Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Sunday chaired the UAE Cabinet meeting at Expo City Dubai, in conjunction with the COP28 climate conference of the UN, hosted by the UAE this year. The meeting approved 10 initiatives in support of environment and climate action.
The meeting witnessed the presence of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of Presidential Court; Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Finance; and Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior.
Sheikh Mohammed said: “I chaired the Cabinet meeting at the Expo City Dubai, in conjunction with COP28. We reviewed the outcomes of the national efforts for sustainability and climate change. More than 120 decisions on sustainability and climate change and developing our natural resources issued within five years.”
He added: “In 2023, we issued more than 60 policies, initiatives and decisions to promote the UAE’s efforts to combat climate change and its impact.”
Sheikh Mohammed noted: “The UAE ranked second globally in the Energy Transition pillar of the Green Future Index (GFI) 2023; the sixth highest per capita consumer of solar energy in the world. It invested more than $50 billion in renewable energy projects in 70 countries and has also committed an additional investment of $50 billion over the next decade.”
He further added: “We approved 10 new initiatives and decisions to achieve our national objectives on environment, including the framework of the National biodiversity strategy 2031 which aims to protect, monitor and develop ecosystems and local species, as well as raising the efficiency of our national cadres in this field.
“We also approved a global initiative to decarbonise waste; the national carbon credits registration system which enables government and private institutions to assess and document their contributions to reducing carbon emissions with government certificates.”
Sheikh Mohammed said: “Also, we approved the UAE’s Fifth National Communication Report and approving its submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; the first report on the achievements of the low-carbon development strategy and long-term emission reduction, in addition to approving the establishment of the UAE Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Company; the Guideline on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in the UAE and the National Guide for Smart Construction.”
He concluded: “The UAE has made significant strides in climate action and continues its efforts towards sustainability. Our efforts in this field are aligned with our commitment to economic development.”
National efforts for sustainability and climate change
The UAE Cabinet reviewed the outcomes of National efforts for sustainability and climate change. More than 120 decisions on sustainability and climate change issued within 5 years. In 2023, the UAE Cabinet has issued 60 policies, initiatives and decisions on sustainability and climate change, as well as the UAE Plan for hosting the COP28; UAE Governments Net Zero 2050 Charter; and the National Framework for Sustainable Development.
The UAE Cabinet also approved a number of strategies to achieve climate neutrality, including the UAE National Energy Strategy 2050; the National Hydrogen Strategy 2050; the National Electric Vehicles Policy; in addition to applying the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) in the country.
Also, the UAE Cabinet approved the National Strategy to Combat Desertification (2022-2030); The national green building regulation; The National Guidelines for UAE Biosecurity (2023-2032); and the technical regulation measuring Air Quality.
During 2023, the Cabinet also approved the UAE Circular Economy Agenda 2031; UAE Integrated Waste Management Agenda 2023-2026; UAE policy for integrated management of recyclable materials; The Industrial Waste Management Policy.
The Cabinet approved a number of initiatives to support the UAE’s agriculture sector and adopt new agriculture technologies and modern farming.
The UAE Cabinet approved 10 international and regional agreements in 2023, aiming to protect environment and contribute in achieving the goals of sustainability. This included the Strategic Partnership Framework Convention on Energy and Natural Resources; The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone layer; The UAE’s accession to the Agricultural Innovation initiatives; Approving the report on the contributions of the UAE within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; and hosting the IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2025 in Abu Dhabi.
Key achievements in climate change and environment
The UAE Government's initiatives and policies have contributed to many environmental achievements, including a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across various sectors from 2019 to 2021. The country recorded an 11% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per capita during the same period.
The UAE ranked first regionally in the 2022 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), it has reached rank 39 globally by 2022 compared to 77th in 2018. Also, the country ranked second globally in the Energy Transition pillar of the Green Future Index (GFI) 2023; the 6th highest per capita consumer of solar energy in the world according to a report published by the Energy Institute Statistical Review of World Energy.
The UAE has invested more than $50 billion in renewable energy projects in 70 countries and has also committed an additional investment of $50 billion over the next decade in several countries to accelerate clean energy transition.
Ambitious national objectives
The UAE sets a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 19% in 2030; 62% in 2040, in 2045, in order to reach net zero by 2050.
