NEW YORK, 24th September, 2023 (WAM) — Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, called upon global nations to leverage the significant opportunity offered by COP28 in the UAE to drive climate action, with a special focus on food systems transformation and promoting nature-based solutions.
This was during her high-level meetings on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
Almheiri, who is also the COP28 Food Systems Lead, underlined the importance of collective action to create more sustainable global food systems, highlighting the prominence placed by the UAE on food and agriculture in the COP28 agenda.
She also marked the UAE’s endorsement of the Mangrove Breakthrough and announced the Mangroves Ministerial to be hosted at COP28 on the Nature, Oceans and Land Use Day to drive forward discussions to advance nature-based solutions.
During her participation in the Ministerial Panel Discussion on the High Impact Initiative Food Systems, organised by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), she explained the importance of the COP28 Food Systems and Agriculture Agenda, which focuses on four key domains of country-led action, non-state actor leadership and action, innovation scaling, and finance.
Inviting all countries to exemplify national leadership by signing the first-ever Emirates Declaration on Food Systems, Agriculture and Climate Action, which was sent to all Agriculture Ministers for their feedback by September 27th.
Almheiri said the UAE’s goal is to further galvanise collective action to transform the food system
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 building resilience to climate change.
She said that as part of the Presidency’s Action Agenda, COP28 will mobilise robust action to drive implementation and advance the climate-nature agenda, and demonstrate practical, novel, and at-scale solutions that protect, restore, and sustainably manage critical land and ocean ecosystems – such as forests, mangroves, peatlands, and corals.
Endorsing the Mangrove Breakthrough, Almheiri said: “This collaborative effort between the Global Mangrove Alliance and the UN Climate Change High-level Champions has support from non-state actors and governments worldwide with one main goal: to restore and protect 15 million hectares of mangroves globally by 2030. 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 called on all nations to endorse the Mangrove Breakthrough and actively participate in the Mangrove Alliance for Climate (MAC). MAC, which is a partnership between the UAE and Indonesia, has attracted 20 partners to scale up and accelerate the conservation and restoration of mangrove ecosystems for the benefit of communities worldwide.
Speaking at the ‘Food+ Forum: Foreign Policy’, alongside Hon. Thomas Vilsack, Secretary, US Department of Agriculture, Almheiri reiterated the need to direct collective innovation and mobilise global finance to fight global hunger and create sustainable and equitable food systems.
She invited nations to join AIM for Climate, which the UAE co-leads with the USA. AIM for Climate, which boasts over 500 international partners, has 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. This is what the UAE Presidency is determined to bring to the fore at COP28 in just two months, creating a positive paradigm shift in our food systems.”
Throughout the week, Almheiri took part in a series of successful bilateral meetings. These included meetings with Vincent Van Quickenborne, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and the North Sea of Belgium; Svenja Schulze, Germany’s Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany; Steffi Lemke, Germany’s Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection; and Idit Silman, Israel’s Minister of Environmental Protection.
These bilateral meetings have been pivotal in fostering collaborations for climate action, recognising the shared commitment to tackling climate change head-on. These engagements also exemplified the UAE’s dedication to a sustainable future, where innovation, cooperation, and ambition pave the way for transformative action on the global stage.