The meeting was presided over by Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The UAE Circular Economy Council convened a meeting on Sunday where it discussed ‘Year of Sustainability’ initiatives and COP28.

Attended by Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, CEO of Alliances for Global Sustainability, the meeting was presided over by Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.

Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan, President & CEO of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators, said: “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 decarburisation 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.”

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.”

The minister highlighted the UAE’s achievements in climate action and sustainability, and indicated that one of the priority elements that must be emphasised in 2023 for a successful COP28 is the country’s ability to adopt innovative approaches in circular economy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

She 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.

The meeting was attended by Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, Omar Suwaina Al Suwaidi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, Eng Dawood Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality, Abdulrahman Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Municipality and Planning Department in Ajman, Eng Essa Al Hashmi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Sustainable Communities Sector at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Eng Yousif Al Ali, Assistant Undersecretary for Electricity, Water and Future Energy at the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, Khaled Al Huraimel, CEO of Bee’ah, 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.

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

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.