UK Business Secretary heads to the UAE to underscore support for Cop28

Conservative minister seeks closer ties on energy, climate, space and strategic mineral supplies

Business Secretary Grant Shapps will touch down in the UAE this week. PA
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The UK’s Business Secretary Grant Shapps will visit the UAE this week to strengthen energy co-operation in the run up to Cop28.

As the nation gears up for the global summit in November, it is setting the stage for an impactful event by driving the discussion around the fight against climate change.

Mr Shapps’ first trip to the Middle East since being appointed to the role by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last October will emphasise Britain’s role in helping the UAE push ahead with its energy transition plans, a source told The National.

His tour will also take in Saudi Arabia.

A source at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in London said the minister’s visit would enhance the robust partnership between Britain and the UAE.

“The UK’s relationship with the UAE is long-standing, based on strong historic and economic links,” the insider said.

“They are a key partner in the energy sphere and the Business Secretary’s visit will highlight how the UK is playing an integral role in influencing the UAE’s energy transition plans, which comes with clear benefits to UK plc, thanks to the investments it unlocks, but also to UK bill payers as we boost our energy security with close partners in the longer term.

“The visit will also underscore our full throated support for Cop28 later this year.”

Downing Street said the minister's visit to the region aims to "strengthen ties particularly in areas of energy, space and critical minerals".

His overseas tour will come as Abu Dhabi prepares to host a flagship global summit next week aimed at speeding up sustainable development.

The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week summit on January 16 will act as a platform for the climate debate ahead of Cop28.

Topical issues such as food and water security, energy access, industrial decarbonisation, health and climate adaptation will be in sharp focus at the meeting, the Abu Dhabi Media Office said.

The summit will be the key focus during ADSW, which will run from January 14 to 19. It will see heads of state, policymakers and industry leaders gather for a series of discussions on the road to net zero.

Cop28 is scheduled to be held in the UAE from November 30 to December 12.

Updated: January 11, 2023, 4:37 AM