September 2020
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His Excellency Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi Chairs 22nd Virtual Meeting  of GCC Committee of Ministers Responsible for Environmental Affairs

His Excellency Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi Chairs

represented by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), hosted the 22nd virtual meeting of the GCC Committee of Ministers Responsible for Environmental Affairs. His Excellency Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, presided over the gathering that drew the participation of environmental ministers from the GCC region.

The attendees discussed the adoption of Environmental Directions for the GCC Countries 2020: Requirements for the Current Environmental Situation. They also reviewed the General Secretariat’s report on the efforts of GCC member states in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the implementation of a comprehensive strategy for environmental cooperation among the region’s countries in line with the recommendations of the report of the Advisory Board of the GCC Supreme Council.

Other topics included the strategic plan of the Committee, the progress of the ventures aligned with the cooperation agreement with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), updates to the GCC Environmental E-Portal, as well as international efforts and strategic dialogues. Furthermore, the participants examined the outcomes of the meetings of strategy sub-committees, meetings of the GCC Ozone Working Group, and the 18th meeting of the Permanent Committee for the Convention on the Conservation of Wildlife and Their Natural Habitats in the Countries of the GCC.

In his speech, His Excellency Dr Al Nuaimi stressed that the meeting was taking place under exceptional circumstances that have added new importance to coordination and cooperation among GCC member states. He also highlighted the need to incorporate environmental and climate aspects in all economic recovery plans and turn them into green plans that drive long-term sustainable growth and mitigate future threats, including pandemics and global environmental risks, such as climate change.

He said that the post-COVID-19 era requires accelerated efforts to implement the Environmental Directions for the GCC Countries 2020, the strategy for environmental collaboration among GCC countries, the strategic plan of the Committee, the GCC Green Initiative for Environment and Sustainable Development, and other important projects.

The Minister noted that the journey of partnership that started in Abu Dhabi four decades ago resulted in multiple milestone environmental achievements in the GCC region, and strengthened the Council’s presence as an active entity in international forums. He called for stepping up cooperation among GCC member states according to the directives of their wise leaderships to achieve sustainable development and build a better future for the region and the rest of the world.

In closing, other Committee members thanked the UAE for chairing the meeting, and commended the efforts of environment ministries and entities in countries of the GCC region to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee decided to develop an action plan for the implementation of the Environmental Directions for the GCC Countries 2020 in collaboration with regional and global organizations, and integrate its contents in the strategies of the member environment ministries as well as in the operational plans of the strategy sub-committees.

The attendees also agreed to form a technical team comprising representatives of the environment ministries and other stakeholders to follow up with the General Secretariat’s customs body on the implementation of the environmental aspects of the Supreme Council’s decision on non-tariff restrictions, and set a timetable for the implementation in alignment with the Unified Guide for Customs Procedures at GCC First Points of Entry.

The meeting concluded that the GCC Ozone Working Group will keep track of the updates of the Montreal Protocol and the Vienna Convention to develop a draft amendment to the Unified Guiding Regulation for the Control of Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in the GCC Countries.

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