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UAE COP26 preparatory taskforce holds first meeting

Multiple sectors convene to enhance integrated climate strategy with economic development at its core, ahead of COP26

| | Feb 18, 2021 | 9:46 am
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ABU DHABI, UAE, 18 February, 2021: Following the UAE Cabinet’s appointment of the UAE Special Envoy for Climate, the COP26 Preparatory Taskforce met today for the first time to discuss the UAE’s preparations for the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), set to take place in Glasgow in November 2021, the UAE Ministry of Climate Change & Environment said through a Press release.

The taskforce will align all relevant entities to reinforce the UAE’s position as a climate leader, and contribute to mobilising and expediting collective climate action while ensuring the UAE’s strategic economic interests are not only met but also enhanced, the Ministry said. H.E. Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, and H.E. Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change, convened the gathering of representatives from a wide range of critical institutions, the Ministry said. These included the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure; Abu Dhabi Fund for Development; the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi; Dubai Electricity and Water Authority; Sharjah Electricity, Water and Gas Authority; National Center for Meteorology; Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC); Masdar; Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation; Emirates Global Aluminium and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA), the Ministry added. H.E. Mansoor Abulhoul, UAE Ambassador to the United Kingdom, also attended the meeting, the Ministry further added.

The taskforce will build on the foundational work that the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has led to increase the UAE’s contribution to global climate change mitigation and adaptation, including the second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) that has positioned the UAE as the first country in the region to commit to an economy-wide reduction in emissions, the Ministry said. Approved by the UAE Cabinet in early December 2020, the UAE’s NDC outlines the country’s enhanced climate target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 23.5%, compared to business as usual for the year 2030, the Ministry added.

H.E. Dr Al Nuaimi said: “The next stage of climate action will see a tremendous shift, propelled by the global demand for a green COVID-19 recovery and the return of the US to global climate leadership. Therefore, COP26 has gained a paramount importance as a driver of concerted action to combat the existential threat to the future of Earth and to enhance the global adaptive capacity. The shift mandates that countries expedite their climate action and raise their climate ambitions, as the UAE has done in its second NDC.”

The Minister noted that over the next few months, the taskforce will coordinate efforts between concerned stakeholders, in preparation for the UAE’s participation in COP26, reaffirming the country’s role in advancing global climate action with the aim of moving the needle on climate change.

He added: “In the past decade, the UAE presented a shining example of a proactive approach to environmental protection and climate action. It was one of the first countries in the region to sign the Paris Agreement, in 2015. It launched frameworks to guide the way, including the National Climate Change Plan of the UAE 2017-2050 and the National Climate Change Adaptation Program. In addition, we are currently finalizing a climate change law.”

H.E. Dr Al Jaber said: “By including so many key entities from vital sectors and critical industries, this taskforce sends a powerful message that the UAE truly takes a united approach to climate action. The country has always viewed climate action as an opportunity to diversify and develop its economy. The work of the taskforce will enhance that opportunity, as well as ensure that the UAE can both contribute to and benefit from what is agreed in Glasgow at COP26.

“The Office of the UAE Special Envoy for Climate was set up to help promote and advance the UAE’s position through targeted stakeholder engagement internationally, working in close coordination with all relevant ministries, agencies and entities across the UAE. Going forward, I believe we can collaborate across sectors and between industries to maximize the economic dividend from progressive climate action.”

For his part, H.E. Mansoor Abulhoul said: “It is an honor to be a part of the COP26 Preparatory Taskforce. The COP26 conference held in Glasgow this year is an opportunity for the UAE to shape and benefit from the global fight against climate change. Natural ecosystems and biodiversity have been an essential part of the country’s 50-year history. We recognize that sustainability is good for business, good for the environment, and good for our community – and a key way out of the economic insecurity caused by the coronavirus pandemic. As the UAE’s Ambassador to the UK, I look forward to showcasing our excellent leadership in this area in the year ahead.”

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