UAE reiterates call for concerted international action to boost sustainable development

NAIROBI, 15th March, 2019 (WAM) -- The UAE reiterated its call for collective international action to boost and fast-track sustainable development outcomes at the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4), that took place under the theme ‘Innovative Solutions for Environmental Challenges and Sustainable Consumption and Production’.

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) led the UAE delegation to the global summit in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

Delivering the UAE National Statement, Eng Aisha Al Abdooli, Director of Green Development and Environmental Affairs at MOCCAE, said: "Given the surging environmental pressure and challenges and the continued reliance on a conventional approach in addressing them, international environmental conservation efforts remain limited in their scope and ability to achieve sustainable impact. To keep pace with the increasingly fast-paced and ever-changing international environmental landscape, it is critical that we leverage revolutionary approaches and solutions to ensure a decisive and high impact."

Reflecting on the UAE’s experience in adopting state-of-the-art environmental solutions early on, she said: "Owing to the steadfast commitment of the UAE’s wise leadership to establishing innovation as a fundamental corporate value and a key pillar of the country’s national development plans, our environmental efforts have followed a circular economy approach from the start across a host of green enterprises and initiatives. Prime examples are the municipal solid waste-to-energy treatment facilities - three such plants are currently under development in the country with the capacity to convert 2.4 million tons of waste into electricity and alternative fuel every year, once completed."

Eng Al Abdooli pointed out that the UAE is gearing up to launch into space the first nanosatellite in the region by end-2019. The nanosatellite will collect and analyze environmental data to inform sustainable solutions to climate and environmental challenges. Furthermore, she highlighted the MOCCAE-led research project to map agricultural areas across the UAE using drones that seeks to closely examine the correlation between agriculture and climate change. The UAE is the first country in the world to deploy this technology to map as many as 22 categories of statistical data.

On the theme of UNEA-4, Eng Al Abdooli said: "The issue of sustainable production and consumption aligns strongly with the UAE’s own sustainable development goals. For three consecutive years, the UAE has celebrated the National Environment Day under the theme ‘Sustainable Production and Consumption’ to promote sustainable production and consumption patterns in the country. Our efforts in this area led to the development of the Framework for the UAE National Sustainable Production and Consumption Plan (2019-2030), the National Strategy for the Integrated Management of Chemicals, and the federal law on integrated waste management."

In closing, she said: "Our success in overcoming environmental challenges largely hinges on the world’s ability to invest in and deploy innovative science-based, technological solutions. However, there is a considerable gap among nations in terms of finance, technology transfer, and capacity building. The UAE reiterates its call for action under the umbrella of UNEA to boost international cooperation and synergies in closing this gap and ensuring parity in achieving sustainable development across the board."

On the sidelines of UNEA-4, Eng Al Abdooli participated in a plenary session organized by the governments of the US, Italy, and the UK, titled ‘Innovative approaches from governments, the private sector, and civil society to measure and reduce food loss and waste’. She highlighted the UAE’s experience in cutting down food loss and waste in partnership with the country’s hospitality sector.

Furthermore, Eng Al Abdooli also joined a side event titled ‘Improving Financial Readiness and Bankability’ at the Cities Summit, held under the theme ‘Innovation for Livable and Sustainable Cities’. As part of the discussion, she emphasized the importance of mobilizing sustainable finance to support the UAE Green Agenda 2030, which promotes the development of value added industries such as clean energy, as well as the green buildings and sustainable cities concepts.

Concluding today, the five-day UNEA-4 addressed environmental challenges related to poverty and natural resources management, life-cycle approaches to resource efficiency, energy, chemicals and waste management, and innovative sustainable business development at a time of rapid technological change.

WAM/Hatem Mohamed