Green trade a major driver for promoting sustainable, resilient global economy: Al Zeyoudi

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said that mobilising global efforts to achieve sustainability of supply chains through digitisation and adoption of advanced technologies is no longer a luxury, but a key factor in overcoming climate challenges. Studies by the World Bank indicate that global trade generates up to 25% of total carbon emissions worldwide.

In statements to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Al Zeyoudi said that the UAE, represented by the Ministry of Economy and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), launched the “Trade Tech Initiative” in partnership with the World Economic Forum.

The initiative is designed to accelerate the digitisation of international supply chains, enhance customs procedures, improve developing countries’ access to the global trading system and spur a new era of trade growth.

The Trade Tech Initiative is a crucial step in modernising global trade, using the tools of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to reduce the cumbers
ome and inefficient paper-based processes that continue to dominate supply chains.

On the future of green trade and its impact on the sustainability of global supply chains, Al Zeyoudi said that green trade, which is characterised by the exchange of environmentally friendly goods and services, is considered a major driver for promoting a more sustainable and resilient global economy.

On the role of e-commerce in reducing carbon emissions, Al Zeyoudi said that e-commerce is experiencing rapid growth in line with the technological revolution that the world is witnessing.

The e-commerce market continues to grow rapidly, and its share of the total volume of international trade is increasing significantly. This growth in digital trade has a positive impact on reducing carbon emissions, as studies have found that traditional shopping has twice the carbon footprint compared to online shopping.

He pointed to the importance of taking these changes into account when discussing ways to reshape the future of global t
rade, which is what the UAE is working to achieve by hosting the 13th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC13) in the capital, Abu Dhabi, in February next year. This is one of many other important issues that the world relies on reaching an agreement on to reshape the global trade system and accelerate technological developments.

Al Zeyoudi said that the UAE, as a hub for global trade, is also witnessing growth in e-commerce. Some estimates indicate that the UAE e-commerce market is expected to reach $9.2 billion by 2026.

He mentioned that on the COP28 Trade Day, the Ministry of Economy launched a report entitled “Exploring the Green Horizon”, which provides key insights into the intersections of trade with the global sustainability movement.

On the UAE’s contribution to global supply chains, Al Zeyoudi said that the UAE is continuing to strengthen its global stature as a global logistics hub and gateway to facilitate the movement, flexibility, and efficiency of global supply chains, th
anks to its strategic position at the heart of global trade, and its gateway to the flow of goods, commodities, and services from and to the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

Al Zeyoudi added that the UAE is a global Centre for many basic commodities. It enjoys a central position in global supply chains, with 2.4% of the total sea container trade passing through the UAE, making it a global centre for supply chains.

On the discussions about the future of trade at COP28, Al Zeyoudi said that for the first time in the history of COPs, trade was included in the official agenda of this important event.

He added that “Trade Day” aimed to explore mechanisms for the contribution of global trade to reducing carbon emissions, pointing to the importance of this event as it is held ahead of the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference, which will review the functioning of the multilateral trading system and to take action on the future work of the WTO.

Source: Emirates News Agency

ITFC ups green financing commitment to 30%

Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), affiliated with the Islamic Development Bank Group, has emphasised the ITFC’s commitment to increasing its sustainable and green financing to approximately 30% of its total financing portfolio.

Speaking to the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of the COP28 conference, Sonbol, who is also Acting CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, highlighted a clear inclination towards boosting the presence of green financing within their portfolios. He anticipates a significant acceleration in this trend over the forthcoming years.

“Participation in COP28 holds significance in addressing climate issues, now a global priority,” Sonbol said. “We can’t ignore their impacts on sectors we’re actively developing within the member countries of the Islamic Development Bank Group.”

He emphasised that participation in such summits fosters partnerships and agreements, allowing a review of strategies
for institutions under the Islamic Development Bank Group to combat climate change effectively.

“COP28 arrives at a critical juncture,” Sonbol noted. “Combating the ramifications of climate change is no longer optional but an urgent necessity. This extends beyond environmental shifts, encompassing crises such as health emergencies and geopolitical tensions.”

He optimistically anticipated positive outcomes from COP28, propelling climate action forward. “We hope to see a reduced pace of climate change effects on Earth, fostering a global environment of security, prosperity, and peace,” he said.

Sonbol emphasised that many sectors funded by the ITFC are significantly impacted by climate change. He highlighted the need for effective solutions, including increasing green financing to 30% of the ITFC’s portfolio, mobilising resources through the issuance of green bonds, and implementing programs and initiatives that advance climate action.

He highlighted the vital role agriculture plays in many member countries
, with over 60% relying heavily on it for their income. He emphasised the profound impact climate change has on this sector and its subsequent effects on the economies of these countries.

“Climate change profoundly affects the agricultural sector, impacting the economies of member countries,” Sonbol stated.

He further stressed the importance of supporting farmers with innovative financial solutions and new technologies, recognising their crucial role in ensuring food security and economic stability.

