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Green recovery a core priority for UAE in post-COVID-19 era

The UAE Circular Economy Council met recently for the first time since it was established in February 2021. Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, presided over the meeting.

The Council approved the formation of a joint committee of experts from all member entities to develop an implementation plan for the UAE Circular Economy Policy 2021-2031. Chaired by the Ministry of Economy, the committee will convene monthly to review the progress made.

In his opening remarks, Dr Al Nuaimi said: “The post-COVID-19 green recovery has become a core priority for the UAE. Incorporating circular economy principles in current and future strategies will support this priority. To guide efforts in this area, the UAE Circular Economy Policy 2021-2031 was approved earlier this year, and – once implemented – will serve as a general framework that identifies the optimal approach to support the transition to a circular economy in line with the objectives of the UAE Centennial 2071.”

Dr Al Nuaimi noted that the Council’s first meeting served as a springboard for aligning efforts in the adoption of the circular economy between the government and the private sector. He invited all council members to step up cooperation and help develop a plan that can ensure optimal implementation of the policy.

Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, said: “The UAE leads regionally and is one of the pioneer countries globally in driving the transition towards circular economy. There is now a great need to educate and train as many companies in the UAE as possible on various aspects of the circular economy, including opportunities, profitability, and sustainability.”

He added: “To achieve that, we will utilize our international partnerships with the World Economic Forum (WEF), signed in 2019, and with Intesa Sanpaolo Group, signed in 2020. Various educational and training programs will be launched in the coming months in cooperation with the private sector, and new international partnerships will be formed as we are closely following the latest technological and policy advancements in developed countries.”

Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, highlighted the need to adopt blockchain-enabled barcodes for food products to track their life cycle from cradle to cradle, and promote the use of AI in manufacturing to increase early detection of faults in production lines. He added that these measures will contribute to production optimization and product life extension.

Engineer Aisha Al Abdooli, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Green Development and Climate Change Sector at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, presented an overview of the Council’s responsibilities to the members. These included supervising the development of the policy’s implementation mechanism, monitoring the implementation policy and measuring progress, adapting federal and local government strategies to the policy requirements, promoting private sector participation in circular economy initiatives, conducting relevant research, and strengthening international cooperation.

Moreover, Al Abdooli outlined the main steps to implement the policy, such as improving the understanding of the circular economy concept, setting SMART goals, facilitating partnerships between businesses as well as between business and academia, designing technical and financial support schemes, and supporting circular economy innovations and procurement practices.

The agenda also featured a global update on the Scale360° initiative by Antonia Gawel, Head of Circular Economy and Innovation at WEF, and a presentation of best practices in circular economy in the private sector by Ibrahim Al-Zu’bi, Chief Sustainability Officer at Majid Al Futtaim Holding.

The UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) was established in February 2006 as the Ministry of Environment and Water. Under its redefined scope, the ministry has taken on a dual mandate.

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