The Sustainable Development Goals in United Arab Emirates
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in the United Arab Emirates:
14 November 2022
Youth-Led Climate Action in the UAE
“Resistance becomes easier when it is rooted within the community”. As the 20-year-old climate justice activist Ayshka Najib strives to fight the climate crisis, she is encouraged by the many youth-led climate advocacy initiatives and campaigns that have started to gain momentum. “Collective action is the key to solving our crisis, so I encourage everyone to take a step forward and join this global movement”. This is Hoor Alrais’ call to action for her generation. As a young climate justice advocate, she passionately urges youth to help make a change and to be an inspiration. We are at a defining moment for our planet, as there is no place on the globe that is immune to the impact of climate change. Climate change also has profound impacts on a wide variety of human rights, including the rights to life, self-determination, development, food, health, water and sanitation, and housing. Humanity, however, is not powerless in the face of this global threat. It is certain there is dire need for change. But not all change has to start off in big manners. Even the smallest of efforts can alter how the future will be. Hoor started off her climate advocacy mission by taking part in a local clean-up within her community, but she felt that she could do more. She was motivated by the unity and drive of her fellow volunteers. The importance of individual and collective action grew clear to her. From then on, she made it her mission to be one with nature and raise awareness on the threats of climate change. Her efforts to protect the environment, led her to being named one of the UAE Nature Ambassadors. She has also represented the UAE in international conferences and conventions advocating for a better future for her generation. Similarly, Ayshka believes that she, as an individual has a responsibility towards her society. She implements her vision of a better world through her work with the UNICEF Gulf Area Office, in the capacity-building of young people in the UAE and the MENA region on climate change. While further noticing that climate change isn’t gender neutral and disproportionally affects marginalized groups of people, in 2021 she joined the UN Women and the Generation Equality Campaign. Working as the youth lead on the Feminist Action for Climate Justice Action Coalition to push for recognizing the intersectionality of gender equality and climate justice in decision making spaces as well as at the grassroots level. From representing the UAE in mock COP (Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC) sessions, to being a delegate for UN Women at the Vienna Café sessions, Ayshka has shown great determination and has become an inspiration for her peers: “With God’s will, we shall continue to work to protect our environment and our wildlife, as did our forefathers before us”. She is particularly inspired by UAE’ founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a sustainability pioneer in his own right who tackled environmental issues with admirable foresight. With the approach of COP27, hosted by Egypt in 2022, and COP28, hosted by the UAE in 2023, both of these young activists have high hopes and ambitions for the path ahead. Ayshka hopes to advocate on two main fronts as COP27 takes place in Egypt this November. Firstly, mainstreaming a gender perspective when addressing climate change, adaptation, and disaster risk reduction. Her second, but not less important priority, is the mainstreaming of youth participation and intergenerational equity in policy development and implementation. On the other hand, Hoor’s aspiration for COP27 is to come out with action-oriented solutions and facilitate it as a place to inspire young people, where they can lead the climate movement. Every step matters, and every voice counts. Our communities need more young people like Hoor and Ayshka, who are tirelessly advocating to help make our future greener, more equitable, and more prosperous. The commitment of the UAE in raising voices of the youth and giving everyone equal opportunities in the field is remarkable, as are their ambitions and strategic efforts to tackle the climate crisis. They have notably pledged to become the first MENA country to reach net zero by 2050. The Emirates has also facilitated youth-inclusive spaces across the nation, such as consultations and youth networks. In return, young people have become part of this change. With the presence of over thirty agencies, funds and programmes, the United Nations in the UAE is continuously striving to involve young people and provide them with the platform to let their voices be heard. “We believe it is always important to engage with all stakeholders and share best practices, lessons learned, and common challenges through different platforms, formats, and channels.”, said Dr Dena Assaf, United Nations Resident Coordinator for the United Arab Emirates, urging people to take action to save humanity; “if we don’t take care of our habitat, we will become extinct”. Every step matters, and every voice counts. Our communities need more young people like Hoor and Ayshka, who are tirelessly advocating to help make our future greener, more equitable, and more prosperous.
