The UAE is tackling climate challenges and charting a sustainable future

The 'National Dialogue on Climate Ambition' (NDCA) initiated by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has provided a platform to manage constructive discussions and exchange ideas and perspectives among stakeholders and stakeholders from the public and private sectors on ways to improve environmental sustainability. and reduce the impacts of climate change.

In the recent period, the Ministry organized the NDCA and the National Dialogue on Food Security, resulting in a set of initiatives, solutions and commitments that support the country's goals for comprehensive and sustainable economic growth. In addition, the Ministry announced the launch of the first National Dialogue on Veterinary Medicine under the theme „Empowerment of Veterinary Services in the Country”.

Climate ambitions

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment launched the NDCA initiative with the aim of raising ambitions in all sectors and enhancing their contribution towards achieving the goals of the UAE's Strategic Initiative to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

The meetings in dialogue aim to identify sustainability expectations and climate actions at the sectoral level, focusing on innovative technologies and solutions that contribute to accelerating the pace of work and identifying key stakeholders in each sector, especially from private companies.

The dialogue identified 4 proposed initiatives to reduce carbon in the cement industry in the country, including reducing reliance on limestone in cement production and relying on environmentally friendly alternatives such as calcite. An initiative to use renewable energy in industries, an effort to use the alternative fuel RDF and energy recovery systems, in addition to an effort to promote the use and employment of carbon capture, storage and recycling technologies.

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The conversation discussed global energy opportunities and the local sector landscape, highlighting emerging solutions to help build a climate-neutral energy system such as clean hydrogen.

The dialogue explored global sustainable finance trends, reviewed its local implementation to identify tools and mechanisms needed to support the UAE's journey towards climate neutrality.

In its fourth session, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment's „Climate-Responsible Companies Pledge” was launched, which aims to promote the participation of private sector companies in the country's emission reduction targets, in line with the goals of the UAE's strategic initiative. Achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

The dialogue devoted a session to exploring the role of the insurance industry in developing climate change adaptation capacities. Another session discussed leveraging green finance to advance national climate action ambitions. The conversation focused on accelerating carbon sequestration through nature-based solutions, discussing the UAE's efforts to shift from blue carbon ecosystems such as mangroves, wetlands and coastal areas to address the challenge of climate change.

Five opportunities have been identified for the construction and building industry to reduce its impact on climate change. These include ensuring the adoption of green procurement practices by implementing standards that encourage partnerships with low-carbon product suppliers, upgrading building systems for new constructions, renovating existing buildings to improve energy efficiency, emphasizing solar thermal energy and energy-efficient use. Cooling systems in residential areas ultimately reduce waste generation while encouraging the recycling of construction and demolition waste.

In its tenth session, it targeted industry to increase its contribution to reducing carbon emissions in the UAE. The eleventh session aimed to discuss ways to improve the sustainability of the transport sector and its contribution to reducing emissions by partnering with central and various government agencies and the private sector in the country.

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In the twelfth session, discussions focused on the National Carbon Registry, which aims to act as a platform for recording, transferring and monitoring carbon balances resulting from projects and institutions in the country. The thirteenth session, “Transition to Responsible Consumer Behavior in the Retail Sector”, promotes sustainability in the retail sector, integrating it into all activities, pushing it towards climate neutrality and empowering consumers to play a positive role in this process.

Food security

In March 2023, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment launched the first cycle of the “National Dialogue on Food Security”. The initiative aims to discuss various challenges and issues that contribute to improving food security in the UAE. It involves facilitating constructive dialogue between various stakeholders and partners from the public and private sectors.

The first cycle discussed the importance of sustainable agriculture, the role of food distribution companies in sustaining national farms, promoting food sustainability, innovation in the agricultural sector, and marketing local agricultural products.

The Ministry highlighted the details of the „National Farms Sustainability” initiative during the event. It aims to make citizens' farms the primary source of various agricultural crops and food products for major food distribution companies operating in the UAE.

The initiative involves creating a sustainable market for national farms across the country, contracting with government and semi-government agencies to supply them with their annual food and agricultural production requirements in three phases. These levels include raising the percentage of procurement by contracted government agencies to 50 percent of local production by 2023, increasing that percentage to 70 percent by 2025, and reaching 100 percent by 2030.

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The second cycle of the National Dialogue on Food Security, themed “Poultry Industry in the United Arab Emirates: Challenges and Promising Opportunities”, addressed the challenges facing the poultry industry in the country. It revealed various data and analysis on the state of the industry in the Emirates, including key laws governing poultry and animal import and export, animal and bird health regulations, animal welfare laws, wildlife regulatory laws and food safety regulations.

The third cycle of the „National Dialogue on Food Security” was held in June 2023, focusing on the theme of „Transition to Sustainable Diets”. Discussions focused on the need to transition to healthy and sustainable diets and food innovation.

The fourth cycle of the National Dialogue on Food Security, held in November 2023, unveiled the blueprint for Ne'ma, a national food loss and waste initiative. Ne'ma is a comprehensive action plan to reduce food loss and waste in the country by 50 percent by 2030.

Discussions focused on identifying challenges and solutions, mapping hotspots for food loss and waste, addressing comprehensive gaps and promoting best practices. Emphasis is placed on mobilizing efforts from both the public and private sectors and society as a whole to change current consumption habits.

The event featured a presentation on the „Zero Food to Landfill” initiative, highlighting the process of separating and reusing or recycling all food products and ultimately returning them to nature.

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