DUBAI, Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, along with other ministers, executives, and youth delegates met on Wednesday to jointly prepare for two landmark United Nations (UN) summits that will take place in New York in September.
The two summits are the UN Food Systems Summit and the High-Level Dialogue on Energy.
Hosted by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the UAE as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), the event drew nearly 1,000 participants from around the globe to propose initiatives, policies, and targets that simultaneously deliver food, energy, and climate benefits. The proposals will also offer input into the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November, 2021.
By 2050, the world will need to feed about 10 billion people while achieving the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Food systems already account for over 25 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 30 percent of energy consumption and are vulnerable to climate change. At the same time, the world must ensure universal modern energy access for the 800 million people currently without electricity and the three billion without clean cooking solutions, most of whom live in agriculture-based economies.
The ministerial meeting, the first joint event on the preparatory processes of the two UN summits featured proposals from 15 ministers, 15 private sector and international organisation executives, and five youth delegates.
Delegates emphasised the importance of decarbonising food transport through a combination of biofuels and increasingly cost-competitive vehicles and machines that are powered by renewables. They particularly called for new spending and political commitment on clean cooking at the summits; open fires and inefficient stoves contribute to millions of preventable deaths and illnesses each year, disproportionately concentrated among women and children.
Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, said, “Our shared roadmap for recovery from COVID-19 for humanity and the planet are the SDGs. I call on all countries, cities, businesses, and people from all parts of civil society to redouble efforts in this Decade of Action to advance all the SDGs – including those on hunger and energy – and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.”
Dr Agnes Kalibata, Special Envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit, said, “To achieve progress toward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Food Systems Summit will be a ‘People’s Summit’ and ‘Solutions Summit’, advancing progress on all 17 SDGs.”
Damilola Ogunbiyi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Energy for All, Co-Chair of UN-Energy, and Co-Chair and High-level Champion for the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy, said, “The UN High-level Dialogue on Energy in September will be a key moment to accelerate progress on SDG 7 – access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030 – in line with the Paris Agreement.”
Dr. Al Nuaimi said, “Today, I have heard clear logic and political commitment for designing summit outcomes that strengthen energy, food, and climate services at the same time. I am therefore pleased to announce that the co-hosts have agreed to keep the conversation going across the two Summit processes, and ensure that we build momentum from this meeting.”
Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food and Water Security, said, “Ten years ago, few would have believed that a country at the heart of the hydrocarbon industry would achieve solar power cheaper than any other electricity source. A mere two years ago, not many would have thought that an arid country that imports nearly 90 percent of its food could locally and sustainably produce salmon, blueberries, quinoa, and many other products from the heart of the desert. Both are examples of what the UAE has achieved. The UAE is working to increase yield improvement from new technology-enabled production by 30 percent this year, thereby dramatically reducing the energy requirements for food.”
Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, said, “The creation of crosscutting platforms for dialogue and cooperation such as this one can accelerate the renewables transition and maximise interlinkages, in this context translating into greater productivity and improved incomes across the agri-food chain while reducing human drudgery, food loss, and emissions.”
ADSW was chosen to host the Ministerial Meeting as the world’s largest annual sustainability event, typically attracting 45,000 delegates from more than 170 countries. Within the week, the IRENA Assembly is the world’s largest annual gathering of energy ministers.
Source: Emirates News Agency