Is the UAE about to go green?
The UAE has announced plan to develop its National Strategy for Green Growth within the next nine months in collaboration with the Prime Minister s Office, the Ministries of Environment and Water, the Foreign Affairs and the Global Green Growth Institute through its Abu Dhabi office at Masdar City.
Dr. Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, made this announcement during a press conference held on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit, which brought together Lars Lokke Rasmussen, former Prime Minister of Denmark and the Chair of the Global Green Growth Institute /GGGI/ and Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change and the Chief Executive Officer of Masdar. He confirmed that the plan to develop a national strategy will progress within the next nine months.
"We are currently forming a steering committee that comprises of the relevant authorities, which aims to develop a roadmap for implementing the UAE s strategies for green growth to be completed by the end of 2013. The UAE s action plan focuses on four main pillars including policy development, data management and building local capacity, as well as the implementation of leading pilot projects in the field of green growth," the UAE minister said.
For his part Dr. Al Jaber said: "UAE is proud of its active involvement in supporting the activities of GGGI in the region through its regional office in Masdar City, as well as sharing experiences with international partners by hosting Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
"Today s announcement is the start of the UAE s efforts to create a long-term national program for green development and demonstrates the vision of our wise leadership in achieving a better future through securing sustainable economic growth and prosperity for the people of the UAE," he added. Mr. Lars Lokke Rasmussen, former Prime Minister of Denmark and the Chairman of the Global Green Growth Institute /GGGI/ said "The political determination and leadership by the United Arab Emirates government, which it has shown today, to undertake a fundamental transformation of its economy through development of a national strategy for green growth is tremendously admirable".
He added: "I believe the UAE National Strategy for Green Growth has strong potential to demonstrate a compelling case for action from other hydrocarbon-based economies in the Middle East and North Africa /MENA/. I hope that the UAE, as a first mover among hydrocarbon-based economies, will become an important test ground to incubate innovative and implementation oriented policy and business models applicable to MENA as well as developing and emerging countries in other regions of the world."
Today s announcement about the UAE s action plan to develop a long-term national program for green growth is based on an initiative launched last year by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which strengthens the UAE s achievements and its strategic initiatives to meet the environment sustainability standards, and promotes the use of green and clean technologies to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of natural resources.
The National Strategy for Green Growth focuses on the importance of identifying the opportunities for developing national projects to promote the competitiveness and sustainability of the oil, gas, water, electricity and waste sectors, and to develop full-fledged criteria for the roles, responsibilities and timelines for the plans along with the requirements needed to achieve them. Also it seeks to integrate environment policies and existing activities in accordance with the economic development plans of the UAE, which includes a number of goals and recommendations that adequately reflect the opportunities and challenges associated with achieving green growth. The UAE aims to become a leading partner in the field of sustainable development and a pioneer in clean technology that will support the process of long-term growth.
To achieve green development, new mechanisms are required to promote innovation and technology diffusion. Therefore, investment in efficient infrastructure is necessary through the presence of educational institutions and advanced research, as well the hosting of forums and conferences to exchange ideas and, most importantly, building human capacity that is capable of activating real change. All those elements are already available in the UAE which makes the desired green growth development highly feasible. In line with the UAE s effort to diversify its economy and support global initiatives that promote clean energy and sustainable development, the UAE became a member of the GGGI in 2010, which established its MENA headquarters in Abu Dhabi in 2011, with an agenda to develop and promote the concept of green growth in the region.
The institute organizes courses and specialized training programs to raise awareness of issues associated with green growth and sustainable development. The GGGI also collaborates with Masdar, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the Directorate of Energy and Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the International Renewable Energy Agency /IRENA/ to promote economic and environment initiatives.
GGGI officially started operating in June 2010, and is dedicated to supporting the implementation a new model for sustainable growth. The Institute seeks to achieve a set of objectives, including energy security, economic development, environmental sustainability, poverty reduction and green job creation, as well as strengthening social development.