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The UAE has been a pioneer in climate adaptation, being one of the first countries in the region to implement a climate agenda with the launch of its UAE 2030 Green Agenda and National Climate Change Plan of the UAE 2017–2050.
Food security is a major concern in the region, as global food demand is expected to increase by 70% by 2050, while climate change disrupts agricultural production. Innovation is key to easing food insecurity, and the UAE is at the forefront of this effort.
With COP28 just around the corner, UAE Climate Change and Environment Minister Mariam Almheiri has called on global nations to leverage this opportunity to drive climate action, focusing on food systems transformation and nature-based solutions.
Speaking at the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, Almheiri stressed the importance of collective action to create a more sustainable global food system and highlighted the UAE’s commitment to nature-based solutions and their role in building resilience to climate change.
As the COP28 Food Systems Lead, Almheiri outlined the importance of the COP28 Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda, which focuses on four key domains: country-led action, non-state actor leadership and action, innovation scaling, and finance.
AlMheiri also highlighted the UAE’s endorsement of the Mangrove Breakthrough, a global initiative to restore and protect 15 million hectares of mangroves by 2030.
She announced the country’s plans to host the Mangroves Ministerial at COP28 on Nature, Oceans, and Land Use Day to advance nature-based solutions.
The minister spoke about the collaborative effort between the Global Mangrove Alliance and the UN Climate Change High-level Champions, calling on all nations to endorse the breakthrough.
“It is exactly these types of ambitious, accountable, and collaborative nature-based projects that can help the global community get back on track for the Paris Agreement goals by 2050,” She said.
She invited all countries to exemplify national leadership by signing the first-ever Emirates Declaration on Food Systems, Agriculture, and Climate Action.
Speaking at the High-Level event for ‘Nature and People (HAC): From Ambition to Action’, Almheiri reiterated the UAE’s commitment to nature-based solutions and their role in resilience to climate change.
She said COP28 will mobilize robust action to drive implementation, advance the climate-nature agenda, and demonstrate practical, novel, and at-scale solutions that protect, restore, and sustainably manage critical land and ocean ecosystems.
Almheiri urged nations to join forces to innovate and invest in sustainable food systems, highlighting the AIM for Climate initiative, which the UAE co-leads with the US, as an example of how countries can work together to address global hunger and climate change. AIM for Climate has already raised $13 billion in investment for climate-smart agriculture and food system innovation.
“The UAE believes that one of the most powerful ways COP28 can deliver is by securing equitable climate finance for developing nations. In turn, this enables us all to significantly improve the food system. Unlocking priorities at a country level could make a real and immediate difference to hundreds of millions of lives,” she said.
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