The UAE Regional Dialogue for Climate Action concluded on 4 April, convening climate leaders from across the MENA region to accelerate progress on climate action. Participants issued a Group Statement affirming their commitment to ensuring the success of the Paris Agreement, building momentum ahead of U.S. President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate, taking place in Washington, D.C. later this month, and the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). The COP26 Presidency welcomed the statement and progress in the region and reiterated their call for the submission of enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions and net zero commitments ahead of COP26.
The UAE Regional Dialogue for Climate Action provided a constructive platform for participating countries to collaborate in their responses to climate change and increase global climate ambition. The Dialogue also sought to enable the MENA region to discuss ways of initiating a new low carbon development path and enhancing cooperation with the international community to transform the climate challenge into economic opportunity.
The Dialogue drew the participation of high-level dignitaries from across the region as well as critical global partners and organisations. Participants included COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry, together with Ministers and high level representatives from the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Iraq, Sudan and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The event further reinforced the UAE’s regional climate leadership, providing a common ground for participating nations to build a shared vision for climate action ahead of COP26.
“We are all here because we all believe that accelerating climate action is both necessary and a huge opportunity. Coming just weeks before the Leaders Summit on Climate in Washington D.C., today’s gathering could not be more timely. In fact, this principle has driven the UAE’s expansion in clean tech and sustainable development for the last 15 years. We have discovered that these investments simply make good business sense. This view is backed up by market trends and hard facts. Last year, for instance, set a record for newly installed renewable energy capacity at 260 GW. And this was achieved despite the economic headwinds of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology.
“Our region has enormous potential to contribute to tackling the global challenge of climate change. By coming together, we can maximise our contribution, leverage the latest technologies and focus smart investment to ensure truly sustainable development that facilitates economic growth,” he added.
A Group Statement issued at the end of the Dialogue highlighted the participants’ collective efforts to accelerating climate action, stating “we will work together to ensure the success of the Paris Agreement and will cooperate with our global partners to strengthen climate ambition”.
The Group Statement went on to say that “we are committed to reducing emissions by 2030 and working collectively to help the region adapt to the serious impacts of climate change, to collaborating on mobilizing investment in a new energy economy.”
The Dialogue covered core themes, such as stepping up the deployment of renewable energy, exploring the potential of new zero-carbon energy sources, maximizing the impact of mitigation technologies, including investments in new and emerging innovative solutions, as well as carbon capture, and reducing the carbon emission intensity of hydrocarbon fuels. The conversation focused on the need to ramp up adaptation efforts to reduce the impacts of accelerating climate change, as well as on trends that are of particular concern to the region, including food and water security, combating desertification, and environmental conservation.
“We all need to act with urgency to address climate change. Which is why I welcome the commitment today from our partners across the Middle East, at the UAE Regional Climate Dialogue, to accelerate climate action,” said COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma. “There are huge investment opportunities in the transition to renewable energy - to grow our economies, create jobs and reduce the risk of climate disaster.”
“Ahead of COP26, I urge countries to follow this commitment with net zero targets and furthering ambition in this crucial decade to 2030."
The UAE was the first country in the region to sign and ratify the Paris Agreement. Its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) also makes it the first country in the region to commit to an economy-wide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The UAE’s second NDC includes an emissions reduction of 23.5 percent 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.
The following countries are signatories to the Group Statement from the UAE Regional Climate Dialogue: UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Iraq, Sudan and the U.S.