Hani Sonbol also revealed the ITFC’s success in forging partnerships during COP28. Notably, the ITFC renewed its commitment to collaborate with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to enhance industrial development and trade. This collaboration involves pooling expertise, technologies, and financial resources to achieve shared sustainable development goals.

CEO of ITFC showcased the institution’s comprehensive strategy for driving climate action and sustainable development through var
ious innovative financial solutions. He highlighted programmes that foster economic growth and resilience in Arab and African nations (Arab Africa Trade Bridges), empower small and medium enterprises (SMEs Support), and address food insecurity while promoting sustainable agriculture (Food Security programme). This multifaceted approach demonstrates the ITFC’s commitment to a more prosperous and environmentally conscious future.

Sonbol emphasised their partnership with Oil Sustainability Programme (OSP) in developing specialised programmes promoting the transition to clean cooking solutions. He highlighted the impact of traditional cooking methods, relying on wood, charcoal, and animal dung, on human health and the environment, particularly in Africa and other developing nations. These traditional methods contribute to significant annual health problems, making the shift to cleaner alternatives like liquefied petroleum gas and affordable renewable energy sources crucial.

This partnership exemplifies the ITFC
‘s commitment to sustainable development and improving the lives of communities worldwide. By facilitating the transition to cleaner cooking practices, the ITFC aims to reduce health risks, improve environmental well-being, and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Sonbol announced the ITFC’s groundbreaking role as the first Islamic institution to embrace carbon credits through Sharia-compliant financial products. This pioneering move paves the way for a future that integrates environmental responsibility with ethical financial practices, ultimately leading to a more sustainable and prosperous world for all.

He said that successfully integrating Islamic finance and carbon credit projects presents unique challenges. To overcome these hurdles, he said that a multifaceted approach is essential, which requires collaboration from all stakeholders, including private sector entities and international partners.

Source: Emirates News Agency

EAD, Ajyal Holding sign MoU to collaborate on environmental initiatives

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) and Ajyal Holding Company announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore cooperation on a number of environmental initiatives.

The memorandum was signed during an event held on the sidelines of the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in the presence of Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of EAD, and Ahmed Mohammed Al Rumaithi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ajyal Holding. Implemented under the framework of the Abu Dhabi Climate Change Strategy which was recently launched by EAD, the initiative confirms the Agency’s commitment to working with its main partners to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

Dr. Shaikha Al Dhaheri said that the Agency’s goal is to achieve a more sustainable future in Abu Dhabi, and stressed the importance of creating partnerships with local and international institutions to promote climate action and protect the environment. She pointed out the importance of the partnership with Ajyal Holding,
within the context of COP28’s ‘Unite for Nature’ theme, and in support of EAD’s efforts in recycling and the benefits of carbon removal technology.

The cooperation is also in line with the UAE’s Circular Economy Policy (2021-2031), launched with the aim of achieving sustainable governance and the optimal use of natural resources.

Ahmed Mohammed Al Rumaithi reinforced the company’s commitment to environmental preservation and sustainable development policies, while explaining how important signing the memorandum is to implementing advanced and safe recycling techniques, with the aim of recovering valuable resources and minerals from waste.

Additional areas of cooperation between EAD and Ajyal Holding include the use of smart technology to monitor the marine environment and the support of sustainable agriculture using the outputs of carbon removal processes. Both parties will also prepare and implement programmes and initiatives to achieve sustainable development and enhance environmental quality.

Emirates News Agency

Tanzanian Foreign Minister optimistic about COP28 success

Tanzania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, January Yusuf Makamba, said that the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) is one of the most successful conferences of the parties he has attended over the past years. He added that the COP28 Presidency succeeded in bringing all countries together at one table to agree on the topics that will be discussed, and there was a consensus on the agenda.

‘I regularly represent my country in COP conferences, and this is one of the most successful conferences that I have attended over the past years,” Makamba said in statements to the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of the activities of COP28.

‘We witnessed a consensus on the agenda, which has never happened before, with all members agreeing on what should be discussed,’ he added.

He highlighted crucial topics at the COP28 conference, like the long-debated Loss and Damage Fund, currently under discussion for activation. He noted that the UAE’s leadership in this activation marks a
significant success.

Makamba indicated, ‘We have great optimism in light of the great momentum witnessed by COP28, the interest in mobilising resources for climate financing, and the consensus on major issues that were a source of intense debate in the past.’

He also noted, ‘I believe that the work that took place during COP28 under the leadership of the UAE confirms to our countries the fairness with which the Fund will be managed and the ways to activate it, and we are very optimistic that the long debate about climate finance and previously unfulfilled pledges will now be resolved.’

The Tanzanian Minister emphasised the need to maintain the momentum of climate action even after the conclusion of COP28 until ‘we achieve our ambition for a green, carbon-free future’.