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07 November 2023
UNHCR Press Release: In Kenya, COP28 delegation highlights the impact of climate change on displaced communities
Representatives of the World Food Program, Emirates Red Crescent, and Intergovernmental Authority on Development joined the high-level delegation on the UNHCR-organized field visit, which highlighted the impact of climate change on refugees and host communities. Across the region, climate impacts continue to exacerbate the challenges vulnerable populations face with the combination of conflict and drought severely affecting their search for safety and basic necessities such as food, water, and a means to survive. “Forced displacement in this region has primarily been addressed from its conflict dimension. Yet, displacement in this region must take into consideration extreme weather events such as the recurrent droughts which science attributes to climate change which, combined with conflict, are the main causes of displacement,” said UNHCR’s Mazou. He added, “We must act now to ensure that the most vulnerable, who are often those who contribute the least to the problem yet bear the highest cost, are not left alone in their daily struggle and have their voices heard.” COP28’s Al Suwaidi reflected on the visit and said, “The Dadaab Refugee Complex, which is one of the largest refugee settlements in the world, is a striking example of the urgent and interconnected challenges the world faces.” He added, “Unpredictable weather patterns and the devastating Horn of Africa droughts have disrupted communities and livelihoods.” He elaborated: “We see how peace and stability can become compromised when resources grow scarce, and tensions rise. The stories I have heard from refugees and host communities in Dadaab are a stark reminder of why we must continue to drive equitable and just climate action that leaves no one behind.” The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) will take place in Dubai, UAE, from 30 November until 12 December 2023. This year's climate summit will dedicate a day to Relief, Recovery, and Peace as part of its two-week thematic agenda to explore ways to relieve vulnerable communities while strengthening resilience and recovery. The COP28 Presidency and partners are working to bring together political commitment, policy reform, capacity strengthening, and programmatic initiatives to scale finance and action for fragile communities. A key focus of COP28’s action plan is to place people, lives, and livelihoods at the heart of climate action, with a focus on fast-tracking a just, orderly, and equitable energy transition, enhancing climate finance, and mobilizing action for what is planned to be the most inclusive COP. Kenya continues to be among the top refugee-hosting countries in Africa and is heavily impacted by regional spillover factors. It hosts more than 630,000 refugees, mainly in Dadaab and Kakuma. The country has witnessed increased movement waves due to intensifying climate shocks, contributing to food insecurity, tensions, and cycles of conflict in neighboring countries. In the Horn of Africa, while rain finally returned in May, the effects of a severe drought, the worst in decades, continue to impact the lives of millions of displaced and local communities in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. While a rapid scale-up of humanitarian assistance since early 2022 undoubtedly saved many lives, funding constraints continue to risk reversing gains made. END See UNHCR’s Regional Drought Appeal for Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Khaled Kabbara Communications Officer- GCC Countries +971 50 641 0868 email@example.com Kathryn Porteous Communication Officer – UNHCR Kenya +254 797 184 298 firstname.lastname@example.org Faith Kasina Regional Spokesperson for the East, Horn of Africa, and Great Lakes Region +254 113 427 094 email@example.com This press release is originally published by the UN Refugee Agency- UNHCR.
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08 November 2023
MoCCAE promotes innovation in food systems, agriculture in cooperation with World Food Programme, Food Tech Valley
The MoU was signed during the UAE year of sustainability and as part of the Ministry’s preparations for the Conference of the Parties COP28 hosted in Dubai later this year. The agreement highlights the commitment of the Ministry to strengthen UAE food systems and agriculture, and to keep pace with the latest developments and technologies across the food value chain to achieve the objectives of the UAE National Food Security Strategy. The agreement was signed at the Ministry’s headquarters in Dubai by Mohammed Saeed Al Nuaimi, Acting Undersecretary of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment; Hesham Al Qassim, Vice Chairman Chief Executive Officer at Wasl , the company responsible for managing and developing Food Tech Valley; Abdel Mageed Yahia, the Director of the United Nations World Food Programme Office in the United Arab Emirates and WFP’s Representative to the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries; along with officials from the signatory parties. Al Nuaimi stressed the keenness of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to cooperate with the other parties to implement the objectives of the National Food Security Strategy to develop sustainable local production and promote smart technologies in food production. He added, "Our collaboration with WFP and their Innovation Accelerator and the Food Tech Valley aims to exchange expertise and experiences that support the application of advanced solutions to manage the entire food system in the country. This is in order to achieve various nutritional, environmental and climate goals. Modern food systems represent a major pillar in our endeavours to enhance national food security. We aim to share our experience with the world, during COP28. The UAE encourages countries to sign the ‘Emirates Declaration on Resilient Food Systems, Sustainable Agriculture, and Climate Action’ to eliminate world hunger.” He concluded, "We are pleased with the continued cooperation with the World Food Programme and Food Tech Valley, and we look forward to strengthening this partnership to serve all our mutual goals." Hesham Al Qassim said, “Food security is one of the UAE’s strategic goals for the future of the country. Innovation and technology will help pave the way to achieve these goals, and solve some of the world’s greatest challenges, while food security can pave the path to peace, progress, and stability. We strive to deliver this positive impact at scale alongside the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and