UAE strengthens its commitment to climate action amid COVID-19 recovery efforts

An official UAE delegation, comprising senior officials from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE), has participated in the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5).

The event ran from February 22nd to 23rd, 2021, under the theme ‘Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals’.

Fahed Al Hammadi, Acting Assistant Under-Secretary of the Green Development and Climate Change Sector at MoCCAE, delivered the UAE statement during the leadership dialogue at a virtual session titled ‘Contribution of the Environmental Dimension of Sustainable Development to Building a Resilient and Inclusive Post-pandemic World’.

Emphasising the country’s commitment to integrating the environmental dimension of sustainable development into its post-pandemic recovery efforts, he said, “The COVID-19 pandemic should not slow us down in transitioning towards a resilient and inclusive green economy. Instead, it can catalyse the transition. In the midst of the recovery efforts, the UAE strengthened its commitment to climate action, and proceeded to submit its enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement that reflects its ambitions in climate mitigation and adaptation.”

Al Hammadi added, “The UAE’s second NDC reflects its target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 23.5 percent compared to business as usual for the year 2030. By then, the country aims to expand its clean power capacity to 14 GW, rising from just above 100 MW in 2015. In boosting nature-based climate solutions, the UAE has committed to planting 30 million mangroves by 2030 to conserve and enhance coastal blue carbon ecosystems. Given the country’s harsh desert climate and scarce water resources, we are also exploring innovative climate-smart agriculture, and exchanging knowledge and technology with our Arab neighbors facing similar challenges.”

Furthermore, he highlighted the UAE’s recent adoption of two landmark policies – the UAE Environmental Policy that facilitates the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the UAE Circular Economy Policy 2021-2031 that seeks to optimise the use of resources and reduce waste, thus promoting sustainable production and consumption. The policies complement the country’s ongoing efforts in the fields of green growth, biodiversity conservation, and environmental protection.

In closing, Al Hammadi called for stepping up international cooperation to protect the planet and support those most at risk as climate change impacts mount, and ecosystems come under increasing pressure.

He added, “As a small yet ambitious and responsible nation, the UAE will continue to play an active role in the international community in sharing knowledge and resources to help build a resilient post-pandemic future that leaves no one behind.”

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