He highlighted the robust ties between the UAE and Tanzania, particularly in economic, social, and political aspects. He pointed out the growing trade and investment exchanges, emphasising ample opportunities for future collaboration.

rce: Emirates News Agency

COP28’s Nature, Land Use and Ocean Day sees over $186 million in commitments

Over $186 million of new financing for nature and climate towards forests, mangroves and the ocean was announced during COP28’s Nature, Land Use and Ocean Day. This funding builds on the $2.5 billion mobilised to protect and restore nature during COP28’s World Climate Action Summit (WCAS) on 2nd December.

These pledges prioritised forest protection, mangrove and green space expansion, and bolstering funding for nature conservation and ocean sustainability. Leaders emphasised the urgency of immediate action to safeguard nature as a cornerstone in achieving the Paris Agreement’s goals.

‘There is no path to fulfilling the Paris Agreement and keeping 1.5°C within reach without protecting and restoring nature, land, and the ocean. We must work in partnership, especially with the indigenous peoples and local communities who steward these critical assets,’ said Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28. ‘The diverse, incredible turn-out for Nature, Land Use, and Ocean Day at COP evidences
the support for this dual nature-climate agenda and its centrality to the response to the Global Stocktake. I am delighted that we also have a clear pathway for nature to COP30 in Belém.’

‘The COP28 Presidency; the UAE, has demonstrated real action for Nature, one that is backed by significant financial commitments. The journey to 1.5 as we all know, is not possible without nature, and this level of action must be expedited to achieve real progress by COP30,’ said Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana.

Reversing nature loss can provide upwards of 30 percent of the mitigation action needed to keep 1.5°C within reach by 2030. Nature also has a crucial role to play in reducing climate-related hazards, such as floods and fires. Nature preservation can also contribute a potential $10 trillion worth of new business opportunities and provide almost 400 million new jobs.

At COP26, climate action leaders agreed to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030 and, earlier this year, adopted the G
lobal Biodiversity Framework (GBF), with its goal to protect 30 percent of the land and ocean by 2030. These goals depend on investment in and leadership from indigenous communities, who steward some 80 percent of global biodiversity.

‘For thousands of years, our people have been devoted to living in balance and harmony with nature, observing the behaviour of the biodiversity that surrounds us, the animals, plant life cycles and water flows,’ said María Jose Andrade Cerda, an Indigenous woman from the Kichwa community of Serena, Ecuador, who leads economic and community development in the council of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon. ‘By bringing science and indigenous knowledge together, COP28 has helped remind the world that understanding and respecting the intricate dance between humanity and nature is paramount to our future.’

A key policy outcome of Nature, Land Use, and Ocean Day is a joint statement between the COP28 Presidency and the Convention on Biological Div
ersity (CBD), chaired by the People’s Republic of China. The COP28 Joint Statement on Climate, Nature and People was endorsed by 18 countries who lead climate, nature and 11 biodiversity partnerships across forests, mangroves and the ocean. This signalled a new commitment for countries to coordinate and simultaneously implement their nature and climate strategies.

During WCAS, the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28 announced that the UAE will contribute $100 million of new finance for nature-climate projects, with an initial $30 million investment in the Ghanaian government’s ‘Resilient Ghana’ plan. The UAE and Brazil will co-lead a two-year strategic partnership bridging COP28 to COP30.

Source: Emirates News Agency

COP28 Presidency is focused on achieving balanced package in negotiations: COP28 Director-General

Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi, COP28 Director-General and Special Representative, asserted that the COP28 Presidency is focused on achieving a balanced package in the negotiations, noting that they hosted a stocktaking plenary to outline progress made at the technical level and hear feedback on building areas of convergence.

During a press conference held today in the Blue Zone of the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), as part of the Food, Agriculture and Water Day, Al Suwaidi said, ‘Food systems are extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change… and COP28 is proud to be elevating them to the highest level of discussions.’

He added that the COP28 Presidency is driving ‘momentum towards the objectives of the historic COP28 UAE Declaration on Agriculture, Food Systems and Climate Action, which was endorsed by 134 world leaders, representing 480 million farmers and 75 percent of global food production during the World Climate Action Summit last week’.

‘We have heard strong messages from develop
ing countries and as a result are asking parties to propose consensus solutions on the global goal on adaptation and further options on finance in the Global Stocktake,’ he stated.

“For over 700 million people across the world, hunger is a daily reality, and a further 3 billion people can’t afford to eat a nutritious diet. Quite simply, these are the symptoms of a broken food system, one that we want to begin to fix here in Dubai.

‘During the World Climate Action Summit, we saw the global community mobilise $2.5 billion to support the food-climate agenda. And the UAE and the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation launched a $200 million partnership for Food Systems, Agriculture Innovation and Climate Action.’

Al Suwaidi affirmed that ‘COP28 signals a turning point, embedding sustainable agriculture and food systems as critical components in both dealing with climate change and building food systems fit for the future’.

Source: Emirates News Agency