the United Nations World Food Program, the world’s largest humanitarian organization. Our mission to create resilient food systems has been strengthened by this powerful and strategic partnership, and we look forward to future collaboration to address food security locally, regionally, and globally”. Abdel Mageed Yahia said, “WFP is delighted to partner with both the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and Food Tech Valley to create real and lasting impact on global food systems through the transformative power of innovation. WFP brings a rich history of using innovation in fragile contexts spanning over six decades, from pioneering humanitarian airlifts to scaling up cutting-edge technologies that improve program delivery and empowering local innovators to create local solutions throughout our operations. With WFP’s global outreach and the specialised expertise of our Innovation Accelerator under the leadership of Bernhard Kowatsch, WFP’s specialised team that fosters and scales innovative solutions to real humanitarian and development problems, combined with the vision of the Ministry and the expertise of the Food Tech Valley, we can catalyse a revolutionary transformation in food systems, for more resilient and sustainable livelihoods. As per the MoU, the three parties will explore ways of cooperation to exchange information on key innovative initiatives and related opportunities that advance the shared priorities of MOCCAE, Food Tech Valley, and the WFP’s Innovation Accelerator. The three parties also agreed to share innovations that power the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. For WFP, the agreement will explore opportunities to benefit from innovative practices, tools and technologies supported by Food Tech Valley, and strengthening strategic cooperation. Bernhard Kowatsch, Head of WFP Innovation Accelerator, said, “This collaboration between the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Food Tech Valley, and WFP will allow us to even further level-up ground-breaking solutions in the climate and food security space. WFP’s Innovation Accelerator will be a ready contributor to this work. I’m excited about how we can take WFP’s existing innovation work, supporting over 150 innovations and reaching 37 million people worldwide, combined with the Food Tech Valley and the Ministry to maximise the enablement and nurturing of water-smart and food systems innovations around the world.” The agreement aims to mobilise funds and resources for the implementation of activities. It also seeks to undertake studies, provide training, conduct boot camps, research, seminars, workshops, meetings, conferences, and symposia for the exchange experiences and other information that impact UAE, regional and global food security concerns. The memorandum also focuses on cooperation to pioneer innovative solutions that address food security challenges and to collaborate in the undertaking of effective projects to address these challenges. Additionally, it aims to contribute to the UAE 2050 agenda and COP28 commitments to global sustainability. This press release is originally shared by the Emirates News Agency.
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24 May 2023
2022 Annual Results Report
While leveraging a broad scope of mandates from the United Nations entities working in and with the UAE, the year 2022 presented new opportunities for the UN Country Team to strengthen its long-standing partnership and engagements in the country. This report highlights the achievements and contributions of the United Nations in its joint work with the UAE through its high-level policy advice, technical advisory support, regional and national programmes, and humanitarian outreach.
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12 January 2023
UN in UAE Working Together as One
Marking the UN’s 77 years of humanity, and over 51 years of strategic partnership with the UAE, “ONE UN in UAE” is a digital campaign launched to highlight the collective role of the United Nations, working together to achieve common goals in and with the UAE. The UN in the UAE is working hand in hand for a better future, with over 30 UN agencies covering the UAE. The UN in the UAE’s work spans across various areas and sectors, with all UN agencies progressing towards a better future through their collective efforts. For the past 51 years, the UN agencies in the UAE have all left their mark by providing the needed voice for cultural and educational advancements, children and women rights advocacy, as well as international reach to neighboring countries and across the globe especially during emergencies and humanitarian crises. The largest World Food Programme’s (WFP) logistics hub globally is in Dubai. Similarly, the World Health Organization (WHO) can reach all 6 regions from the UAE, with its fast response and strategic location. The work of the UN agencies in the UAE covers many fields, from humanitarian, education, biodiversity, climate action, tourism, technology and even cultural, while keeping the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the heart of their work. The video sheds light on some of the educational and cultural efforts by UNESCO and UNICEF, while achieving their national priorities. While other UN agencies such as UNFPA and UNHCR, focus their efforts on leaving no one behind. With a focus on gender equality, UN Women and World Trade Organization are also empowering more women into their portfolios and programs. Aligning with the countries sustainability efforts and environmental policies, the preservation of native species such as the dugongs and integrating technologies in agriculture for food security are important to the work of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Recognizing the power of partnerships, the UN Global Compact convenes the private sector to deliver on their sustainability business targets through the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, with over 17,000 companies across 165 countries and with a local network in UAE. Similarly, the work of the United Nations cannot be achieved without the help of its motivated and committed young volunteers, which is how the UN Volunteers extends its support to the UN system, making sure to integrate young talents with the collective work of the UN whenever needed. The work of the UN agencies in the UAE is carried out with dedication and passion towards helping the world become a better place. To know more about the UN agencies, work and progress in the UAE, watch the video series and hear directly from UN staff members who share about their work and experiences here.
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