Middle East & North Africa

UAE committed to a sustainable future, says Al-Zeyoudi

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UAE committed to a sustainable future, says Al-Zeyoudi

ABU DHABI, Apr 17 2018 (WAM) - Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, delivered a ministerial address at the Green Business Summit 2018, underlining the numerous sustainability initiatives and environmental programmes being developed and implemented in the UAE. He emphasised that the UAE is well aware of the future impact of climate change and is firmly committed to the Paris Agreement. He said that last year the UAE launched its National Climate Change Plan, at the heart of which is the target of generating 27 percent of the country’s energy from clean sources by 2021, and 50 percent by 2050.

The minister also stressed the pivotal role played by the private sector in this transition and how the UAE government is advancing public-private partnerships across numerous sectors to incentivise sustainable practices and support green innovation. He went on to offer a few examples of sustainable initiatives taking place in the UAE, such as DP World’s launch of the Middle East’s largest solar rooftop project.

"Sustainability and green business are the defining issues, the defining themes of our time. It has been roughly two years since the Paris Agreement when the world agreed to cap global emissions to limit climate change and global warming, and it has been two and a half years since the Sustainable Development Goals were ratified by the United Nations. These are rightly seen as seminal moments, a sea-change in our thinking on societies and development. Today we will be asking, how much progress has been made?"
The Green Business Summit 2018 opened in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday with a keynote address by Charles Goddard, The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Asia-Pacific Editorial Director, who welcomed attendees and highlighted the significant opportunities and challenges faced by business leaders, policymakers, and investors as nations around the world strive to adopt sustainable development practices.

Organised by The Economist Events, part of the global English-language weekly newspaper, the first-of-its-kind summit took place at the Rosewood Hotel, Abu Dhabi.

Speaking at the conference, Goddard said, “Sustainability and green business are the defining issues, the defining themes of our time. It has been roughly two years since the Paris Agreement when the world agreed to cap global emissions to limit climate change and global warming, and it has been two and a half years since the Sustainable Development Goals were ratified by the United Nations. These are rightly seen as seminal moments, a sea-change in our thinking on societies and development. Today we will be asking, how much progress has been made?”

Speaking on the subject of green business, he added, “On the important transition of business, there has been some gathering progress in terms of sustainability. Corporate commitments have been made and are beginning to be met. However, despite these positive developments, progress remains fragmented and quite piece-meal. The task ahead is quite daunting.”

Speaking during the first business panel of the day, titled “From responsibility to leadership,” Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary-General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, said, “I think we can do more with the private sector, which is why I am here today; it gives us at the Environment Agency a chance to better understand the needs and challenges faced by businesses.”

Commenting on the evolving role of EAD, she added, “It is one thing when government agencies are the only ones responsible for safeguarding the environment, and it is another thing when the private sector shares responsibility for monitoring its impact. Sharing the task of protecting the environment with the private sector increases awareness and understanding of environmental regulation and leads to better outcomes and a cleaner, safer environment for us all this is one of the many ways we can move the needle from compliance to beyond compliance and towards innovation. At the heart of this transition are public-private partnerships, which enable continuous improvement and kick-start innovation.”

Discussing the occasional tension between businesses and environmental protection, Khaleefa Salem Al Mansouri, Under-Secretary of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economic Development, DED, said, “Sometimes there is a clash between business objectives and maintaining and respecting the environment. However, over the past ten years, we have focused on achieving our economic objectives while at the same time protecting the environment. It is always a challenge, but we are working to find the right formula for businesses and industries to grow while mitigating their impact on the environment.”

Siim Kiisler, Estonia’s Minister of Environment, and Khaled Mohamed Fahmy Abdel Aal, Egypt’s Minister of Environment, hosted a panel discussion on the politics of change. They discussed how policymakers can cultivate sustainable practices through regulatory frameworks and partnerships with the private sector that encourage environmental innovation.

 

WAM/Rola Alghoul/Nour Salman/Tariq alfaham

 
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