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Minister of Climate Change and Environment highlights UAE’s climate action, food security efforts at UNGA 77th session

September 26, 2022
finance & economy

DUBAI, 25th September, 2022 (WAM) -- Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, participated in the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York as part of the UAE delegation, led by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

During the global gathering, she highlighted the country’s efforts in sustainable development, climate action, and food security, and explored new synergies in this space with other countries in the run-up to the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) that the UAE will host in 2023.

At the event, the UAE joined the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) to End Plastic Pollution that aims to eliminate plastic pollution by 2040. Launched in August 2022, the body is working on developing an ambitious international instrument based on a comprehensive approach that ensures urgent action and effective interventions along the full lifecycle of plastics.

She said, 'The UAE is proud to be a member of the HAC to End Plastic Pollution, whose objective aligns with the nation’s commitment to combating pollution on all fronts and reducing its negative impacts on the environment. To address the root causes of plastic pollution, our government, in partnership with the private sector, is taking measures to shift towards a more circular plastics economy and adopt environment-friendly waste management solutions.'

She added, 'We are dedicated to supporting the Coalition’s efforts to build a global roadmap applying an all-inclusive, sustainable, systematic, and circular approach across the full lifecycle of plastics. This includes maximising resource efficiency in plastics production, boosting the supply of recyclable plastics, increasing recycled content, promoting responsible consumption of plastics, and implementing environmentally sound management and recycling of plastic waste.'

The minister called on all countries to work towards the prevention, reduction, and elimination of plastic pollution, and to strengthen regional and global cooperation in this regard.

She delivered the opening remarks at the first consultation on 'Food Systems and Agriculture Priorities and Potential', co-hosted by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), the Office of the UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, and the Food Action Alliance on the sidelines of the UNGA. The session brought together agriculture and food systems stakeholders from around the world to shape expectations for the role food security and climate-smart agriculture will play at COP28.

In addition, the minister shared the UAE’s experience in building resilience across all aspects at a roundtable themed 'Joining the Effort to Drive Global Resilience', organised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) Resilience Consortium as part of WEF’s Sustainable Development Impact Meetings.

During the high-level dinner on 'Tackling barriers to ambitious action on food for people, nature, and climate', organised by the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU), the UN Foundation, and the ClimateWorks Foundation, the minister stressed the significance of addressing food systems in the fight against climate change. In this context, she highlighted the work of the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate), a joint UAE-US initiative that aspires to increase and accelerate investment in climate-smart agricultural innovation and R&D worldwide and has set a target to raise US$8 billion by COP27 in November 2022.

Moreover, she emphasised the importance of innovation, knowledge-sharing, and nutrition security in building sustainable food systems in the face of climate change-related challenges at the inaugural meeting of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Lead Group.

Almheiri also attended the first in-person meeting of the HAC for Nature and People International Steering Committee, co-chaired by France, the UK, and Costa Rica, which examined the implementation of the target to designate 30 percent of Earth’s land and ocean area as protected areas by 2030. She shared the UAE’s expectations for the upcoming 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) that seeks to finalise the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

On the sidelines of the UNGA, Almheiri held several bilateral meetings with high-level officials. She started off discussing the UAE’s contribution to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2: Zero Hunger, including its work on AIM for Climate, with Dr Cary Fowler, United States (US) Special Envoy for Global Food Security.

Together with Lana Nusseibeh, UAE Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN, the minister enjoyed an insightful talk with Cindy McCain, Permanent Representative of the US to the UN Agencies in Rome, on strengthening global food security. Furthermore, she examined ways in which the UAE can support the SUN Movement in enhancing not only food security but also nutrition security for the global population with Gerda Verburg, UN Assistant Secretary-General, and SUN Movement Coordinator.

During her meeting with Dr. Gunhild Stordalen, Founder and Executive Chair of the Education and Agriculture Together (EAT) Foundation, the minister reviewed progress in the work of global food alliances since the Food for Future Summit at Expo 2020 Dubai. In addition, she engaged in a productive discussion with senior Citibank officials on channelling finance into green, sustainable, and climate-resilient projects.

Almheiri also spoke to Joaquim Álvaro Pereira Leite, Minister of Environment of Brazil, about the two countries’ shared commitment to environmental protection, and explored opportunities to step up bilateral cooperation with Bogdan Aurescu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania.

On her final day at the UNGA, Almheiri analysed the intrinsic link between climate and conflict with Justin Vaïsse, Founder and Director-General of the Paris Peace Forum and discussed ways for Columbia University to support COP28 through research with Lee Bollinger, President of the university.

She also joined His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and other UAE delegates for bilateral meetings with the US, France, Ukraine, and the International Crisis Group.

Running from 13th September to 11th October, the 77th session of UNGA has convened representatives of UN member states, international organisations, NGOs, and leading private sector entities for a multilateral discussion on the full spectrum of global issues covered by the Charter of the United Nations. Climate action and the energy crisis are taking centre-stage at this year’s session, held under the theme 'A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges'.

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