Middle East Green Initiative: ‘pathbreaking Work’ To Protect The Planet

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The Middle East Green Initiative launch in Saudi
Arabia on Monday was hailed by the UN’s deputy chief as a
valuable commitment and strategic vision, to transition
regional economies away from unsustainable development, to a
model “fit for the challenges of the 21st
century”.

With only a few days until the
G20 Summit of leading industrialized nations in Rome,
followed immediately by the UN climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Deputy
Secretary-General Amina Mohammed lauded the new
initiative.

“It will not only help reduce emissions
from the oil and gas industry in the region but will also
create new carbon sinks and help restore and protect vast
swaths of land through afforestation”, she
said.

“It is now clear that the global economy is
irreversibly heading towards the deep decarbonization of all
sectors, from energy, to manufacturing, transport, and food
systems”.

‘Historic juncture’

Ms.
Mohammed echoed the Secretary-General’s warning that
global temperature rises greater than 1.5 degrees Celsius
above pre-industrial levels, would condemn the world’s
children to a “hellish future”.

We need
to urgently peak, reduce, and stabilize global greenhouse
gas emissions
to Net Zero by 2050” by cutting
global emissions by 2030 by 45 per cent, compared to 2010
levels, she said.

“Your leadership is needed more
than ever at this historic juncture”.

A region
exposed

Entire communities the world over, are
already being hurt by climate impacts, with the Middle East
and North Africa particularly vulnerable.

Exposed to a
range of systemic risks, such as desertification, food
insecurity, forced displacement and extreme heat waves,
without action the region will face 200 days of extreme
heat, and temperatures of 50°C, every year by the end of
the century, according to Ms. Mohammed.

“But the
region also has incredible assets to leverage, which could
make it a frontrunner for a post-carbon, resilient, and
inclusive economy”, she added.

Choose not to
fail

Everyone must act quickly for a fair net-zero
transition in all regions, especially those dependent on oil
and gas revenues, Ms. Mohammed said, spelling out: “In our
fight against climate change, failure is a choice, not a
certainty”.

While transitioning away from fossil
fuels will be “a challenge of epic proportions”,
requiring targeted support to those temporarily impacted,
she upheld that those investments “could yield innumerable
benefits in the long term”.

“Solidarity and
fairness are core principles that underpin the multilateral
regime” she said. “That is why I am pleased to see that
the Middle East Green Initiative is a regional and
cooperative approach to climate
action
”.

WMO/Romeo
Ibrišević

Socotra, largest of the Socotra
archipelago is part of Yemen, while the other three islands
are geographically part of Africa.

Make COP26 ‘a
turning point’

During COP26, the deputy UN chief
urged the leaders to be prepared to make it not only a
success, but a real turning point towards “a green,
resilient, and just transition”.

Against that
backdrop, she suggested that all countries update their
Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)
for increasingly ambitious climate actions that “bring us
closer to our collective emission reduction goal”
globally.

G20 countries, who are
responsible for up to 80 per cent of global emissions must
lead by example
”, said the UN official, asking
donors to allocate at least half of their climate finance to
adaptation.

“As shareholders of multilateral,
regional and national development banks and funds, you can
instruct your representatives at the Boards of these
institutions to work toward allocating 50 per cent of
climate finance to adaptation”, she
said.

Credibility ‘will be key’

Pointing
out that the Paris
Agreement
on climate change requires that all public and
private finance investment flows be aligned with the Sustainable
Development Goals
(SDGs),
she urged that private finance reach constituencies that are
“not always on their radar”, such as least developed
countries, small-developing islands and in general
vulnerable communities.

“And private finance
institutions…need to pass the credibility
test…[including] robust taxonomies and standards;
mandatory climate risk disclosure; and more transparency
across the board to ensure that all financial flows
contribute to keeping the 1.5C degree goal within reach”,
she said. “Credibility will be key”.

And top
executives in the private sector, should understand that
developing countries should not be saddled with
unsustainable levels of debt, forced to make “impossible
trade-offs to the detriment of their people and our
planet”.

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