Global Climate Change Adaptation Experts Revise Best Practices

22 Mar 2018

Heat stress and Vector-Borne diseases are increasingly climate change-related health concerns, said Director of the Climate Change Department at Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.

Engineer Fahad Mohammed Al Hammadi, mentioned that the UAE has made great progress in finalizing a UAE-specific climate change risk assessment framework, which contains five main criteria, with over-focus on the health sector at the current stage, followed by energy infrastructure and environment.

This came during the 2nd Global Adaptation Network Forum, which was recently held under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in partnership with Zayed University and the United Nations Environment Programme, to address some of the most pressing challenges for climate change adaptation, identify solutions, innovations, approaches and implementation strategies that will inspire, provoke and drive counties to maximize their ambitions for pre-2030 action.

“At the core of our Climate Plan, are the national clean energy targets of 27 percent by 2021, and 50 percent by 2050. We are working towards meeting these ambitious targets through the introduction of peaceful nuclear and renewable energy at scale,” Al Hammadi said.

He added that the UAE tremendously invests in transitioning to renewable energy, for which it brings further energy security, facilitates the development of new industries, create thousands of jobs, and bring environmental and health benefits through the reduction of harmful emissions.

The Vice-President of Zayed University, His Excellency Prof. Reyadh Almehaideb, said, “The UAE is as an important global actor in the sphere of climate change adaptation, and the local presentations from MASDAR, Zayed University, Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi and from other will show how UAE is adapting to the impacts of climate change and provide an opportunity to show how the technologies and solutions developed in UAE can be applied elsewhere in the world.”

He urged the need to mobilize and streamline knowledge among diverse actors to ensure effective adaptation reaches the sectors and communities. “Humans have adapted for centuries, but the speed at which climate change adaptation will soon be required and the demands on high-value infrastructure and vulnerable areas of decreasing biodiversity will stretch already weakened systems.”

His Excellency, Inia Seruiratu, Fiji Minister for Agriculture, Rural & Maritime Development, said that his country has invested over 50 million US dollars to establish the Fiji green bond, which was launched back in Oct 2017. “The project positively develops the domestic capital market as it expands the number of climate financing instruments available, and stimulates private sector investment that promotes sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.”

He mentioned that Fiji will also use bond proceeds to support the achievement of its current Nationally Determined Contribution target, which is 100 percent renewable energy and 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in the energy sector by 2030.

Barney Dickson, Head of Climate Change Adaptation Unit, UN Environment, said, “The impacts of climate change are becoming more apparent every day and adaptation is increasingly recognised as an urgent task. This Forum will identify some of the most effective technologies and solutions, building on the experience of the Gulf region.”

For his part, Hiroshi Ono, Deputy Director-General for Global Environmental Affairs, Ministry of Environment, Japan, said that the ministry has established a Climate Change Adaptation Platform (A-PLAT) to provide scientific data and information in order to support adaptation measure at a local level, with a view to further strengthening adaptation efforts.

“Japan has been supporting vulnerable developing countries in climate change impact assessment and adaptation efforts. In addition, Japan aims to establish the Asia-Pacific Adaptive Information Platform (AP-PLAT) by 2020 as an information infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific Region in order to facilitate the implementation of the Paris Agreement.”

Dr Fares Hawari, Dean of the College of Natural and Human Sciences, Zayed University, indicated the impact of the forum on students development and awareness growth, “The conference provides an excellent opportunity for ZU faculty, working on climate change and adaptation related issues to participate and gain knowledge from best international practices which shall be portrayed to our students.”

“The conference will put ZU in the spotlight as an important contributor to the UAE climate change and adaptation agenda, which strengthens its position as one of the leading universities in the region and thus contributes towards the visions and missions of the UAE,” he said.

The conference focused on four themes, starting by ‘From the Gulf to the World,’ which examines the specific adaptation challenges facing Gulf States and the solutions and technologies that are being developed in the region. ‘Adaptation Metrics’ on how to measure and assess different aspects to assess progress towards becoming climate resilient, were also presented.

It also addressed the ‘Adaptation Learning,’ which investigates the different ways of developing, sharing and applying adaptation knowledge.

The two-day event focused on ‘Reaching the most vulnerable’ as it is widely recognized that adaptation policy and practice must reach the most vulnerable in society. This theme considered the risks faced by vulnerable groups and communities and highlighted actions needed to address those risks more effectively.