UAE appoints sustainability ambassadors ahead of Cop28

Ali Al Shimmari and Abdulla Al Remeithi will represent the Year of Sustainability team in its goal to tackle climate change

Ali Al Shimmari and Abdullah Al Remeithi will provide research support offer insights into best practices for the Year of Sustainability team. Photo: National Experts Program
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Two Emiratis have been appointed sustainability ambassadors for the UAE's Year of Sustainability team, it has been announced.

Ali Al Shimmari and Abdulla Al Remeithi have been chosen to promote collaborative sustainable practices as part of a year-long contract.

The two experts will provide research support, advise on relevant policies and initiatives by private and public entities and offer insights into best practices.

Both men are fellows of the National Experts Programme, established in 2019 to help develop the leaders of tomorrow.

Experts in their fields

The appointments, which are a first for the UAE, come in theYear Of Sustainability, as Dubai prepares to host Cop28 in November, further strengthening the country's commitment to climate action.

"We are a team of dedicated sustainability experts with a deep understanding of the UAE's context on sustainability," Mr Al Remeithi told The National.

"Working alongside the UAE Year of Sustainability team, we extend our support through research, fact-checking and sharing our knowledge, as well as raising awareness of the initiative, to ensure that the Year of Sustainability's intended goal of sustainable behavioural change is reached," he said.

Sustainability will be part of our culture and heritage. I am confident that we will go beyond Cop28 and by emphasising it this year, we raise awareness and continue ramping it up
Ali Al Shimmari

Mr Al Remeithi said that their mission is to promote sustainability across all avenues of their work by approaching it from an understanding of social, cultural, economical, financial, environmental and health goals.

"Our end goal is to achieve sustainable development in not only the UAE, but the entire world," he said.

"We aim to encourage collective action and inspire all those who call the UAE home to build sustainable habits, inspired by our deeply-rooted heritage and our ancestors, who championed this concept and embodied it in their everyday lives."

Mr Al Remeithi is the director of environment policy, regulation and climate change at Abu Dhabi's Environment Agency, as well as the lead UAE negotiator for adaptation in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

He also plays an active role in supporting the Emirates' transition to green, sustainable economics through his involvement in several national and international organizations, including the SDG13 Council for Climate Action and Abu Dhabi's Climate Change Taskforce.

Mr Al Remeithi will be joined by Ali Al Shimmari, an international assets manager for the GCC region at the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company TAQA. He is also chairman of the TAQA Youth Council, which aims to increase the involvement of young people in the company's activities.

Six months to Cop28: Here's what to expect at the climate summit in Dubai

Six months to Cop28: Here's what to expect at the climate summit in Dubai

Mr Al Shimmari said that the idea sustainability is only related to the environment is a major misconception.

"Sustainability touches every aspect of our lives. The environment is only one spectrum. There are 17 sustainability goals," he said, referring to the UAE's 17 sustainability development goals that include gender equality, affordable and clean energy, climate action and justice, among others.

"It is such a wide spectrum, and our main goal is to make sustainability a lifestyle," he said.

Reducing food waste and using water and electricity efficiently, he added, are vital.

"Simply switch off the lights once you leave the house and reduce the use of single-use plastic. This alone will make a huge impact.

"I started doing these on an individual level and gradually saw how it influenced everyone around me," he said.

Mr Al Shimmari said he is confident the UAE will meet and exceed its Cop28 goals.

"Sustainability will be part of our culture and heritage. I am confident that we will go beyond Cop28 and, by emphasising it this year, we raise awareness and continue ramping it up," Mr Al Shimmari said.

The Cop28 summit is set to bring together 70,000 participants from 198 countries when it begins on November 30 at Expo City Dubai.

As host nation, the UAE will focus on securing concrete commitments to turn the tide of climate change.

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Updated: July 03, 2023, 2:38 PM