced due to drought by 2030.

The Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2022 indicates that climate change will impact water quality and availability. Globally, 800 million to three billion people are projected to experience chronic water scarcity due to droughts at 2°C warming.

In the current situation, we all need a positive change in order to prepare the next generation of climate action leaders. A transition to a global green economy is based on collective will, partnerships and swift action. Moreover, advancing the green economy requires international cooperation, guaranteeing a new approach, a stable partnership and common goals that can enhance this cooperation. With an aim to make green economy a reality, the UAE recently held the 8th World Green Economy summit on September 28.

The two-day event was organised by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), the World Green Economy Organization (WGEO), and the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The theme of the summit ‘Climate Action Leadership through Collaboration: The Roadmap to Net-Zero,’ reflected the need for international cooperation to combat climate challenges, expand dialogue on sustainability, promote efforts for renewable energy, develop solutions to reach net zero and aim for a sustainable future.

Regional and global ministers, officials and experts gathered at the summit to explore opportunities for collaboration and exchange.

Highlights of the event

The summit focused on the four key pillars of the green economy: energy, finance, food security, and youth. The ‘Energy’ pillar looked into solutions to enhance energy efficiency and decarbonise the energy systems. The ‘Finance’ pillar focused on attracting and encouraging green investments. The ‘Food Security’ pillar examined approaches and methodologies to build resilience and sustainability into value chains, while the ‘Youth’ pillar highlighted the need to support and empower the youth who are the driving force of sustainable development.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, vice chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, MD and CEO of DEWA and chairman of WGEO
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, vice chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, MD and CEO of DEWA and chairman of WGEO

During his keynote speech, Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, vice chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, MD and CEO of DEWA and chairman of WGEO, emphasised how the UAE has been leading global efforts in tackling climate change and pioneered efforts to address global challenges and promote quality investments in the green economy.

He stated, “Selecting the UAE to host the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP 28) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) underlines the world’s recognition of the UAE’s efforts and its effective role in combating climate change. Last year, the UAE announced the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative, with investments of more than Dhs600bn in clean and renewable energy until 2050. This makes it the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to launch such an initiative.”

Al Tayer explained that Dubai has succeeded in reducing carbon emissions by 21 per cent in 2021; exceeding the target set in the Dubai Carbon Abatement Strategy 2021, which aimed to reduce carbon emissions by 16 per cent by 2021.

He added: “Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai launched the Dubai Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy 2050 to drive sustainability, innovation, and transformation towards a sustainable green economy by 2050. The UAE hosts specialised international institutions in the green economy, such as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi and the World Green Economy Organization in Dubai.  The country has also led projects such as Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai that aim for a net-zero future.”

Panel discussions

The first day of the summit featured a panel session – ‘Implementing the Paris Agreement: Building a MENA climate action legacy’ where the panelists discussed topics related to climate action in the Middle East and North Africa, and the significance of hosting COP27 in Egypt later this year and COP28 in the UAE next year.

Another great panel discussion called ‘Hydrogen: Fuel of the Future’ showcased regional expertise and research and development projects. In another panel, ‘Investment in climate adaption, investment in growth and resilience’, speakers discussed the need for balanced economic growth in the short term, while progressing efforts in achieving climate goals to attain sustainable long-term growth. Another session discussed the net zero implementation case studies, which highlighted the crucial role of the private sector in accelerating the energy transition agenda.  The final panel discussion: ‘Understanding the role of green bonds in accelerating sustainability’ highlighted the significance of green bonds in tackling the adverse effects of climate change. 

Global Alliance on Green Economy launched

Al Tayer also launched the Global Alliance on Green Economy, which aims to build a coalition of countries, prioritising a green economy in the context of climate action and sustainable development, to enhance the capacity of developing countries, provide support for their green economy transition projects and exchange knowledge on implementation. 

“For us in the UAE, pioneering the adoption of green economy principles and practices within sustainable development, resilience to climate change, and poverty eradication are paramount. Linking the Paris Agreement goals and its corresponding articles, as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with climate planning and climate finance, are key synergies in this transition. We truly believe this harmonisation to be essential in the lead-up to COP27 and COP28 in Egypt and the UAE, respectively,” said Al Tayer.

“This Global Alliance is not the outcome but the first milestone toward important work ahead. We will now be engaging with countries to identify their needs, priorities, and challenges in the context of the green economy, during the next three months. This multi-stakeholder exercise and inclusive consultation with countries will lead to the launch of a suite of flagship projects by WGEO to support the green economy agenda in the countries joining the Alliance. The work under the Alliance will address pressing issues such as food security and carbon markets and how cooperation can be increased at the South-South and North-South levels,” added Al Tayer.

Youth and climate change

The World Green Economy Summit also hosted the Regional Conference of Youth (RCOY) MENA. More than 150 young people from across the region took part in the conference. The forum discussed a range of topics related to the skill development of young people in global climate policies, empowering them, and making their voices heard in climate action policies. It also provided a platform for capacity building and policy training, to prepare young people for their participation in the UN Climate Change Conference of Youth (COY) and Conference of Parties (COP). The regional conference is designed to develop a network among MENA youth to prepare and train the Arab and North African youth to host and lead the COP27/COY, which will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt in 2022.

The World Green Economy Organization also facilitated the collaboration between policymakers, young people and other stakeholders to accelerate towards a sustainable global green economy.

Additionally, the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, DEWA’s Youth Council, in cooperation with the Federal Youth Authority, organised a Youth Circle titled ‘Youth Action Towards Achieving Net-Zero’. The session discussed several topics related to the role of the youth in climate action; the future skill-sets the youth need to pursue to be able to tackle the climate change issues; and the role of the government and private sectors and NGOs in supporting youth action towards achieving the net-zero targets.

The 8th Dubai Declaration

The summit concluded with Al Tayer, announcing the 8th Dubai Declaration which emphasised the importance of comprehensive partnerships and the need to mobilise resources to support low-emission development initiatives and the transition to a green economy. It called for promoting the efforts and contribution of the public and private sectors in exploring ways to enhance energy efficiency and reduce emissions in the energy systems, mobilise investments in support of green growth and sustainability, in addition to empowering the youth to make positive and effective change.

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