SDG 13: CLIMATE ACTION

The UAE government places climate change at the top of the government’s list of policy priorities, evident from the establishment of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) in 2016. Similar to all countries, the UAE is prone to the impacts of climate change if left unmanaged; ranging from increased numbers of extreme weather events, sea level rises, and indirectly, disruptions in food supplies due to other countries’ vulnerability to climate change. For all those reasons, MOCCAE is leading the way by proposing legislations, plans, strategies and policies to mitigate the impact of climate change in the UAE. In addition, MOCCAE actively engages in international climate change negotiations through close coordination with all concerned stakeholders to address global climate challenges.

Policies and Initiatives

Launch of ‘The Climate Project’ (2018), in cooperation with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the International Renewable Energy Agency, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Antigua & Barbuda and the renowned actor, Robert De Niro. The initiative intends to raise awareness on climate change and the importance of climate resilience, underpinned by a standard to mainstream the consideration of climate resilience in the UAE’s foreign development assistance, and will cover the entire AED 18.35 billion (USD 5 billion) UAE aid portfolio

Launch of the ‘Climate Innovation Exchange Forum’ (CLIX) at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (2018) to facilitate the sourcing and funding of climate change solutions and technologies through partnerships with youth, entrepreneurs, innovators and investors

Adoption of the National Climate Change Plan 2050 by the UAE Cabinet (2017). The plan is a comprehensive framework to support the transition to a climate resilient green economy, while managing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing climate adaptation capabilities, and engaging private sector and other stakeholders to support the mitigation and adaptation efforts of the government

Launch of the ‘National Climate Adaptation Program’ (2017), to assess the climate adaptation potential of four key sectors (health, energy, infrastructure and environment) and outline the direct and indirect climate related risks and the existing or possible actionable solutions for adaptation to be further implemented. Subsequently, in order to facilitate climate action to all relevant UAE stakeholders, the plan to develop a climate change law was announced at the UAE Annual Government Meeting (2018)

Challenges

Climate science expertise is a common challenge for all countries, yet fundamental to ensure that effective policies are devised and adaptive capabilities are enhanced. To this end, MOCCAE is working with relevant UAE research institutions to enhance region specific climate modeling¨ building on existing work such as those conducted by the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI). Similarly, socio-economic impacts of climate change are also being researched for informed decision-making.


In an exciting and innovative extension to its existing transfer arrangements with the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), Canadian University Dubai (CUD) has signed an agreement that will enable students in the UAE to complete a unique dual degree program combining environmental studies and climate change.

The agreement, which was signed recently by CUD Chancellor, Mr. Buti Saeed Al Ghandi, and President and Vice Chancellor of UPEI, Dr. Alaa Abd El-Aziz, allows students to undertake two years’ study in CUD’s Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health Management program and then transfer to Canada where they can complete their studies in environment and climate change at UPEI. The student can also finish their degree in Dubai and graduate with a dual recognition.

Canadian University Dubai Partners with University of Prince Edward Island to offer Unique Dual Degree Program in Environment and Climate Change

This new collaboration will further cement CUD’s ties with the Maritime Province’s premier higher education institution and lays the foundations for the development of a co-degree combining environmental studies, environmental sciences and climate change, which students could complete either in Dubai or in Canada.

Established in 1969, UPEI has developed a growing reputation as a leader in education, research, innovation and academic excellence. The institution is among several Universities in Canada that hold a general partnership agreement with CUD, providing for a range of different collaboration opportunities, including student transfer and further education.

The initiative will also advance CUD’s strategic approach to supporting the UAE National Climate Change Plan, which calls for the reorientation and upgrading of higher education curricula to prepare the future workforce for the green economy.

On signing the agreement, CUD Chancellor, Mr. Buti Saeed Al Ghandi, said that at a time when climate change was a major issue for our world, the introduction of this innovative UPEI program to the University’s existing Environmental Studies portfolio would offer students an exciting new career pathway and enhance CUD’s reputation as an institution committed to providing relevant educational opportunities for society in the 21st Century.

Speaking after the ceremony, Dr. Alaa said this agreement was a wonderful opportunity for Dubai students to come to Canada and experience the welcoming atmosphere of a Canadian Institution, where they would immediately feel at home. Reflecting on his own experience of CUD, where he is always warmly received, he added that students from Canada who wished to study at CUD would feel the same.


Dr. Rami El Khatib, Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at Canadian University Dubai (CUD) had been discussing the issues associated with global climate change at a recent conference hosted by the North American International School.

