UAE: Ministry leads national efforts with Green Retreat ahead of COP28

The event brings together national experts and strategic partners from various sectors to advance climate action in the UAE

By Wam

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UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment officials at the Green Retreat. — Wam
UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment officials at the Green Retreat. — Wam

Published: Sun 9 Apr 2023, 9:26 PM

Last updated: Tue 20 Jun 2023, 11:05 AM

The UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment recently hosted ministers and over 150 high-ranking officials from 50 government and private entities at the 'Green Retreat'. This collaborative event showcased the UAE's dedication to addressing climate change and served as a strategic precursor to the nation's much-anticipated hosting of the Conference of Parties (COP28) later this year.

Held in Expo City Dubai, the Green Retreat unfolded under the inspiring theme 'United for Climate'. The event harnessed the collective power of various stakeholders, building on their accomplishments in climate change action, environmental preservation, and sustainability promotion across the nation. By fostering innovative ideas and projects, the retreat facilitated a collaborative approach to showcase the UAE's most impactful initiatives in the lead-up to hosting COP28 in Dubai, set to take place from November 30 to December 12.

The Green Retreat was attended by Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, President and Chief Executive Officer of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators (UICCA); Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment; Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy; Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure; Dr. Ahmad Abdulla Humaid Abdulla Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of Education; and Salem bin Khalid Al Qassimi, Minister of Culture and Youth.

The Green Retreat attracted a diverse and influential group of attendees, including senior officials from relevant federal and local government ministries and agencies, accelerator representatives, government media offices of the seven emirates, major private sector companies, and numerous prominent business leaders.

In line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment will take the lead in coordinating the collaborative efforts of all government and private institutions in preparation for the highly anticipated COP28 summit.

Mariam Almheiri underscored the ambitious mission of the Green Retreat, which brought together national experts and strategic partners from various sectors to advance climate action in the UAE. The goal is to present a model that reflects the country's status and climate efforts during COP28 UAE and to enhance the nation's role in offering innovative and inspiring solutions to global climate challenges while fostering a climate-resilient world.


She said: "The UAE's hosting of COP28 this year, along with naming 2023 as the Year of Sustainability, is tangible evidence of our wise leadership's vision and commitment to playing a leading role in the fight against climate change, which impacts humanity as a whole. The President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has demonstrated the UAE's commitment to uniting global efforts in line with the approach of our late founding leader, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan."

Almheiri added: "The Green Retreat serves as an invaluable opportunity for participants to learn about the UAE's outstanding climate action record and contribute their ambitious ideas to drive tangible progress in national efforts towards sustainable economic growth. We aim to develop a comprehensive climate action plan through the participation of all government and private institutions, which will create significant opportunities for economic growth and diversification, generate employment for youth, foster inclusive and cohesive communities, harness the potential of clean energy, and safeguard natural habitats and preserve the environment."

Almheiri highlighted the severe climate challenges the world is facing, such as escalating food waste, carbon emissions, waste management issues, biodiversity loss, and the imminent threat to living organisms. She emphasized the urgent need for the world to take swift action, and promoting sustainability across various sectors to secure a better future for upcoming generations.

Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri said: "Coordinating all government efforts in the country in preparation for hosting COP28 is a national priority, given the importance of this vital issue and its direct impact on the comprehensive development process at both state and global levels. This is especially true in light of the unprecedented challenges facing the world today due to climate change, which will continue to make this issue a top priority on the global dialogue agenda in the coming years."

He added, "As the world needs collective and rapid action to combat climate change, developing a new economic model that can respond to its challenges is an integral part of those efforts. Under the guidance of its wise leadership, the UAE has both the political will and the resources to invest in green transformation and sustainable development. The country has adopted this approach early on, as reflected in its strategic initiative to achieve climate neutrality by 2050."

Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi said: "The Green Retreat provides an ideal platform to coordinate the climate efforts made by the public and private sector as the UAE is preparing to host COP28 this year. Entities gathered to preview their numerous cutting-edge initiatives and solutions to climate change and learn about the country's achievements in this field. The retreat inspired them to propose further ideas that help in further cementing the UAE's position as a global hub for confronting climate change, today and in the future."

A plan for government collaboration

The Green Retreat featured seven Thematic Councils addressing critical topics in the sustainability value chain. These included Water Resource Management and Conservation; Biodiversity and Blue Carbon Ecosystem Protection; Private Sector Engagement and Industry Transformation; Waste Management and Circular Economy; Sustainable Transportation; Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency; and Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security.

The Councils consisted of experts from federal and local government entities as well as the private sector, who discussed various ideas and challenges related to each topic. They proposed solutions in the form of initiatives and projects to be implemented by individual entities or through coordinated efforts.

Each Council presented 8 to 10 projects and initiative ideas supporting the respective topics. The most feasible and impactful ideas were chosen as part of the preliminary plan for national climate activities through January 2024. Representatives from the government media office also discussed ideas that could be added to the national climate action agenda.

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