UAE launches global initiative to decarbonise waste management and circular economy

Waste to Zero programme aims to boost the UAE's leading role in helping achieve the Paris Agreement's goals

The UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and Abu Dhabi Waste Management Company have teamed up to promote awareness on the objectives of the circular economy and sustainable resource management. Photo: MOCCAE
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The UAE has launched a global initiative that aims to advance decarbonisation efforts in waste management and the circular economy.

The project, Waste to Zero, aims to boost the UAE's role in leading action towards the Paris Agreement’s goal of reducing emissions by 43 per cent by 2030, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment said on Saturday.

It was launched with a preliminary agreement between the ministry and Abu Dhabi Waste Management Company (Tadweer).

It will centre on promoting solutions aimed at the decarbonisation of the waste management sector by attracting investment and financing in infrastructure projects, create job opportunities, strengthen regulatory frameworks and reduce overuse of natural resources, it said.

Waste to Zero also comes in the lead-up to the Cop28 climate change conference in the UAE next month, with such partnerships a “key pillar”, in delivering the Emirates' climate commitments and achieving Net Zero by 2050, Mariam Al Mheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, said.

“As we prepare to host Cop28, the UAE is keen to play a stronger role in driving global climate action by reducing emissions and contributing to the goals of the Paris Agreement, mitigating climate change effects and protecting the planet,” she said.

“Through this collaboration, we will mobilise global efforts once again to adopt practical solutions in the waste management sector to achieve sustainability and increase its contribution to reducing emissions.”

Cop28 is scheduled to be held in Dubai from November 30 to December 12 and is expected to be the most inclusive yet.

“We trust our ability to make a significant difference in global waste management sector, and contribute to the international environmental and climate agenda in the coming period”, Ms Al Mheiri said.

Tadweer, which is part of Abu Dhabi holding company ADQ's portfolio, is the sole company handling waste management in Abu Dhabi. It aims to develop an integrated waste management sector and extract value from waste to contribute to national sustainability ambitions.

The ministry's partnership with Tadweer will be central to decarbonisation efforts in the waste management sector, which is responsible for an estimated 3 per cent to 5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, Ms Al Mheiri said.

A circular economy, meanwhile, is a system that focuses on reducing the extraction of natural resources, minimising waste and regenerating natural systems.

Raw materials, components and products keep their value for as long as possible, while renewable energy sources are used to fuel economic activity.

Adopting such principles could deliver $26 trillion in economic benefits by 2030, the Global Commission on Economy and Climate had said.

The UAE will focus on developing a circular economy as it aims to double its economic growth by 2031, Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq said in May. Last year, the UAE approved 22 policies aimed at accelerating the country's transition to a circular economy.

It also set up the UAE Circular Economy Council, which will create policies focusing on four main sectors – manufacturing, food, infrastructure and transport, the government said at the time.

On Saturday, the council said the UAE private sector has intensified its efforts in support of the nation's circular economy agenda, in its review of UAE Circular Economy Landscape Report 2023.

As part of the partnership, Tadweer will be hosting discussions, workshops and awareness programmes for partners in the UAE and overseas on the objectives of the circular economy and sustainable resource management, the statement said.

“We hope to create a platform for dialogue, raise awareness and drive actionable solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the waste sector,” said Ali Al Dhaheri, chief executive of Tadweer.

Updated: October 07, 2023, 1:27 PM