UAE to pass law on climate risks assessments

By Divi Shirine

DUBAI 26 September 2019: On the sidelines of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, announced that the UAE will pass a Federal Law on climate that sets out an inclusive framework for climate action. The law will require authorities to assess and mitigate climate risks prior to proceeding with projects, thus effectively mainstreaming climate adaptation and resilience across sectors.

The minister made the announcement at a session of the Global Commission on Adaptation, GCA, hosted by Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, together with the Commission’s co-chairs, Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General, Kristalina Georgieva, and Bill Gates.

In his speech, Dr. Al Zeyoudi announced the UAE’s decision to join GCA that aspires to advance climate adaptation solutions.

He said, “We are delighted to join GCA and bring our perspective as a climate-vulnerable Middle Eastern country and a global donor. In this context, we have begun to mainstream resilience into UAE foreign aid. Our US$50 million UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund has seen power plants built to Category 5 hurricane standards and relocated out of vulnerable zones. The Fund also ‘builds back better’. A prime example is the newly announced green, resilient power system for Barbuda in the wake of Hurricane Irma that is planned under an innovative partnership between Antigua and Barbuda, the UAE, New Zealand, and the CARICOM Development Fund.”

“We propose to partner with GCA during the world’s largest event championing sustainable development, Expo 2020 in Dubai. With 25 million expected visitors and the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, at its heart, Expo 2020 will provide a powerful platform to promote GCA and its recommendations,” Dr. Al Zeyoudi continued.

Moreover, the UAE minister participated in a World Economic Forum-led session on ‘Scaling Solutions for Circular Plastics’ that brought together key players across value chains to identify practical solutions to global plastic pollution as part of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, UNGA 74.

Dr. Al Zeyoudi noted that the UAE government is implementing integrated waste management projects and initiatives across the country. A prime example is the refuse-derived fuel, RDF, facility that is currently in the works and is projected to treat an average of 1,200 tonnes of municipal solid waste daily.

The UAE government was also the first signatory to the World Economic Forum’s SCALE 360 initiative that aims to drive the transition towards a more circular economy while using less natural resources and reducing pollution to tackle climate change. The initiative advocates the adoption of a circular economy model that leverages Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to keep resources in use for as long as possible.

Dr. Al Zeyoudi highlighted some of the most prominent plastic recyclers in the UAE. These included Industrium Group, Tadweer Waste Treatment, CONSENT Plastic, and Emirates Environmental Technology.

He also shared plans for the first high-impact post-consumer recycling facility for PET plastics in the country, to be established by Alliances for Global Sustainability, AGS, in Abu Dhabi and set to become fully operational by 2021. In its first phase, the facility will have the capacity to recycle approximately 19,000 metric tonnes of post-consumer PET bottles and food containers into food-grade PET pellets.

Dubai Gazette