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General Assembly, Thematic debate entitled “Addressing climate change
14 February 2008 / 11:07



H.E. Ambassador Ahmed A. Al-Jarman
The Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations




Mr. President,

We have carefully read the report of the Secretary-General, which presents a broad overview of how the United Nations would contribute to addressing the climate change problem that threatens the safety and security of people all around the world.

In commending the efforts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to identify the best collective solutions for dealing with the global crisis, we reaffirm that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol are the most appropriate frameworks within which we can address the crisis on the basis of common but differentiated responsibilities and capabilities.

In that connection, my delegation associates itself with the statements made by the representative of Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and by the representative of Algeria on behalf of the Arab Group.

The United Arab Emirates appreciates the magnitude and seriousness of the challenges emerging from climate change and the threat it poses to the security and stability of peoples in many countries, especially the developing countries. Convinced that addressing those challenges requires a global partnership and effective cooperation among developed and developing countries, my country has willingly joined all regional and international conventions and protocols on the environment and sustainable development. We support the Road Map and Action Plan adopted at Bali in December 2007, which mainly call for negotiations among States parties, to be completed by 2009, leading to a convention on emissions reduction that can enter into force by the end of 2012. We hope that those negotiations will agree on a comprehensive post-Kyoto convention on emissions reduction that does not negatively impact the economies and development processes of the developing countries in general, and in particular the oil-producing and exporting countries, among which is the United Arab Emirates, whose economies depend primarily on fossil fuels.

The United Arab Emirates is one of the big oil-producing countries. Eager to ensure a continuous flow of energy to the world markets, my country continues to step up its efforts and initiatives in sponsoring and supporting international activities to find alternative sources of clean, safe and affordable energy and to deal effectively with the climate change crisis. Last month, we hosted the World Future Energy Summit with the participation of Government representatives, scientists, experts, researchers and specialists in environment and energy.

At the summit, the United Arab Emirates announced the launch of one of the largest-ever sustainable development programmes, with an initial investment of $15 billion in projects targeting solar, hydrogen and wind power and carbon reduction and management. It also announced the launch of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, awarding $2.2 million annually to honour individuals and organizations for their excellence in the innovation, development and implementation of sustainable energy solutions. Last Friday, we launched Masdar City, the world’s only zero-carbon, zero-waste, zero-car city, expected to be completed in 2016 with a population of 50,000. My country has also supported and contributed $150 million to the fund established by Saudi Arabia at the summit of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries last November, with a $750-million budget for research on the relationship between oil, the environment and climate change.

These initiatives and activities represent one of the many aspects of our national comprehensive strategy to protect the environment and deal with climate change without undermining development programmes in our country. A number of effective measures have been implemented in the areas of renewable energy, air pollution, combating desertification, increasing green areas and clean energy. We have enforced zero-emission policies in all activities related to the oil industries and mainstreamed the use of unleaded fuel in all transportation sectors. These efforts culminated in 2006 in the launching of the Masdar Initiative, which aims to establish a world centre for developing future solutions in sustainable energy through an integrated group of methods and means, including a network of research institutes specialized in energy and the maintenance of stability in world energy markets.

Last April, the United Arab Emirates announced adoption of a strategy that aims at achieving sustainable development in all sectors within the framework of general environmental standards in the country.
In conclusion, we renew our support for the role of the United Nations in meeting the challenges posed by climate change. We stress that it is necessary for the developed countries to shoulder their responsibilities towards this global crisis and to commit themselves during the coming negotiations to implement the recommendations set out in international conferences and conventions related to the environment and sustainable development, in particular, the UNFCCC and its Optional Protocol. We also call for providing the necessary support for developing countries and facilitating their access to new technologies so as to enhance their abilities to adapt, apply mitigation measures, and obtain clean and sustainable energy resources, all of which require that the funds and mechanisms established by the Kyoto Protocol operate in a transparent and just manner.

The United Arab Emirates will continue to cooperate with the international community in its collective efforts to reach proper solutions, nationally and internationally, for dealing with the negative impact of climate change.