UAE, France: A new global model of low-emission economic growth

UAE, France: A new global model of low-emission economic growth

ABU DHABI, 11th May, 2023 (WAM) -- The relations between the UAE and France present an exceptional model of effective strategic partnerships between countries in various fields, especially in real progress in the energy sector, climate action, benefitting from low-carbon growth opportunities, and joint efforts to drive international action on climate change, in preparation for COP28 that the UAE will host at the end of 2023.

The following report by the Emirates News Agency (WAM) examines the cooperation between the UAE and France in many energy and sustainability projects. In February 2023, the two friendly countries launched a partnership to reduce carbon emissions from high-emission industries, which will be announced during COP28. They also signed a comprehensive strategic energy partnership in July 2022, which focusses on enhancing energy security, providing affordable energy, and reducing emissions. COP28 is vital to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement, as it will be held during a critical phase in which the international community aims to progress in implementing related commitments.

The conference is expected to witness the first global assessment of the progress made by countries in implementing their commitments to the Paris Agreement, as well as the determination of nationally determined contributions for the future. The historic Paris Agreement successfully united governments worldwide in tackling climate change, and COP28 will focus on how to achieve this goal.

The UAE is the first country in the region to sign and ratify the Paris Agreement and the first country to commit to reducing emissions across all economic sectors. It is also the first country to announce its strategic initiative to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 as a stimulus for achieving low-carbon economic growth that creates new technologies, sectors, skills and jobs.

During the summit, the UAE is keen to cooperate with France to sign a “New Global Financial Pact” aimed to reaching a new global financial agreement scheduled, which will be held in Paris in June 2023. The pact aims to attract financing from the private sector, expand concessional financing, and boost carbon markets to build momentum for achieving practical outcomes at COP28.

During a visit by President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to France last year, in response to an invitation from Emmanuel Macron, President of France, the two countries signed an agreement to enhance the economic and social benefits of climate action and encourage the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The agreement also supports COP28 hosted by the UAE at the end of 2023 in the Dubai Expo City.

As the host country of COP28, the UAE is keen to cooperate closely with France, which has extensive experience in climate action, to ensure that commitments are translated into tangible, practical results that will benefit all countries and communities. The UAE realises that effective climate action can help create a low-emission economic growth model focussed on achieving sustainability and contributing to the creation of new job opportunities, sectors and skills aligned with the future.

The two countries are collaborating to prepare for COP28, including factors such as pre-negotiation planning, regulatory and logistical factors, improving energy efficiency and accelerating the spread of renewable energy solutions, through collaborating with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which has its permanent headquarters in Masdar City in the UAE.

The UAE and France are also cooperating in sustainable agriculture, food production, and food and water security to achieve mutual benefits from solutions that mitigate environmental impacts, adapt to climate change, and preserve biodiversity. Their cooperation also aims to reduce carbon emissions in heavy industries, promote adaptation and resilience, develop nature-based solutions and green financing, and empower civil society in climate action and scientific and research collaborations.

The UAE has been a steadfast partner of French industries in achieving its goal of transforming the energy sector. The two countries will also launch a joint programme that combines their expertise to develop sustainable business opportunities for investments to accelerate clean energy solutions, especially in reducing carbon emissions from sectors where this is difficult to achieve, such as the use of clean hydrogen solutions in the transportation sector, in light of preparations for the UAE's hosting of COP28.

The partnership between the UAE and France in the clean and renewable energy sector has led to the development, financing and operation of over 6.2 gigawatts of clean and renewable energy projects around the world through leading companies in the sector from both countries. Among these projects are two of the largest solar energy projects in one place located in the UAE, in addition to investments worth US$6 billion, which helped offset carbon emissions estimated at some 10 million tonnes annually.

The official launch of the operational programme is scheduled to happen during COP28. The programme aims to embody the joint commitment of the UAE and France to quickly identify and finance projects, support companies that develop new clean energy solutions, reduce the carbon footprint of high-emitting economic sectors and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The programme aims to implement projects focussed on carbon removal from Hard-to-abate industries where reducing emissions is difficult and supporting companies that develop innovative clean energy solutions in green hydrogen and sustainable fuels. It also aims to leverage the sector's innovation, expertise and financing capabilities of both government and private institutions in both countries. The UAE and France are exploring ways to benefit from public sector financing tools to facilitate the implementation of appropriate climate-friendly projects.

These pioneering initiatives and projects launched by the two countries are based on their close and longstanding bilateral relations and partnership, enabling them to take advantage of practical and commercial opportunities to achieve low-carbon development, support a realistic, logical, gradual and fair transition in the energy sector, and promote climate action and sustainable economic development in both countries and around the world.

The UAE is leading the process and encouraging all parties to agree on a clear roadmap to accelerate related progress through achieving a realistic, practical, fair and gradual transition in the global energy sector while not leaving anyone behind to ensure the participation and inclusion of everyone in comprehensive climate action.

More than 70,000 people are expected to participate in the COP28, including heads of state, government officials, international sector leaders, private sector officials, academics, experts, the youth, and representatives of non-governmental organisations. As per the Paris Climate Agreement, the climate conference will witness the first global stocktake to assess progress in implementing the agreement's objectives.

The UAE aims to achieve progress in climate action and in the areas of mitigation, adaptation, climate financing, and dealing with losses and damage amid the need to attract climate financing and improve the performance of multi-party financial institutions to provide the necessary capital to fund clean technologies and the efforts to adapt to losses and damage.