The United Arab Emirates’ Sustainable Trade Policies

The United Arab Emirates’ Sustainable Trade Policies

By Ashok Raman, 13 November 2023

The United Arab Emirates has emerged as a global leader in championing sustainability and demonstrating its unwavering commitment to net zero goals. The country has embarked on a transformative journey to mitigate climate change, reduce  greenhouse gas emissions, and foster a sustainable future across land and sea. There are several initiatives working towards sustainability and maritime development.

UAE National Climate Change Plan

The UAE has developed a comprehensive National Climate Change Plan aimed at addressing climate change challenges and transitioning towards a sustainable economy. The plan focuses on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable transportation, including maritime transport. In July 2023, the UAE updated its national climate pledge under the Paris Agreement to cut emissions by 40% by 2030, raising its target from 31%.

UAE Vision 2021

Outlines the country's long-term development goals, which include a strong emphasis on sustainability. The vision seeks to promote green growth, clean energy, and sustainable infrastructure, with a focus on reducing carbon emissions and improving
environmental performance across sectors, including the maritime industry.

UAE Green Agenda 

The agenda focuses on promoting sustainable practices, reducing carbon emissions, and preserving natural resources.

UAE Energy Strategy 2050

This is a first initiative of its kind, for any country in the Middle East and the strategy aims to increase the share of clean energy in the country's total energy mix. The strategy targets a 50% clean energy contribution, including renewables, by 2050. This includes significant investments in solar, wind, and nuclear power.

Initiatives by Dubai Maritime City Authority 

Launched several initiatives to enhance sustainability and maritime development in Dubai. This includes the Green Ship Certification Program, which promotes the adoption of environmentally friendly practices and technologies in ship operations, and
the Dubai Maritime Virtual Cluster (DMVC), aimed at fostering innovation and digitalization in the maritime sector.

Green Shipping Initiative

The initiative focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing energy efficiency, and implementing environmentally friendly technologies in ship operations.

Blue Economy Initiatives

The UAE is taking steps to develop a sustainable blue economy. This includes efforts to protect marine ecosystems, conserve biodiversity, promote sustainable fisheries, and support sustainable coastal and marine tourism.

Green Ports and Sustainable Port Operations

The UAE is investing in transforming its ports into green and sustainable hubs which includes implementing energyefficient technologies, using renewable energy sources for port operations, and adopting sustainable waste management practices. These efforts aim to reduce the carbon footprint of maritime activities and enhance the overall sustainability of port operations.

UAE Maritime Vision 2030

Maritime Vision 2030 emphasizes sustainability as a key pillar and aims to establish the UAE as a global maritime hub that adheres to the highest environmental standards.

In January 2023, the UAE signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the World Economic Forum to support its new TradeTech Initiative. The initiative aims to accelerate the digitisation of international supply chains, enhance customs  procedures, and improve developing countries’ access to the global trading system. There are four key components as a part of this initiative which include global forum to gather trade, industry, and technology leaders to share bestpractice; an annual research report into the TradeTech landscape; a regulatory sandbox to enable companies and start-ups to experiment with tradetech innovations; and an incubator for promising start-ups in the TradeTech space.

As recent as February 2023, the UAE launched two initiatives to support its drive to increase local clean energy capacity and uptake. These are UAE Geospatial Platform for Future Energy; and the Potential for Renewable Energy Storage Uptake report. The first one aims to track and measure the progress of implementing the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 while the second one is being developed jointly by the ministry with its strategic partners, to provide insights into the technical and economic potential of storage technologies in the UAE power grid.

There’s also the World Green Economy Summit (WGES), which is one of the leading global forums on the green economy. The WGES brings together world class experts to focus on four themes including decarbonizing energy systems, mobilizing investment for green growth, building resilience & sustainability into value chains for food security and empowering the youth to drive positive change.

The UAE is also hosting COP 28 in November and December 2023 and the President of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has declared 2023 as the ‘Year of Sustainability’ reflecting the nation’s commitment to promote sustainability. On the maritime front, the UAE, along with Canada, are the first to back maritime sector’s green fuel initiative, which is the Clean Energy Marine Hubs (CEMH) Initiative, which was unveiled by The International Chamber of Shipping and International Association of Ports and Harbors, along with the CEO-led Clean Energy Maritime Taskforce, in September 2022. The CEMH is envisaged as a public-private platform  between energy, maritime, shipping and finance communities.

The UAE has been at the forefro nt for pushing the sustainability agenda forward and with being the first country to announce an energy strategy, the nation is firmly committing to achieving sustainability goals. With the UAE positioned as a key maritime trade hub, it has recognized the importance of sustainable shipping and has implemented measures focused on clean fuels, energy efficient technologies and protecting the marine ecosystem.

Delve deeper into the UAE's groundbreaking initiatives in sustainable trade and energy. Read the full report here.

Related Report

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