Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week closes with renewed momentum to drive higher ambition on climate and nature

By Climate Champions | January 19, 2023

UN Climate Change High-Level Champions for COP27 and COP28, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin and Her Excellency Ms. Razan Al Mubarak utilized Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) to build on progress made at COP27 within the non-state actor (NSA) community.

Together, they met with a wide range of partners to discuss opportunities and priorities for the year ahead, and to set out their joint vision for spearheading even greater ambitious action ahead of and at COP28.

In her first public appearance as High-Level Champion, Ms. Al Mubarak reinforced the importance of nature in combating climate change, especially the role of financing nature-based solutions (NBs) in advancing the net zero agenda.

During the opening panel event of the ADSW Summit, The Road to COP28, Ms. Al Mubarak, joined by the Presidents of COP21 and COP 27, as well as the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, said: “Nature provides one third of the mitigation solution to achieve a 1.5C pathway. With the support of Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, I will be pushing the nature button and bringing the climate change and biodiversity agendas together where they belong.”

Ms. Al Mubarak also underlined her commitment to continuing to build on the work of leading NSAs, previous High-Level Champions and core campaigns and initiatives, including Race to Zero and Race to Resilience and the Sharm-El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda.

At a side event of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly to announce a USD 1 billion COP28 clean energy initiative, Ms. Al Mubarak emphasised the need for all climate action to be just and inclusive saying: “I hope to drive collaboration and partnerships between all those around the world invested in making an impact in climate action. I look to those in civil society, the private sector, academia, and across women’s organisations, youth and indigenous peoples to guide my work.”

The issue of climate finance was also a dominant topic of conversation. At the opening plenary of The Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum Dr. Mohieldin said: “Mobilisation of climate finance needs to be at the local, regional and global levels. Last year, we released an extended compendium comprising 128 projects in need of USD 128 billion. This provides the basis for a project pipeline, with projects across mitigation and adaptation, rooted in NDCs and regional priorities.”

Building on this success, the Climate Champions will support efforts to continue to bring financiers and project proponents together to advance the development of these projects and their subsequent implementation.

During the week, Dr. Mohieldin also emphasised the need to address the current debt burden of many developing countries working to transition to net zero. He used his participation at ‘‘The Energy Transition Accelerator Financing (ETAF) Platform’, the ‘Youth 4 Sustainability Forum’ and a conversation on the power of public-private commitments to note that 60% of the poorest economies are currently either in debt distress or at high risk of it.

Speaking at the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI) event, Dr. Mohieldin outlined how a global market for carbon that establishes carbon credits as a legitimate source of value could be a gamechanger for countries looking to finance climate-change mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

The success and importance of public-private partnerships was also reinforced by the announcement that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will partner with The Breakthrough Agenda, to deliver actions agreed at COP27.

These include further steps to decarbonise power and transport; plans to develop new investments in green steel, scale up low-emission hydrogen production and shift to sustainable agriculture by COP28.

The Breakthrough Agenda, initiated by the UK COP Presidency builds on the work of the Race to Zero and the UN Climate Change High Level Champions to accelerate decarbonization of five major high-emitting sectors.

The High-Level Champions look forward to continue supporting and amplifying the work of all non-state actors in 2023, driving greater alignment with governments and using their partnership and platform to accelerate ambitious climate action as we embark on the journey to COP 28.


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