UAE endorses Leaders’ Pledge for Nature at COP26

UAE endorses Leaders’ Pledge for Nature at COP26

GLASGOW, 7th November, 2021 (WAM) -- The UAE has endorsed the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature that commits countries to taking the necessary steps to achieve sustainable development, and put nature and biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030 as part of the UN’s Decade of Action.

Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, announced the endorsement of the pledge at a high-level event titled ‘The Way Forward: Bridging the gap on nature from COP26 to COP15’ – a joint event of the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People, and the Global Ocean Alliance.

The gathering was hosted by the governments of Costa Rica, France, and the UK in the presence of President Carlos Alvarado Quesada of Costa Rica.

Endorsed by the European Commission and 92 countries from all regions, the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature is a commitment to urgent and transformational actions aimed at addressing biodiversity loss, safeguarding the planet, and working collaboratively to achieve positive outcomes for nature, climate, and sustainable development. It highlights increasing the protection of the planet’s land and oceans through effectively managed protected areas as one of the actions to achieve these goals.

Almheiri said, "The UAE is proud to endorse the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, committing to working with other nations to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, and sending a powerful message that there is no conflict between nature conservation and the economy. The move aligns with our unwavering dedication to protecting our environment and preserving it for future generations, instilled in our nation by the founding father of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan."

Emphasising the importance of addressing the dual challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change, she added, "The alarming magnitude of biodiversity loss can sometimes come across as an afterthought in the climate process, and it is critical that we as governments and stakeholders rally around dual-purpose deliverables. Aligning our agendas for tackling biodiversity loss and climate change is the only way we can resolve them, and take decisive collective action to preserve our planet and the life on it for future generations."

The Minister noted that protected areas play a key role in safeguarding ecosystems that provide habitats for biodiversity, and contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The UAE has 49 protected areas that account for 15.5 percent of its territory. The country has achieved Aichi Target 11 for terrestrial protected areas that span 18.4 percent of its land territory, and marine protected areas that account for 12 percent of its marine and coastal territory.

The Leaders’ Pledge for Nature entails shifting land use and agricultural policies away from environmentally harmful practices for land and marine ecosystems, and significantly reducing air, land, and marine pollution, particularly by eliminating plastic leakage into the ocean by 2050. It calls for a transition to sustainable production, consumption, and food systems that meet people’s needs while remaining within planetary boundaries, and ensuring that future government policies and decisions factor in nature and environmental protection in a way that promotes biodiversity conservation, restoration, and sustainable use.

By joining the Pledge, countries recognise the crucial role of science and research in the fight against ecosystem degradation, biodiversity loss, and climate change, and commit to engaging the whole of society, including governments, academia, business, finance, and local communities with a focus on women and youth.