Middle East and North Africa Regional Climate Week: Accelerating Climate Action

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By Chekwube Ukoh

The United Arab Emirate, (UAE) is fast-tracking low-carbon economic growth to deliver new jobs, new industries, and new revenue streams.

That’s according to the UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Special Envoy for Climate Change, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber.

He was speaking at the first-ever Middle East and North Africa Regional Climate Week which is taking place in Dubai, UAE.

From March 28th to March 31st, 2022, the Middle East and North Africa Regional Climate Week, (MENACW 2022) will provide a platform for governments, private sector leaders, financial institutions, and civil society organizations to explore climate challenges and opportunities and discuss regional solutions to strengthen the global response to climate change.

There are three key areas in focus at MENACW 2022:

  • Integrating ambitious action across key economic sectors in national planning
  • Adapting to climate risks and building resilience into development strategies
  • Seizing transformational opportunities through technology innovation and breakthrough solutions

Speaking of the key areas in focus, Dr. Al Jaber explained that the UAE is adopting a comprehensive, balanced and proactive approach to climate action and the energy transition that delivers sustainable economic growth.

“As a young country, and a responsible energy leader, the UAE has always faced the future with a positive mindset, and addressed challenges head-on. This is why we stopped flaring 30 years before the World Bank asked the industry to do so. It’s why we achieved 0.01 percent methane intensity 20 years before the global pledge asking for a gradual reduction. It’s why we began to capture C02 on an industrial scale before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change called it an essential tool for de-carbonization. And it’s why we became the first hydrocarbon producer to power our operations with zero-carbon energy.”

In addition to hosting MENACW 2022, the UAE is the first MENA-region country to launch a plan for net-zero emissions by 2050. The plan includes a 163 billion dollars investment in renewable energy. The UAE already boasts the largest single-site solar park in the world, which is projected to save over 6.5 million tons of carbon emissions each year.

While the world mobilizes investments for a new energy economy and addresses the climate challenge, Dr. Al Jaber emphasized that recent events have “reminded us that we cannot simply switch off the current energy system.”

On her part, the UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Ms. Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri said “This inaugural MENA Climate Week underscores commitment to drive collective action to combat climate change regionally and globally. The event will explore key issues that shape climate response in this region, such as resilience against climate risks, transition to a low-emission economy, and collaboration to solve pressing challenges.”

Applauding the host country for its ongoing climate leadership, the United Nations Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa said “MENACW 2022 advances efforts to open opportunity in the transition to net-zero emissions and protect communities and economies against the worst impacts from climate change.”

MENACW 2022 aims to accelerate collaboration and integrate climate action into global pandemic recovery. It is also one of the first opportunities to carry regional momentum forward to COP27 in Egypt. The event encourages engagement with the UN’s Race to Zero and Race to Resilience campaigns and ensures that regional voices are part of the multilateral climate process.

MENACW 2022 is part of the Regional Climate Weeks 2022 series, with meetings scheduled in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, and Africa.

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