Environmental Protection Should Be At The Core of Post-Covid Planning’ says H.E. Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Cabinet Member and Minister of Climate Change and Environment, UAE
H.E. Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Cabinet Member and Minister of Climate Change and Environment, UAE said that Covid-19 has triggered an economic downturn on a global scale and that all recovery plans must have environmental protection as a priority because climate change remains the most important existential threat to humanity. He was speaking at the virtual inaugural session of the 15th Sustainability Summit of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on 8 September 2020.
Dr Abdullah said that the pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the global supply chains, especially food supply, posing a risk to global food security. The UAE is, therefore, developing an integrated and sustainable food safety and security system using technology. In fact, the UAE Government is focussing on innovation and technological advancements to address environmental, societal and economic challenges, he added, specifically mentioning initiatives such as Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix from 25% to 50%, among other goals. He said India’s renewable energy journey has been truly impressive with the country pledging to generate 40% of its power from carbon-free sources by 2030 as part of its commitment to the Paris Agreement.
Recalling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s last visit to the UAE, he highlighted that UAE-India bilateral trade in 2018-19 stood at around US$ 60 billion and that there is increasing interest in investing in India in sectors such as renewable energy and food, even as more Indian companies look to invest in the UAE. Elaborating further, he said that at the 13th Session of the India-UAE joint commission meeting on trade, economic and technical cooperation held virtually, sectors such as infrastructure, logistics, food parks and renewable energy were identified and the UAE is keen to further strengthen linkages, especially in energy and food security, so that India and the UAE can build a sustainable future for the two countries as well as the world.
Bringing to light the importance of understanding the complex inter-relation between people, planet, and climate change, Mr Sanjiv Puri, Chairman and Managing Director, ITC Limited, and Chairman, Advisory Council of CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development, stated that there is a pressing need for governments, business and all sections of society to come together to address issues related to environmental degradation and social inequities to build a sustainable future for all.
Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry said there is a need to deepen our work and attention to sustainability in all economic activities to create a sustainable and resilient economy and promote inclusive growth.
The Sustainability Summit is the annual flagship event of the Confederation of Indian Industry in sustainability, launched in 2006 to raise the bar of dialogue, practice and performance of sustainable business. The ‘15th Sustainability Summit – Action Agenda for the Next Decade’ is designed to focus on shaping the coming decade, incorporating learning from Covid-19 and reflecting how the drivers of innovation, technology and systems thinking can help us build a more sustainable next decade.