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UAE formally joins Paris Agreement on climate change

The United Arab Emirates formally joined the Paris Agreement on climate change, after Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, submitted the UAE’s instrument of ratification at a high-level event on the agreement’s entry into force, convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the UN headquarters in New York. The UAE Cabinet had granted approval to the instrument of ratification during its meeting on 4th September, 2016.

"The Paris Agreement is the world’s first truly durable response to climate change. It allows each country to contribute climate actions in accordance with their own economic and development priorities. For the UAE, this means solutions which create new social and economic opportunities and support our ambitious agenda towards economic diversification," Dr. Al Zeyoudi said.

During his New York visit, Dr. Al Zeyoudi also held meetings with Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and Hakima Al Haite, Minister of Environment and Morocco’s high-level climate champion.

Dr. Al Zeyoudi reiterated the UAE’s support to the UNFCCC process and to ensure successful outcomes at the upcoming Marrakech Climate Change Conference, which will be held in Morocco in November 2016.

In June, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment began developing the UAE National Climate Change Plan, which was to prepare a national framework for climate action. The plan was being designed in consultation with government, business stakeholders, academia and civil society organisations, and prove that climate action can go hand in hand with increased economic growth and development.

The UAE is playing its part in tackling climate change, with effective policies and initiatives that aim to diversify the economy into new, knowledge-based industries. It has led to the region deploying clean energy, with pioneering projects and policies in renewable and nuclear energy, energy and water efficiency, and carbon sequestration. The UAE was the first country in the region to set a clean energy target, of 24 percent by 2021. It has also deployed energy-saving infrastructures, from strict green build codes to world-class light rail and metro systems.

The country has long been investing in human capital for future industries, with world-class innovation centres, such as the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. Over the next five years, it will double its investment in clean energy research and development. The UAE is also supporting international action, through renewable energy aid and investments in a number of international commercial renewable energy and is the proud host country of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

When it comes to mobilising resources to fund green projects the UAE is promoting sustainable finance and is hosting the 14th Global Roundtable of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative on 25th and 26th October, 2016, to build capacity within the country and to contribute to the global discussions. The UAE is also a member of the International Partnership for Blue Carbon, which aims to accelerate conservation and research on coastal blue carbon ecosystems, such as mangroves and sea grasses that play an important role in mitigating climate change by sequestering and storing carbon. 

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