Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 17 April 2023 — The UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) today hosted a special session of the the National Dialogue for Climate Ambition (NDCA) to accelerate the nation’s journey to net zero emissions by 2050. The event complements the nation-wide efforts to strengthen climate action in the Year of Sustainability, when the UAE also hosts COP28, the UN Climate Change Summit.
Focusing on cliamte risks, reporting and the decarbonization of investments for financial institutions, the special session highlighted the gaps in climate finance for decarbonisation, and urged all stakeholders, particularly in the private sector financial entities, to accelerate green finance to support the UAE’s vision to build a sustainable economy.
The event was attended by Her Excellency Mariam bin Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, and brought together 100 participants from the banking, insurance, investment, financial services, and consulting sectors and various ministries.
HE Mariam Almheiri emphasized the importance of collaboration among all stakeholders to raise ambition for climate finance, a critical pathway to acheiving the goals of the Paris Agreement, and one of the core areas of discussion at COP28 UAE. She highlighted the need for innovative financial instruments, products, and services to promote sustainability and resilience while enabling the nation to achieve its climate and environmental targets.
Her Excellency Almheiri said: “One of the key elements of UAE’s vision for COP28 is to raise ambition and collective action towards mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage and climate finance. The UAE believes scaling up climate finance is crucial for system-wide transformation, and this can be achieved through strong partnerships that will support the nation’s journey to net zero by 2050.”
She added: “The participation of all sectors is essential in tackling the challenge, with perceived risks in green investments, such as a relatively long payback period, hindering green finance investments. These perceptions must be addressed, with the UAE demonstrating to the world that investing in green projects is an investment in our future. Together, we must create new financial products and services that promote sustainability and resilience and work towards a strategy that aligns with the interests of all stakeholders.”
Drawing on the UAE’s successes in clean energy projects, such as Masdar City and Noor Abu Dhabi Solar Park, Almheiri underscored the value of green finance in driving sustainable growth. She noted the significant green finance behind Etihad Rail, which will transform the UAE’s transportation sector and reduce the UAE’s CO2 emissions by up to 2.2 million tons annually.
She added: “Today, with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) emerging as the cornerstone for responsible business, government entities and the private sector, including the finance industry, can rally their efforts to raise ambition for climate finance. Furthermore, investors and financial markets increasingly demand an effective ESG plan and a path to net-zero carbon emissions as part of their analysis process to identify material risks and growth opportunities.”
Panelists included Alexandros Severis and Girish Narula from Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Shargiil Bashir from First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), Zoe Knight from HSBC, Faisal Al Shimmari from Mashreq, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and Oliver Phillips from Standard Chartered Bank (SCB).
They covered topics such as an Introduction to climate risk for financial institutions – How to calculate your emissions, Climate risk reporting – How to use metrics and tools to report against major frameworks, and Forward-looking climate risk – how to explore targets to decarbonize your investments and meeting interim targets. The financial institutions also explored the critical climate and sustainability challenges 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 climate action and raising ambition through stronger collaboration with all stakeholders, including the private sector. It is a series of industry-specific assemblies in various sectors aimed at raising sectoral climate ambitions in the nation’s journey to net zero.
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is leading the UAE’s national efforts in preparing for COP28 later this year. The special session served as a platform for open dialogue and knowledge sharing to inform the development of a comprehensive climate finance strategy that aligns the interests of all stakeholders.