UAE Highlights Importance of Sustainability, Green Recovery in Post-COVID-19 World
The UAE participated in the joint Ninth Session of the Assembly and Thirteenth Session of the Council of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). Eng Aisha Al Abdooli, Director of Green Development at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), represented the country at the meeting.
Presided over by His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, President and Chair of GGGI’s Assembly and Council, the hybrid session drew the participation of representatives of governments, international organizations, and private sector businesses from 30 countries. Following two weeks of e-consultations on key agenda items between the delegates, the event provided a platform to facilitate knowledge sharing and capacity building among GGGI member states in various areas related to green growth and climate change. The participants discussed key initiatives and projects aimed at sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his opening remarks, His Excellency Ban Ki-moon said: “This year, the one development that has affected us all is the COVID-19 pandemic. I don’t need to remind you that challenges come with opportunities, and leaders and heroes rise during difficult times. Almost as soon as governments began to shut borders, and organizations started to institute work-from-home policies, GGGI was thinking about the long-term effects of the pandemic on green growth and sustainable development. As a result, it is already incorporating ideas to help members build back better by greening their economic recovery packages. Therefore, I’m very proud of GGGI for the foresight, hard work, and innovative thinking to try to work around the curveball that 2020 has thrown at us.”
He added: “Today, I’d like to impart some optimism and solidarity to all of you. The pandemic has underscored the linkages between climate change and public health, and more and more decision makers around the world who have been holding out finally came around and are seeing the critical importance of green growth – a socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable model of growth – as the only path forward.”
Highlighting the progress the world has achieved in green growth over the past year, he said: “I believe optimism leads to innovative solutions. I hope I can count on continued strong support of all GGGI members, and I hope those members who have been hit the hardest by COVID-19 and its fallout know that their difficulties will not be forgotten by GGGI. GGGI will continue to focus on green recovery activities, green job creation, climate-smart agriculture, and more for its members.”
Delivering the UAE’s country statement, Eng Al Abdooli said: “The need for green recovery and sustainability has become even more pronounced during the coronavirus pandemic, which has triggered a global economic downturn. The UAE’s COVID-19 recovery plan aims to drive sustainable development by encouraging investment in three main sectors: digital economy, food security, and green economy.”
She added: “Despite the current situation, we launched the first phase of the 5.6 GW Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant. In addition, a bid for a new 2 GW solar photovoltaic project achieved a record-low price of 1.35 US cents/kWh. Another example is the construction of the world’s tallest solar power tower as part of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.”
Eng Al Abdooli noted that with invaluable support from the GGGI Regional Office in Abu Dhabi, the UAE has made significant progress in implementing its Green Agenda during 2019-2020.
She said: “As part of the National Climate Change Adaptation Program, we undertook a climate risk assessment for four key sectors – energy, infrastructure, health, and environment – and the formulation of adaptation measures is ongoing. We also highlighted the role of the UAE’s insurance sector in minimizing the financial and economic impacts of climate change, and we seek to develop an adaptation action plan for the sector by 2021. Moreover, we are working on the nationwide Sustainable Finance Framework that intends to scale up the mobilization of private capital towards climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable investments.”