Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan signs series of MoUs to activate UAE sustainability ecosystem ahead of COP28

Abu Dhabi, UAE – 19th January 2023: The UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators (UICCA) has completed a dynamic week of activities during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW). Across seven days of broad-ranging and diverse engagements that included expert topic-based workshops, high-level speaking engagements, summit panel discussions, and network and coalition building activities, UICCA has taken firm steps towards accelerating sustainability in the UAE.

Established in 2022, the UICCA operates as a think tank and accelerator committed to driving the nation’s transition to Net Zero by 2050 and beyond. During ADSW, UICCA signed several Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with distinguished global organisations which included the Atlantic Council, the US Chamber of Commerce, Convergence Blended Finance, and the Global Alliance for a Sustainable Planet (GASP). The four MoUs demonstrate the extent of UICCA’s ambition and approach, as well as its dual focus on policy and practice, all working to accelerate the transformation of the UAE towards a green economy.

Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, President & Chief Executive Officer of UICCA, commented: “The UICCA has been founded with the vision of connecting diverse actors across the sustainability ecosystem through informed policy recommendations and practical measures to enable the green economy. It works to contribute to global thought leadership, identify relevant sustainable policies and assess their adaptation to the UAE. More than just a think tank, we are focused on translating thought into action by working with public and private sector organisations to share best practices and build networks of collaboration. All of this has been in evidence during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and we look forward to working with all of our esteemed partners closely in the months and years to come.”

Through developing thought leadership on the topic of energy and sustainability diplomacy, UICCA’s MoU with Atlantic Council cements a long-term relationship between the organisations. The Atlantic Council aims to promote constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs, generating ideas and building communities to shape policies targeting global challenges. UICCA participated in the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum, and it was selected as the sole representative NGO on behalf of the UAE to join the Atlantic Council’s consortium of think tanks from countries belonging to the Net Zero Producers Forum, which will enhance efforts by these countriesto devise strategies to meet Net Zero ambitions.

Fred Kempe, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Atlantic Council, said: “The Atlantic Council is delighted to announce enhanced cooperation with UICCA, which will advance our shared goals of furthering climate and sustainability policy, uplifting the next generation of women leaders, and deepening ties between Washington and the United Arab Emirates.”

UICCA also entered into a partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce – the world’s largest business organisation – to engage US businesses in exploring the development of innovative solutions and green technologies. Under the MoU, UICCA will act as a bridge for US companies to help them enter and scale up operations across the Middle East using the UAE as a launchpad.

Marty Durbin, President of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute, said, “The business community is critical to developing and deploying the innovative technologies and systems that will help achieve our shared climate ambitions, so we are thrilled and honored to work with Her Highness Sheikha Shamma and the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators to identify innovators and companies who can lead the way. This partnership will not only deepen our overall bilateral economic relationship, it will also create meaningful opportunities for US companies to develop new relationships in the UAE and together help drive climate solutions.”

This goal of introducing innovative companies and sustainable practices in the MENA region was also a primary focus in UICCA’s MoU with Convergence, the global network for blended finance. This focuses on building a community of practice around mobilising finance for climate mitigation and adaptation in emerging markets. Blended finance is defined as the strategic use of catalytic capital from public or philanthropic sources to mobilise private capital for emerging and frontier markets in a way that brings positive results for both investors and communities. With Convergence, UICCA hosted three successful capacity-building workshops with the public sector, Sovereign Wealth Funds and private sector participants exploring how best to adapt blended finance for the region.

Joan M. Larrea, CEO of Convergence, said: “Our expertise in blended finance, combined with UICCA’s dedication to climate action and knowledge of the MENA region, make for a natural partnership in advancing blended finance as a tool for climate action and sustainable development in MENA and beyond. We are thrilled to be undertaking this new collaboration and look forward to breaking new ground for blended finance together.”

A key aspect of UICCA’s approach to sustainability is its holistic perspective on climate that views challenges as embedded in entire systems. This broad-based approach is shared by the Global Alliance for a Sustainable Planet (GASP), with which UICCA today signed an MoU. GASP is focused on incubating ideas with the systems-change potential to further climate and sustainable development goals. GASP catalyses virtuous partnerships amongst governments, international organisations, entrepreneurs, earth champions, and global investors to leverage private finance for the public good on a planetary scale. Satya S. Tripathi, Secretary-General of GASP, said, “It’s not the dearth of ideas or investments blocking the flow of climate finance into emerging economies, but the lack of solidarity in all stakeholders’ efforts. Bringing together the multilateral, private sector, government, and donor networks can generate innovative capital pools and create meaningful partnerships to deliver positive climate outcomes at the system scale. This MoU between GASP and UICCA will work towards catalysing pathbreaking solutions through empowered stakeholder coalitions  across communities, countries and continents.” 

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