UAE launches region’s first climate action alliance in the lead up to COP28

    29 Nov 2022

    Abu Dhabi: Emirates Nature-WWF officially launched the UAE Alliance for Climate Action (UACA) at COP27 in Egypt during the recent climate negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

    The alliance has been created for non-state actors to increase the momentum of net-zero targets in line with science and the Paris Agreement, a worldwide treaty that calls for countries to take concerted climate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to 1.5C.

    UACA’s objective is to ramp up net-zero targets and implementation in the lead up to COP28, but with an essential focus on post-COP28 engagement and activities to ensure momentum and implementation are met.

    Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “We are pleased to see non-governmental organisations such as Emirates Nature-WWF contributing to the advancement of the country’s net-zero ambitions. We endorse the initiation of UACA and encourage non-state actors in the UAE to join. UACA will also support the implementation of MOCCAE’s UAE Climate-Responsible Companies Pledge, signed by private sector entities, to guide them in delivering on their commitments.”

    She added: “Only through effective synergies between the triple helix – government, private sector and academia – can we mitigate and adapt to the global challenge of climate change.”

    Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director-General, Emirates Nature-WWF, said: “Our ambition is for UACA to be the leading non-state actor and flagship programme of the UAE; and to foster a more significant impact from stakeholders by supporting and implementing tangible adaptation and mitigation strategies, plans and actions that truly deliver on scaling down the impacts of climate change and contribute to global efforts of limiting warming to 1.5C”.

    Setting targets

    The desired outcome of UACA is to provide capacity-building and tools to implement and achieve transparent and credible net-zero targets; and to locally activate the Marrakesh Partnership for Global Climate Action and engage sub-national and non-state actors (SNSAs) in a collaborative, meaningful way through a bottom-up approach. UACA will gather feedback, garner insights, investigate barriers, and propose solutions from non-state actors to establish science-based targets, which will then be further integrated into policy through government and stakeholder engagement.

    Abdulfattah Sharaf, HSBC UAE CEO and Head of International at HSBC Bank Middle East, UACA’s first founding donor, said: “We are committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions in our operations and supply chain by 2030 and are working with our partners to address decarbonisation and net-zero target setting in line with science. As the first founding donor for UACA, we look forward to this project becoming the enabler of the UAE’s net-zero commitments, and we are ready to support our customers and clients on this journey, utilising our international experience.”

    UACA was launched at COP27 in collaboration with the global Alliances for Climate Action (ACAs), coordinated by WWF International, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), Climate Action Network (CAN), C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and more, whose mission is to engage sub-national and non-state actors (SNSAs) stemming from various segments such as finance, transport, real estate, food, and SMEs and create a global network of domestic multi-sector coalitions committed to supporting the delivery and enhancement of their countries’ climate goals.

    Regional first

    Manuel Pulgar Vidal, WWF International’s Climate and Energy Practice leader, said: “There are currently nine global alliances with presence in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Vietnam, and the United States. The UAE Alliance for Climate Action (UACA) will be the first in the MENA region, and we are positive it will have a promising impact on collaborative non-state and sub-national action from domestic actors to increase action and aim for an economy-wide decarbonization in line with science. The creation of UACA showed the willingness of different actors to lead the global process, with concrete actions at the national level, precisely in the country that will host the next COP28.”

    Strategic cooperation

    UACA will also cooperate with like-minded organisations to strengthen members’ technical capacity on the topic of net-zero target setting. In particular, UACA will be working with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which will engage as the strategic partner to Emirates Nature-WWF, supporting through their deep expertise and experience in driving climate action across sectors globally and within the UAE.

    Simon Birkebaek, Middle East Climate and Sustainability Topic Lead, Partner, BCG, said: “Our work on climate action globally has shown us that effective collaboration across stakeholders remains a key driver to accelerating actual movement and change in the efforts on climate action. We are thrilled to be working with Emirates Nature-WWF in accelerating and driving forward climate action in the UAE.”

    Growing network

    Furthermore, UACA will work with civil society organisations such as the Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC MENA) to promote constructive dialogue and collective action and drive further public policy towards net-zero ambition.

    During the event, UAE-based non-state actors such as Alserkal Group, Apparel Group, HSBC Bank Middle East Ltd, SirajPower, talabat and Unilever Gulf signed on to be initial signatory members of the alliance by agreeing to the UACA principles and increasing ambition. In the coming months, UACA aims to induct many more founding members and partners to strengthen its coalition and showcase these donors, members, its programme and tools.


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