New York: The UAE, in line with the far-sighted vision of its leadership, has adopted a partnership approach which focuses on financing projects in countries most exposed to climate risks as climate finance can enable sustainable economic growth while promoting peace and stability, according to Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Special Envoy for Climate Change.
Delivering the opening remarks at a United Nations Security Council meeting on Climate Finance for Sustaining Peace and Security, Dr. Al Jaber said the UAE has provided over $1 billion in climate aid to more than 40 countries, with a special focus on island and less-developed nations.
He added that the UAE has also provided several billion dollars in recent years in disaster and conflict relief where climate impacts are a contributing factor.
The Arria-formula meeting, an informal meeting of Security Council members, was chaired by Dr. Al Jaber.
Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN, delivered the opening remarks at the meeting which had in attendance Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab, Deputy Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN.
During his speech, Dr. Al Jaber noted that geopolitical tensions are challenging international peace and stability. He said that while the world deals with these challenges, it should not lose sight of other existing and emerging threats that undermine the collective security.
The UAE’s experience in climate financing underscores that, where appropriate, viewing climate action through the lens of international peace and security can aim finance at priority sectors such as food and water security, according to Dr. Al Jaber. He explained this is one of the goals of the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate), an initiative that the UAE launched last year along with 38 countries to scale up investments in agricultural innovation from drought resistant seeds to water-efficient vertical farming.
Addressing dignitaries including, John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, and COP26 President Alok Sharma, Dr. Al Jaber called for an inclusive approach that empowered women and ensured climate finance contributes to equitable sustainable development when financing projects.
“Fair and balanced climate finance will make all communities more resilient in the short term and will deliver a dividend of peace well into the future,” he said.
Reiterating the importance of climate finance in the fight against climate change, Dr. Al Jaber urged the international community to do more to support developing nations.
“Climate finance is one of the most important tools to manage climate risks.” “Yet,” Dr. Al Jaber said. “The international community continues to fall short of the $100 billion climate finance pledge made to developing nations over a decade ago. Many countries on the Council’s agenda, as well as countries affected by rising sea levels, emphasize this amount alone will be insufficient.”
“Robust, sustained and ambitious climate finance is a critical enabler of continued climate progress and risk reduction,” he added. “Greater access to guaranteed finance is critical.”
Tthe UAE is committed to supporting countries most exposed to climate risk, said Dr. Al Jaber, as he pointed out the scale of the climate challenge.
“The latest IPCC (Intergovenmental Panel on Climate Change) report highlights the scale of the challenge, stating that up to 3.6 billion people are now highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, particularly in fragile states. Climate impacts are a matter of peace and security. These impacts are likely to drive significant displacement and competition over resources, and if not addressed, could be the source of many future conflicts.”
Dr. Al Jaber acknowledged that the report provides some encouraging signs of progress to build on in the months and years ahead and a blueprint for how we can protect and strengthen our most vulnerable communities. He also noted COP26 (the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference) aligned 90 per cent of the global economy on a net zero development pathway and called for a similar step-change on adaptation, particularly for communities most at risk.
Concluding his remarks, Dr. Al Jaber called for greater alignment between security and climate strategies in fragile countries.
“We know that climate is not always a factor in security,” he said. “But we also know that the more we can align security and climate strategies in fragile countries facing climate risks, the more we can mitigate those risks, reinforce resilience and accelerate sustainable economic growth.”
Other dignitaries present at the meeting include Osama Mahmoud, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the UN; Dr. Mohamed Mubarak bin Dana, Special Envoy for Climate Affairs for Bahrain; Jennifer Morgan, Special Envoy for International Climate Action for Germany; Barbara Pompili, Minister of Ecological Transition for France; Chet Greene, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade for Antigua and Barbuda; Ahmed Khaleel, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Maldives; Nafisah Abubakar, Head of the Secretariat of Rural Women Energy Security (RUWES); Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund, as well as ministers and ambassadors from around the world.