With a strong call to accelerate implementation of the Paris Agreement, the first-ever Middle East and North Africa Climate Week, MENACW 2022, opened on March 28, stated in a press release by the UN's climate agency.
“This inaugural MENA Climate Week underscores our commitment to drive collective action to combat climate change regionally and globally. The event will explore key issues that shape climate response in this region, such as resilience against climate risks, transition to a low-emission economy and collaboration to solve pressing challenges," said Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment of the UAE.
MENACW 2022 is being held through March 31 and is hosted by the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in collaboration with the UN and other multilateral agencies.
In addition to hosting MENACW 2022, the UAE is the first MENA-region country to launch a plan for net-zero emissions by 2050, said the press release. The plan includes a $163 billion investment in renewable energy.
The UAE already boasts the largest single-site solar park in the world, which is projected to save over 6.5 million tons of carbon emissions each year.
Governments and stakeholders are gathering in person for the inaugural Climate Week in the MENA region following last November’s COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.
Decisions at COP26 give clarity on adapting to climate change, reducing emissions and the climate finance needed to achieve bold climate goals. A common set of guidelines was agreed to allow all nations to move forward together. This is especially important for the MENA region, a major energy producing region where temperatures are set to soar if climate change is left unchecked, said the press release.
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa recognized the host country for its ongoing climate leadership: “The Glasgow Climate Pact agreed at COP26 recognizes the powerful potential of regional collaboration to drive global progress. MENA Climate Week 2022 advances efforts to open opportunities in the transition to net-zero emissions and protect communities and economies against the worst impacts from climate change. Bringing together stakeholders to discuss regional solutions strengthens the global response to climate change,” she said.
There are three key areas in focus at MENACW 2022:
1. Integrating ambitious action across key economic sectors in national planning
2. Adapting to climate risks and building resilience into development strategies
3. Seizing transformational opportunities through technology innovation and breakthrough solutions
MENACW 2022 is also one of the first opportunities to carry regional momentum forward to COP27 in Egypt. The event encourages engagement with the UN’s Race to Zero and Race to Resilience campaigns and ensures that regional voices are part of the multilateral climate process.
Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, said that the Climate Week is set to bring countries and communities together on climate action. “As the world works towards COP27 in Egypt, this MENA Regional Climate Week will bring countries and communities together to drive forward the growing green recovery through the sharing of best practice on climate action in key areas such as climate finance, climate-smart agriculture, low-carbon mobility as well as innovative climate adaptation solutions,” said Steiner as per the press release.
MENACW 2022 is part of the Regional Climate Weeks 2022 series, with meetings scheduled in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific and Africa.
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