UAE and Denmark are greening the future together, says envoy

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UAE Ambassador to Denmark Fatma Al Mazrouei. — Supplied photo
UAE Ambassador to Denmark Fatma Al Mazrouei. — Supplied photo

Dubai - UAE Ambassador to Denmark Fatma Al Mazrouei says bilateral trade can grow in clean energy, green development and eco-friendly solutions

By Joydeep Sen Gupta

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Published: Fri 21 May 2021, 8:44 PM

Fatma Al Mazrouei, the UAE’s Ambassador to Denmark, is one of the female diplomats in a young Arab nation that is taking ambitious strides in women empowerment and tolerance.

For Al Mazrouei, diplomacy is “a soft power mechanism through which parties can reach solutions to shared challenges through peaceful negotiation, dialogue, and the exchange of experiences”.

Challenges, she said, are the foundation of diplomatic work. While the pandemic has recently thrown some of the biggest dilemmas to countries around the world, the UAE and Denmark have turned the challenge into an opportunity to engage in intensive bilateral talks, the envoy said.

Greening the future, she added, is an ambition the two countries share — and it is one of the key areas the UAE Embassy in Copenhagen is focusing on.

In an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times, Al Mazrouei shares how the bilateral ties between the UAE and Denmark are reaching new heights. Here are some excerpts.

What are your priorities in bilateral ties? Which areas would you like to tackle first and why?

The UAE Embassy had two priorities: First, earning Denmark’s support for the UAE’s nomination for non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council (UNSC) for the 2022-2023 term, and secondly, receiving Denmark’s official announcement on its participation in Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Government of Denmark has declared its support for the UAE’s nomination to the UNSC based on the agreement of reciprocal support, which means that our country will lend its support to Denmark’s candidature for the UNSC for the 2025-2026 term.

The Danish Business Pavilion will be representing Danish companies at Expo 2020 Dubai, and we, as an embassy, will continue our efforts to encourage the official announcement of Denmark’s participation in the Expo, a marquee event for the world to sit and take note of our young nation’s ambitious goals.

Denmark is the UAE’s only partner in carbon diplomacy. How do you plan to take the engagement forward amid the UAE playing a leading role in global climate change and sustainability initiatives? How can the UAE benefit from Denmark’s renewable energy expertise?

Denmark is a small country in size, yet considered by many a global frontrunner in the green transition. Today, more than 30 per cent of Denmark’s energy needs come from renewables. Experts expect to reach 50 per cent by 2030, and by 2050, Denmark aims to be 100 per cent independent of fossil fuels.

The UAE is Denmark’s partner in carbon diplomacy. There are many possibilities worth exploring to strengthen this partnership. For example, Denmark is working towards the transition to a more sustainable, low-carbon, and resource-efficient world.

How can Denmark help the UAE to a greener future?

An important partner would be the State of Green due to its wide network. The State of Green is a non-profit, public-private partnership that makes Denmark’s knowledge, experience, and solutions available to the rest of the world, particularly within the energy, water, cities, and circular economy sectors. The State of Green has a partnership agreement with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), and I highly recommend that other emirates explore opportunities for similar partnerships.

I also recommend an energy partnership between the Danish Energy Agency and its Emirati counterpart. Since 2012, the Danish Energy Agency (DEA) has entered into partnerships with 16 countries, including China, India, the United States, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Turkey. The UAE Embassy is currently engaged in dialogue with the DEA to explore possibilities for similar partnerships.

What is the current figure of bilateral trade between the UAE and Denmark? What are the sectors where the trade can see a significant uptick?

Total imports into Denmark from the UAE in 2018 and 2019 increased from $114 million to nearly $399 million. Total exports from Denmark to the UAE also increased from $396 million in 2018 to $446 million in 2019. Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, our two countries are committed to working together to strengthen economic and trade cooperation in key sectors.

Denmark’s competitive advantage lies in its development and use of green energy. Public and private sector cooperation in developing technologies, know-how, and policies within the energy efficiency sectors has enabled Denmark to excel in its green transition, specifically within the areas of wind energy, district heating, bioenergy, and biofuels, as well as water and energy efficiency.

The UAE has also initiated sustainable development in the country and focused on environmental conservation through clean energy, green development, and alternative eco-friendly solutions to address water and electricity needs. It is in these sectors that the trade between our two countries can experience continued growth.

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