More than 150 ministers and senior officials took part in a Green Retreat setting out the UAE's crucial climate change goals on the road to the Cop28 summit in Dubai this year.
The major gathering of representatives of both the public and private sector - branded United for Climate - was held at Expo City Dubai, which will host the critical global conference from November 30 to December 12.
Key figures attending the event included Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan, president and chief executive of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators, Mariam Al Mheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Abdulla bin Touq, Minister of Economy, Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Ahmad Al Falasi, Minister of Education and Salem Al Qassimi, Minister of Culture and Youth.
The event brought together high-level representatives from federal and local government, leading private sector companies and prominent business leaders with the shared mission of furthering plans to safeguard the planet.
Ms Al Mheiri said the event, organised by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, served as an opportunity to develop the UAE's climate change strategies, which include hitting net-zero emissions by 2050 and accelerating the transition to renewable energies.
“The Green Retreat serves as an invaluable opportunity for participants to learn about the UAE's outstanding climate action record and contribute their ambitious ideas to drive tangible progress in national efforts towards sustainable economic growth,” said Ms Al Mheiri.
“We aim to develop a comprehensive climate action plan through the participation of all government and private institutions, which will create significant opportunities for economic growth and diversification, generate employment for youth, foster inclusive and cohesive communities, harness the potential of clean energy, safeguard natural habitats and preserve the environment.”
Pressing challenges to overcome
Ms Al Mheiri underlined the gravity of the task facing the world, with rising food waste, carbon emissions, biodiversity loss and the impending threat of climate change to humankind on the agenda.
Mr bin Touq said swift and concerted action was needed to advance green strategies and protect the environment.
“Co-ordinating all government efforts in the country in preparation for hosting Cop28 is a national priority, given the importance of this vital issue and its direct impact on the comprehensive development process at both state and global levels,” he said.
“This is especially true in light of the unprecedented challenges facing the world today due to climate change, which will continue to make this issue a top priority on the global dialogue agenda in the coming years.”
Mr Al Mazrouei said it was vital for the UAE to be united in its efforts to ensure the success of Cop28.
“With Cop28 approaching fast, all stakeholders should ensure their efforts are aligned to facilitate an adequate representation of the UAE and the success of the highly anticipated event,” he said.
“Since the country’s establishment by the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s environmental stewardship has been nothing short of inspirational, rendering it a leader of climate action, sustainability and environmental protection.”
Climate action plan
The retreat featured seven councils addressing key topics such as water resource management, biodiversity, private sector engagement and industry transformation and sustainable agriculture and food security.
The councils consisted of experts from federal and local government bodies as well as the private sector. They discussed various ideas and challenges related to each topic before suggesting solutions.
Dr Sultan Al Jaber, and Cop28 President-designate, has raised the alarm over the need for radical action.
He has called for a “system-wide transformation” to be brought into force to allow the world to “course correct” in its mission to achieve climate change goals.
“Significant challenges lie ahead” as the international community seeks to drastically reduce emission levels and limit global temperature rises, Dr Al Jaber said during a climate conference in Copenhagen last month.
Dr Al Jaber, who also serves as the UAE's Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, is confident that much-needed progress can be made on the road to Cop28 in Dubai.
He previously said Cop28 would act as the first “global stocktake” since the Paris Agreement in 2015, which set out plans to limit global temperature rises to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels
“The bottom line is this: the world needs to cut emissions by 43 per cent in the next seven years to keep 1.5°C alive,” Dr Al Jaber said.