DUBAI, 13th June 2017 (WAM) - Following the cabinet endorsement of the National Climate Change Plan 2050, which aims to emphasize UAE’s proactive approach towards sustainable development, raise the quality of life across the country and identify priorities, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: "The National Climate Change Plan builds on the existing policy and institutional framework for green growth and sustainable development in the UAE. It reflects the mandates of the UAE Vision 2021 and the UAE Green Agenda 2015-2030, and factors in the nation’s unique circumstances, development priorities, resource endowments, and capacity."
He pointed out that with an ambition to achieve a diversified, innovative, climate-resilient economy and a high quality of life, the National Climate Change Plan seeks to achieve the following threefold objectives: (1) manage greenhouse emissions while sustaining economic growth; (2) build climate resilience through minimizing risks and increasing capacity for climate adaptation; and (3) advance the UAE’s economic diversification agenda through innovative solutions.
Through pursuing these interlinked goals, the Plan seeks to enable the nation to achieve continuous growth even while addressing the complexity of climate change, thereby facilitating the transition toward a climate-resilient green economy.
Al Zeyoudi said: "The UAE’s current policy directions already represent solid progress on the management of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As a next step, the UAE will work to synthesize ongoing efforts at sectoral and emirate-wide levels in monitoring and managing GHG emissions, and integrating international best practices."
The Minister added: "The private sector will play a critical role in advancing the UAE’s economic diversification agenda by strengthening the market for environmental goods and services. It is in the best interests of the private sector to tackle climate change as the expected impacts may affect their bottom line."
"Businesses can be a source of innovation in addressing sustainability challenges and they have huge potential to provide the necessary resources to advance the diversification agenda. To achieve this goal, the government will endeavor to provide an enabling environment for the private-sector’s climate actions through combining regulations and incentives," he explained.
Al Zeyoudi further pointed out that employment opportunities in the green economy are promising, but currently require significant capacity gaps to be filled to realize them. To prepare the workforce for the transition to green sectors such as clean energy, green manufacturing, and environmental goods and services, the UAE will carry out a comprehensive capacity needs assessment, leverage young local talents by equipping them with technical, managerial, and vocational skills, and forge closer collaboration between academia and industry.
"The National Climate Change Plan comprises three components that facilitate policy alignment and innovation. The UAE is already undertaking a wide range of climate action initiatives. Within the ‘Key Climate Priorities’ segment, the Plan seeks to address the gaps and opportunities for growth in the current policy landscape, in the near-term (up to 2020) and long-term (2030-2050). The wide range of existing climate action efforts in various sectors under the scope of the country’s Green Agenda are captured in ‘Foundation: Green Agenda’ section, that also highlights key progress and lessons to date. The Plan also features an important segment ‘Enablers: Means of Implementation’, that outlines mechanisms to support climate action," the Minister added.
In the UAE, innovative green finance is gaining momentum, but a stronger enforcement of policy framework and regulations is required to link bankable projects and financiers. Mainstreaming green finance in public policy requires an iterative and participatory process of strategic planning and implementation. In the longer term, the UAE will consider innovative tools such as green fiscal policy to further stimulate investment flows into sustainable projects.
The job prospects in the green economy are promising, but require filling significant capacity gaps to realize them. To prepare the workforce for the transition to green sectors such as clean energy, green manufacturing, and environmental goods and services, the UAE will carry out a comprehensive capacity needs assessment; leverage young local talents by equipping them with technical, managerial, and vocational skills; and forge closer collaboration between academia and industry.
In line with these priorities, MOCCAE will lead an awareness and communication campaign, in partnership with concerned stakeholders, following a thorough assessment of the targeted audiences’ understanding, motivations, and willingness to engage in climate actions. Furthermore, MOCCAE will conduct campaigns in partnership with relevant stakeholders to facilitate the participation of government entities, businesses, youth, households, academia, and media, in addressing climate change.
The implementation of the National Climate Change Plan will be overseen by the UAE Council on Climate Change and the Environment (CCCE) as an inter-ministerial, inter-emirate governance body. The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) will assume the role of the secretariat. In addition, MOCCAE will also take on the primary responsibility for monitoring the progress of the Plan.
The Minister reiterated that the UAE is ready to fulfill its international commitments as it shares common aspirations with the global community in relation to achieving the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
The Minister said: "In addition to actively engaging in international climate change negotiations to protect the UAE’s interests, we will also aim to enhance the country’s technical capabilities through technology transfer and financing mechanisms currently available to the country."