July 2020
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Emirates Environmental Group Hosts 3rd Panel Discussion on Climate Finance in the UAE

Emirates Environmental Group Hosts 3rd Panel

“Tackling the Climate Emergency with Climate Finance”

EEG organised its 3nd panel discussion, virtually, on the 28th July titled: ‘Tackling the Climate Emergency with Climate Finance’. Climate finance aims to reduce the negative impact of climate change through local, national or transnational financing, either from public or private sources. Many rich countries have promised to provide huge sums of money to poorer nations as a form of climate finance. This is mainly because a warmer world affects the entire population of planet earth and people and ecosystems all over the globe—furthermore, developing countries greatly benefit from climate financing as climate funding from their own government may be inadequate. In October 2019, the UN announced the formation of Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance (GISD), a platform that encompasses 30 influential leaders from the corporate world who will work together over the next two years in a bid to free up trillions of dollars from the private sector to finance the SDGs.

The panel discussion explored the urgent need for increasing government and private spending on crucial sectors such as health, education, infrastructure and climate change.

As the world reels from the effects of the pandemic, large financial institutions including the World Bank have advocated for climate finance and other forms of green stimulus as part of COVID-19 recovery plans due to the interlinking of the pandemic and the climate change crisis. It is hoped that these investments will create new market opportunities in healthcare, education and other social development sectors. It is also hoped that this will address long-term risks arising from climate change, promote wider socio-economic benefits, and minimise social and environmental harm.

The distinguished guest speakers were Dr. Nasser Al Saidi, Chairman of the Clean Energy Business Council and President of Nasser Saidi & Associates; TJ Lightwala, Managing Director Lead for Experience Services MENA Accenture; and Ms. Fatima Alhammadi, Acting Head of Air Quality Management Section, MOCCAE.

Mrs. Habiba Al Mar’ashi, EEG Chairperson set the tone for the panel discussion by highlighting the intervention of key investments to build a resilience mechanism against pandemics and climate change. Responding to climate change in this region presents challenges for the oil producing and water stressed countries of the MENA Region, but there are also opportunities to create new paths towards more inclusive and effective development. “The private sector has a crucial role to play in the response to the climate emergency and the COVID-19 pandemic as they are large consumers of energy and producers of harmful emissions. Efforts towards climate finance made by the private sector will help countries meet their obligations under the Paris Agreement” added Mrs. Mar’ashi.

Dr. Nasser gave deep insights on why GCC countries should develop PAN-Arab model for clean energy technology and climate change mitigation as a part of their foreign aid. “Policy needs to be based on scientific data and statistics, with efficient use of technology to monitor energy consumption”, said Dr. Nasser. “Richer countries in the Region have resources and are in the forefront of renewable and clean energy. They should create incentives for climate resilient infrastructures and open their universities and technology institutions for youth from poorer countries of the region to promote awareness and education” added Dr. Nasser.

Regarding changes in air pollution across the UAE during the COVID-19 outbreak, Ms. Fatima talked about 26 stations across the country that assessed the changes in the ambient concentrations of the pollutants between January to June 2020. “Overall an average of 45% reduction in NO2 concentration was observed” highlighted Ms. Fatima. She further talked about the multilateral engagements of the Ministry towards renewable energy, resource efficiency and sustainable transport for a greener economy.

From a corporate perspective, TJ Lightwala shared how Accenture is expanding its environmental work streams by putting in place Carbon Strategy and Portfolio Management, Green IT, Eco Innovation, 360 Supplier Relationship among many others. Accenture is on road to becoming 100% Renewable Energy by 2023. TJ added, “Our new strategy is designed to keep us ahead of the curve and secure our position as a climate leader”.

The event welcomed participants from different sectors, that comprised of government officials, business leaders, and academia in the UAE and across the World. EEG is grateful to the support extended to it in organising this virtual event by Arabia CSR Network (ACSRN), Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC), Swiss Business Council (SBC) and Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC). The full panel discussion can be viewed in the link below:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/2064759000703885574

Notes to Editors:

Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) is a professional membership based working group established in 1991 devoted to protecting the environment through the means of education, action programmes and community involvement. EEG is actively encouraged and supported by concerned local and federal government agencies. It is the first environmental NGO in the world to be ISO 14001 certified and the only organisation of its kind in the UAE with accredited status to the United Nations Convention to Combating Desertification (UNCCD) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). EEG is the member of the UN Global Compact and the International Union of Conservation for Nature (IUCN).  For more information, contact us: email: eeg@emirates.net.ae; Tel: 04-3448622; Fax: 04-3448677 and please visit our bi-lingual website: www.eeg-uae.org; Follow us on FB, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn @eegemirates

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