(second from left) Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda; actor Robert De Niro and Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, UAE, during the climate change discussion. - KT photo by Dhes Handumon
Dubai - The project will focus on 3 areas including gender and youth; extreme weather events; and sustainable solutions
The UAE has launched a climate project to aid people displaced by natural disasters and reduce climate change risks around the world.
The two-year initiative will deliver climate initiatives and products that will serve 10 million people worldwide by 2020.
The joint initiative between the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) was launched on Sunday to share knowledge on coping with climate change phenomena and promote finance-able climate resilience projects in developing countries.
During the launch press conference on the first day of the World Government Summit (WGS), Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said that through an innovative bringing together communications and media experts with scientists, thought leaders and government representatives, the project will create products aimed at both the general public and decision makers.
Al Thani said the project will focus on three areas including gender and youth; extreme weather events; and sustainable solutions. "Natural disasters mostly impact women and youth who are the most vulnerable categories when it comes to climate change. The project will improve engagement and decision making when it comes to this segment," said Al Thani.
The number of displaced people reached 23.5 million in 2016, he added. "Through these projects, we are aiming to close the gap between international organisations, to help send finances in real time," said Al Thani.
The minister also launched the UAE Climate Resilience Aid Standard that will mark a first for UAE foreign aid.
It will engage donors to ensure that all projects and programs actively evaluate how they can prevent humanitarian need for disaster risk. Al Thani noted: "Today's climate circumstances demand that we plan for the worst and work towards the best."
Over the past few years, the UAE has made significant climate investments in 11 Pacific countries, three Indian Ocean countries and 16 in the Caribbean region.
Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, which suffered 95 per cent damages to its infrastructure after Hurricane Irma, commended the UAE for its $10 million contribution to the Caribbean region.
Of the $10 million, the small Caribbean nation of Barbuda will get a share of $1 million to be used in strengthening the physical infrastructure and providing utilities among vulnerable groups, especially women.
Through the UAE's $15 million concession loan, Browne said Barbuda Island will install 10 MegaWatt of solar energy to help build a climate resilient country. "There's a facility from the UAE worth $3.1 million, that will also be utilised to install around 1 Megawatt of solar energy to help us transition Barbuda into green island," said Browne.
He said authorities expect Barbuda to be a full green island powered by clean energy over the next 2-3 years and the $3.1 million is a good start.
Academy Award-winning actor, producer and director Robert De Niro has been the key to post-hurricane construction in Barbuda. Also a private investor, he said it is only through international cooperation that "we can reverse devastating effects of climate change."
"This change starts with you as an individual - everyone can make a difference," said De Niro.
Meanwhile, Browne urged societies to reduce carbon emissions to strengthen the stand of islands that are most vulnerable to climate change. "Reduce emissions so vulnerability due to climate change will be reduced, and help us face the existential crisis looming on the planet," said Browne.
He added that public education is "very important" to advocate this message globally, so countries will understand the importance of fighting climate change responsibility.
KT NANO EDIT - Lending a helping hand
Help is at hand for millions who have been rendered homeless by natural disasters. The UAE's plan to reach out to people in need will help nations struggling with the scope of disaster. Climate change is real, and the UAE is rightly doing its bit to alleviate pain and suffering of people and collectively help nations combat this growing threat.