Dubai delegates during the COP26 conference in Glasgow Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A Dubai-led delegation participated in the 26th session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) held in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 to November 12.

The delegation was headed by Abdulla Mohammed Al Basti, Secretary-General of The Executive Council of Dubai and Vice Chairman of the Steering Committee of the C40 Cities Network for South and West Asia.

The conference comprised several events aimed at exploring the challenges of climate change and uncovering solutions to reduce the impact of the current climate crisis.

What is COP?

COP, which takes place on a yearly basis, brings together world leaders alongside international organisations and business leaders to develop a global agenda devoted to tackling climate change. The conference examines pressing decisions and global agreements by countries to reduce emissions and enhance adaptation, and discusses options and targets for climate financing.

UAE’s winning bid for COP28

Al Basti stressed that the UAE winning the bid to host the global climate summit COP28 in 2023 reflects the country’s efforts to embed sustainable development as a key principle by investing in green infrastructure and supporting the growth of green economic activities.

Initiatives of leaders

This achievement comes as a result of the successful initiatives put in place in line with the vision of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

2050 net-zero target

The vision set for the UAE has allowed it to achieve significant strides in clean energy and wastewater treatment infrastructure. The country is currently supporting the establishment of a strong circular economy ecosystem, which will bolster its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

Dubai’s efforts will allow the emirate to play a key role in supporting the UAE’s roadmap to reaching net zero carbon by 2050, a commitment the country announced weeks prior to COP26.

In this context, Al Basti pointed out that Dubai is successfully shaping the green finance agenda, alongside the C40 Network of Leading Cities in Climate Change, following the directives of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai.

Shift towards clean power

Al Basti said: “Tackling climate change is a key priority of ours and is crucial to achieving a safer and more sustainable future for all. For years, Dubai has been shifting towards alternative energy and promoting the concept of sustainability across all sectors through pioneering initiatives and projects in the field of environmental protection, local resource management, and green investment.”

Dubai’s sustainability initiatives include the utilisation of concentrated solar panels and photovoltaic panels for solar energy production; generation of green hydrogen using solar energy; the development of the hydroelectric plant project in Hatta using clean energy; in addition to optimising the use of treated water for irrigation and cooling; and concerted efforts to reduce demand for energy and water in all sectors of the emirate through building standards and extensive retrofitting activities.

Discussing financing climate action

As part of its role as member of the steering committee of the C40 Leadership Group, Dubai led an effort to identify the main challenges and priorities for “climate budgeting” for the C40 cities. This effort came in response to the rising challenges of financing climate change at a city level and the urgent need to mitigate the negative impact it is already having on the global community.

Interactive workshops

Dubai’s work on the topic alongside C40’s team consisted of mapping existing practices followed by focused interactive workshops with the C40 member cities. The workshops comprised of a review of the outputs of the analysis of studied by teams from the Government of Dubai on the challenges and enablers of climate finance in cities, in addition to deep dives into best practices from the cities of Oslo in Norway, Paris in France, Tshwane in South Africa and Montreal in Canada which have established successful climate budgeting models.

The workshops also included surveys to map the individual challenges and priorities of the participating cities with regard to mainstreaming climate finance at the city level.

Providing additional support

During a focused session held at the Glasgow Climate Summit with a number of mayors of leading cities in climate action and officials from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Secretary General of The Executive Council of Dubai highlighted the need to provide additional support for network cities specifically to enhance their capabilities to develop climate action programmes and initiatives that meet the requirements of international funders, in addition to training local financial authorities on understanding climate action and what it means for city operations and capital investments.

Al Basti also referred to challenges that relate to financing adaptation to climate change, stressing that current funding only represents 20 per cent of the total amount required to protect societies from the expected climate change impacts on the global community.


Dubai joined the C40 global network in 2015, as part of its commitment to address climate change and join efforts with leading cities to scale up climate action.