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UAE Circular Economy Council discusses 'Year of Sustainability' initiatives and COP28


Attended by Her Highness Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, CEO of Alliances for Global Sustainability, the UAE Circular Economy Council convened its meeting, presided over by Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment to discuss 'Year of Sustainability' initiatives and COP28.


The meeting was attended by His Excellency Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, His Excellency Omar Suwaina Al Suwaidi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, His Excellency Eng Dawood Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality, His Excellency Abdulrahman Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Municipality and Planning Department in Ajman, His Excellency Eng Essa Al Hashmi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Sustainable Communities Sector at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, His Excellency Eng Yousif Al Ali, Assistant Undersecretary for Electricity, Water and Future Energy at the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, His Excellency Khaled Al Huraimel, CEO of Bee’ah, Her Excellency Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director General of Emirates Nature-WWF, Kristin Hughes from the World Economic Forum (WEF), Stuart Fleming of EnviroServe, Haseeb Ur Rahman, FrieslandCampina MENA, Faisal Falaknaz and Salwa Al Maflahi of Al Dar and a representative of Majid Al Futtaim Holding.


Her Highness Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, President & CEO of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators, commented: “The first meeting of the UAE Circular Economy Council in 2023 was particularly significant as we embark on the Year of Sustainability and advance our path to COP28. Convening key representatives from the public and private sector, the discussion highlighted the need for cross-industry collaboration, transparency, and access to information, in order to ensure the success of several waste management and decarburization initiatives that are currently underway. The UICCA is committed to creating open dialogue between government entities and businesses, while providing structured policy recommendations that will be fundamental in the transition to the green economy.”


In her welcoming note, Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri said: “The announcement by the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, that 2023 will be the “Year of Sustainability” came to confirm our role as a council to highlight the UAE extensive efforts to promote sustainable circularity ahead of COP28, and to showcase the country’s commitment towards fostering a global collaboration in seeking innovative solutions to challenges, such as energy, climate change and other pressing issues related to sustainability.”


“As the UAE will host COP28 later this year, the conference success depends on the ability of all of us to present and position the UAE as a role model in sustainable and climate friendly fast developing nation. One of the priority items that needs to be demonstrated towards a successful COP28 is our ability to adopt circular approaches and innovations to reduce our GHG emissions. Our commitment to global climate action, and the UAE's adoption of the National Net Zero by 2050 Pathway, presents our long-term emissions reduction targets as we aim to achieve 18% emission reduction compared to 2019 baseline by 2030,” she added.


The Minister highlighted the UAE's achievements in climate action and sustainability, and indicated that one of the priority elements that must be emphasized in 2023 for a successful COP28 is the country's ability to adopt innovative approaches in circular economy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. For this purpose, Her Excellency presented an open invitation to all entities to join a dedicated team to develop the UAE’s sustainable circular economy landscape.


Her Excellency also provided an overview of the results of a new joint report by the Ministry and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) on the state of the circular economy pathway in the UAE. The report identifies relevant historic and recent trends, compares the UAE’s performance to that of other countries, and offers scenario projections for a greener and more circular UAE. Topics under the spotlight include waste generation, GHG emissions, natural capital, and the use and trade of secondary raw materials. The study also examines the consumption of materials, water, and energy, as well as the reuse and recycling of materials, nutrients, and water.

For his part, His Excellency Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy and Head of the Council’s Circular Economy Policies Committee, noted that the Committee recently held intensive workshops and meetings with the government and private sectors as well as international partners. The workshops were designed to support the implementation of the UAE Circular Economy Policy in four key sectors – manufacturing, green infrastructure, transportation, and food production and consumption – as well as the 23 new policies issued to drive the UAE’s overall transition to a circular economy. These policies will contribute to addressing all challenges the private sector is facing in its shift to a circular economy and support the country’s green development drive. The initiatives align with the directives of our wise leadership to fast-track the country’s transition to a circular economy as one of the sustainability, flexibility, and growth drivers of the new economic model as per the Principles of the 50.


He added: “The Committee continues its efforts to implement the UAE Circular Economy Policy 2021-2031 through programs and projects that are set to attract investments to this field and expand its infrastructure. Efforts are also being exerted to establish a circular economy database, in addition to offering incentives to encourage the private sector to shift towards clean production methods, thereby enhancing the UAE’s competitiveness as one of the leading circular economies regionally and globally.”


Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of BEEAH Group commented: "BEEAH Group is honoured to host the first meeting of the UAE Circular Economy Council in 2023 at our new Headquarters. With His Highness the President of the UAE declaring 2023 as the Year of Sustainability and the nation hosting COP28 later this year, this will be a landmark year of climate and environmental action. As a proud member of this Council, we are dedicated to contributing to the major milestones that lie ahead. BEEAH Group will continue to build on our circular economy solutions and progress towards the ambitious targets under the UAE's sustainability agenda, shaping a net-zero emissions and zero-waste to landfill future."


The Council reviewed the Cape Industrial Symbiosis Program (WISP), which develops mutually profitable links between companies from all industrial sectors, so that underutilized resources such as energy and water, and/or materials from one company can be recovered, reprocessed and re-used by others.


Eng Aisha Al Abdooli, Director of the Green Development & Environment Affairs Department at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), briefed the Council members on the progress of current circular economy projects in the UAE.

After a brief on the progress of current circular economy projects in the UAE and startups’ insights, Kristin Hughes from the World Economic Forum (WEF) updated Council members on the Scale360° initiative, with the aim of fast-tracking the adoption of the circular economy principles, and highlighted three areas to take action in during 2023: plastic action, industry transformation and critical material.


The meeting agenda also featured an overview of BEEAH’s efforts to implement a circular economy model in its operations as well as a presentation on the Abu Dhabi Emirate Single Use Plastic Policy that came into force on June 1, 2022.


The meeting agenda also featured Stuart Fleming of EnviroServe showcasing the company’s experience in the circular economy sector, Haseeb Ur Rahman, Marketing Director, FrieslandCampina MENA, presenting Rainbow Quality Milk company’s case study on recycling their milk cans and involving the UAE community, and Faisal Falaknaz and Salwa Al Mflahi of Al Dar highlighting their journey to decarbonize waste.


Approved in January 2021, the UAE Circular Economy Policy identifies the optimal approach to the country’s transition to a circular economy. Its objectives include building a sustainable economy, promoting efficient use of natural resources, encouraging the private sector to shift to cleaner industrial production methods that involve the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and other 4IR technologies, and adopting sustainable consumption and production patterns that reduce environmental stress while meeting the basic needs of the population.


The UAE Circular Economy Council comprises 17 representatives of relevant federal and local government entities, private sector businesses, and international organizations.


Original Source: Zawya

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