In order to meet its ambitious renewable energy goals, the UAE aims to triple the contribution of the renewable energy and invest AED 150 to AED 200 billion by 2030.
UAE's Net Zero 2050 Strategy
The Cabinet meeting reviewed the updates on the UAE's Net Zero 2050 Strategy, and the National Net Zero by 2050 Pathway which comes within the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative, and was launched during the UAE’s participation in the 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) held in the Egyptian city of Sharm El Sheikh.
The pathway defines the country’s climate ambition with an absolute emission reduction target of 19 percent by 2030, compared to 2019.
Framework of the National Biodiversity Strategy 2031
The meeting approved the framework of the National biodiversity strategy 2031, which includes within its directions, protecting, monitoring and developing ecosystems and local species, conserving local genetic resources, and promoting research and innovation, enhancing awareness and building competencies.
The strategic objectives include rehabilitating and restoring 80% of degraded land and marine areas, preserving at least 21% of land and marine ecosystems and improving the status of endangered native species by 10%.
Global Initiative to decarbonise waste, ‘Waste to Zero’
In its meeting, the Cabinet approved the Global initiative to decarbonise waste ‘Waste to Zero’, aiming at accelerating decarbonisation and reducing emissions resulting from waste management activities.
The first of its kind initiative addressed the challenges of the waste management industry and its impact on environment and climate. All institutions and entities are allowed to join the initiative.
The Cabinet reviewed the first report on the achievements of the low-carbon development strategy and long-term emission reduction, in addition to approving the national carbon credits registration system, and adopting the UAE’s 5th National Communication Report and approving its submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
UAE Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Company
During the meeting, the Cabinet reviewed a study on the actual cost of charging electric vehicles in the country. Also, the Cabinet approved the establishment of the UAE Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Company, in order to developing an efficient infrastructure to charge electric vehicles, oversee the day-to-day operations of charging stations and develop a pricing strategy for charging services.
Guideline on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in the UAE
Also, the Cabinet approved the Guideline on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in the UAE, which aims to accelerate the deployment of technology and innovation for sustainable aviation fuels. As per the Guideline, at least 1% of the total fuel supplied at UAE airports to UAE airlines in 2031 will be sustainable and produced locally.
One of the main objectives of the Guideline is to produce 700 million liters of sustainable aviation fuel yearly by 2030. It also aims to develop the national regulatory environment for sustainable aviation fuels and spreadhead global cooperation in this field.
National Guide for Smart Construction
The Cabinet also approved the National Guide for Smart Construction in the UAE, to be applied to all construction projects in the country, including buildings, roads, bridges, tunnels.
The guide aims to standardize building design via adoption of smart building indicator, and ensure the best models of smart construction and digital design.
Also, during the meeting held in conjunction with the COP28, the Cabinet approved the technical regulations for energy efficiency of electric engines, and the consumptions meters.
The Cabinet approved a decision regarding the activity of the crowdfunding platform operator, and a decision on weights and dimensions of heavy vehicles and related sanctions.
The Cabinet adopted the rehabilitation criteria in cases of misdemeanours and felonies that are disturbing or involving dishonesty and moral turpitude. It also approved the regulations of the Federal Law concerning juvenile delinquents and those at risk of delinquency.
Also, the Cabinet approved updating the national qualifications system. Eight levels will be adopted instead of 10 in the proposed framework to align the national qualifications system with the European qualifications system.
The Cabinet adopted the National Grant Initiative for Culture and Creativity to honour distinguished figures in culture and creativity.
The UAE Cabinet meeting approved the "Identification of Emirati Individuals and Families using the National Identity or Digital Certification", which will replace the Family Book in official transactions, services and benefits at the state level.
Also, the Cabinet approved the development of a number of new government services in the field of health insurance for tourist visa holders and the car insurance for imported vehicles.
The Cabinet also reviewed a report on the results of the implementation of the UAE Strategy for Government Services, and the associated policies. In addition to approving the talents framework aiming to spot talents in the federal authorities.
Two agreements with the Co-operative Republic of Guyana have been approved, in addition to approving the UAE’s accession to the Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC); the UAE’s accession to the Global Cooling Pledge; and approving the UAE hosting the “Child-Friendly Media” in coordination with the Arab League.