By Binsal Abdulkader
ABU DHABI, 31st October, 2023 (WAM) — Canada and the UAE occupy quite similar positions as advanced societies with modern economies that contribute to green energy transition, Radha Krishna Panday, Ambassador of Canada to the UAE, told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
“So, there are Canadian and UAE entities working on projects in hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, and nuclear energy where I think we can achieve some really good things. Canada is very supportive of the UAE’s ambitions, and the dynamic role the UAE is playing in moving forward the climate agenda towards COP 28 [the UN Climate Conference to be held in Dubai in November].”
Common climate goals
In an exclusive interview with WAM at the Canadian Embassy in the capital, the envoy said there would be a very large Canadian delegation at COP28, perhaps upwards of 700 people, seeking to support and advance the climate agenda.
“We share the concerns and ambitions [of the UAE] with respect to things like climate finance,” he pointed out. Both countries support emerging economies to choose a green energy path for achieving their development goals, added Panday who came back to the UAE in November 2022 as the ambassador, after serving as the first Consul General of Canada in Dubai during 2009-2012.
Strong political ties, air connectivity
On the political bilateral relationship front, the ambassador expressed Canada’s satisfaction with the level of cooperation in areas such as defence and security, and policing.
“We are very keen on enhancing and taking advantage of initiatives like the renewed air transportation agreement, which facilitate an expansion in the level of direct air links between our two countries and provide tremendous opportunities for growth, mutual understanding and business opportunities.”
The number of daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and Toronto, has expanded, Panday noted. Emirates flies from Dubai to Montreal, and Air Canada will soon start flying from Vancouver to Dubai. This means three of the four largest and most important business and cultural hubs in Canada will have direct links to the UAE, which would also help boost tourist traffic and business links between both countries, he pointed out.
45,000 Canadians, cultural links
“We have one of the largest Canadian diaspora populations in the world.”
Of the 45,000 Canadian residents in the UAE, Panday said, most of them are living in Dubai, a significant number in Abu Dhabi, and rest of them are in other emirates.
“You can walk into a room with any number of nationalities, and I am almost guaranteed to have five people come up to say, ‘either I am a Canadian or my children are studying in Canada.’ That is really an impressive thing.”
Canadians are active all over the world, and the UAE is one of those places where they are most active, the ambassador emphasised.
An increasing number of Canadian performers and Canadian cultural groups are participating in UAE festivals and events, he noted.
Education is a major sector in Canada with over 100 universities and 200 colleges, the envoy pointed out.
There was 100 percent increase in number of study permit applications the embassy received in the last five years – from 2500 in 2017 to 5,000 in 2022, the diplomat revealed.
Canada is receiving a significant number of the 6,000 Emiratis destined for training abroad through the RizeUP (Khotwa) programme of Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK).
“We are also excited that there are a number of schools in the UAE that offer a Canadian curriculum from one of our provinces who are the leaders in education in Canada. So, I think that we are both benefiting as well as contributing to the UAE’s ambitions in the area of education.”