The UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment or MOCCAE hosted a Special Session of the National Dialogue for Climate Ambition to accelerate the country’s journey towards net zero emissions by the year 2050. This event is part of the national efforts to intensify climate action during the Year of Sustainability when the UAE will also host COP28, the UN Climate Change Summit.
The special session focused on climate risks, reporting, and decarbonization for investments by financial institutions. It urged all parties, especially in the private sector, to accelerate green financing to support the UAE’s vision of building a sustainable economy.
UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Her Excellency Mariam bin Mohammed Almheiri was present at the event, which brought together 100 participants, including representatives from the financial, consulting, and investment sectors, as well as other ministries.
HE Mariam Almheiri stressed the importance of collaboration between all stakeholders in order to increase ambition for climate financing, a crucial pathway to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and one of COP28 UAE’s core discussion areas. She emphasized the need for innovative products and services, as well as financial instruments and tools, to help the UAE achieve its climate and environment targets.
Her Excellency Almheiri stated, “One key element of UAE’s Vision for COP28 was to raise ambition and collective actions towards mitigation, adaption, loss and damages and climate financing. The UAE believes that scaling up climate financing is essential for system-wide transformation, and can be achieved by strong partnerships which will support the nation’s journey to reach net zero by 2020.
She continued, “Participation of all sectors in tackling this challenge is essential, as perceived risks, such a long payback period in green investments are hindering green financing investments. The UAE must address these perceptions, demonstrating that investing in green projects represents an investment in the future. We must work together to create new financial services and products that support sustainability and resilience and align our strategy with all stakeholders’ interests.
Almheiri drew on the UAE’s success in clean energy projects such as Masdar City as well as Noor Abu Dhabi Solar Park to highlight the importance of green financing in driving sustainable growth. She emphasized the green financing behind Etihad Rail, which will transform UAE’s transportation industry and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 2.2 million tons per year.
She said, “Today, as Environmental, Social, and Governance are emerging as a cornerstone of responsible business, both government entities and private sectors, including the financial industry, can unite their efforts to increase ambition for climate financing. Investors and financial markets are increasingly demanding an ESG plan that includes a path towards net-zero emissions. This is part of the analysis process they use to identify risks and opportunities.
The panellists were Zoe Knight, HSBC, Shargiil Bashir from First Abu Dhabi Bank, Alexandros Severis and Girish Narula from Intercontinental Exchange, Oliver Phillips, from Standard Chartered Bank, and Faisal Al-Shimmari from Mashreq, Intercontinental Exchange.
The topics covered included: Introduction to climate risks for financial institutions, How to calculate your emission, Climate Risk Reporting – How metrics and tools can be used to report against major frameworks and Forward-looking Climate Risk – How you can explore targets to reduce your carbon footprint and meet interim targets. Financial institutions explored critical climate and sustainability issues in the short- to medium term and evaluated the implementation of net-zero targets.
The NDCA initiative by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment aims to promote and raise ambitions through stronger collaboration between all stakeholders, including the private sector. The NDCA initiative is a series of industry-specific assemblies in various sectors that aims to raise sectoral climate ambitions on the nation’s path to net zero.
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment leads the UAE national preparations for COP28, which will take place later this year. The special session was a forum for an open dialogue and knowledge-sharing to help inform the development of comprehensive climate finance strategies that align the interests of all stakeholders.