Under the theme ‘Change Climate Change – Road to Marrakech Conference’ Dr. El Khatib delivered a keynote speech at the youth-focused event, which was organized by Green Hope UAE. He was also called upon to join the judging panel for the environmental competitions that took place alongside the Conference.

The event was organized in the run up to the 22nd session of the United Nations Conference of the Parties, which will take place in November in Marrakech, with the aim of addressing issues of global climate change. Bringing together students from schools across Dubai, it aimed to unite young people in developing a shared vision for a sustainable future.

Dr. El Khatib said, “The consequences of climate change have a direct impact on the future of young people and therefore it is important to engage them from an early age in developing solutions and implementing action that will help to mitigate the effect of this global challenge.”

In collaboration with The London School of Economics & Political Science.

Climate change poses major risks for Gulf countries, potentially affecting their food security, water processing, and public health to an alarming extent, in a region where temperatures are already critically high. These countries have been undergoing an exponential economic and population growth, accompanied by a sustained growth in Greenhouse Gas emissions. To curb climate change, besides switching towards an energy mix with less fossil fuels, it is urgent to foster low-carbon lifestyles amongst the residents: for instance, in terms of transportation and energy consumption.

Dr Aseel Takshe, Assistant Professor and Head of the Environmental Health Sciences Department and Dr David Contu, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Management, were two Canadian University Dubai faculty members on this important project. The project aims to find and assess measures that could help make climate change mitigation measures more acceptable in the Gulf region. To this end, a central part of the investigation is to contribute to understanding what drives behaviours (what people do) and attitudes (what people think) around climate change. The project will focus on the following countries: United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. The study will include collecting qualitative data using focus groups to inform the subsequent preparation of the online surveys to be administered across the three countries, producing a rich and unique dataset. Findings and recommendations will be shared in the form of publications and seminars.

The project forms part of the Academic Collaboration with Arab Universities Programme, funded by the Emirates Foundation.

To find out more: https://www.lse.ac.uk/middle-east-centre/research/collaboration-programme/2020-21/susana-mourato


Dr. Yassen Alfoteih, Assistant Professor in the School of Environment and Health Sciences at Canadian University Dubai (CUD), has been enlightening viewers of local television network, Dubai TV, on the emerging issues surrounding global warming and climate change.

Dr. Alfoteih was called upon to provide his expert insights into the possible reasons behind the unexpected rise in temperatures occurring around the world, and to discuss the key trends that he believes are bringing about such dramatic changes in the global environment.

Part of a special feature that also looked at some of the impacts of climate change on the physical environment, this was Dr. Alfoteih’s first interview in a series of programs, for which he has been invited to discuss different topics affecting health and the environment in the modern world.

In this initial discussion, Dr. Alfoteih spoke about the effects of human activity, or ‘anthropogenic’ activity, and how it increases both greenhouse gases and the possibility of the global warming phenomenon, as well as discussing the impact of some solar behaviour, which can result in huge energy releases from the sun.

Click here to watch Dr. Alfoteih’s full interview, screened on Dubai TV.

Students from Canadian University Dubai (CUD) got the chance to accompany His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, on a two-hour educational tour during their recent field trip to Emirates Bio Farm in Al Ain.

Organized by Dr. Rami El Khatib, Associate Professor and Dean of Student Affairs, the field trip aimed to introduce senior students from CUD’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences to the principles of organic farming and the best practices in agriculture and integrated pest management, with a focus on maintaining a clean environment and preserving biodiversity.

Visiting the facility at the same time, His Excellency Dr. Thani and his team interacted with CUD students while they observed the various growing and harvesting activities taking place across the farm. Speaking about the experience, Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health Management student, Shaikha Mohammed, said, “This visit revealed to me why bio farming is so important, not just from an environmental perspective, but also in terms of food safety and health.

“We learned about the practices followed in greenhouses, while having the opportunity to harvest different organic vegetables and fruits. It was a great honor for us to accompany His Excellency Dr. Thani during the tour as he shared his own personal insights and experiences with us, and encouraged us to pursue research that will help to promote the UAE bio farming industry.”

Dr. Rami El Khatib, Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, concluded, “We are privileged to have so many facilities in the UAE that are at the forefront of their industry in the environmental and health sciences, as well as a Ministry that is actively supporting this progressive work. We are very grateful to His Excellency Dr. Thani for sharing his knowledge and adding great value to the students’ learning experience during our visit.”

Under the patronage of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, presided by His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, the Canadian University Dubai (CUD) in association with the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), Canada, hosted the “Conference on Global Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities”. Held from April 23 - 25, the 3-day event examined the challenges and opportunities for integrating the three key issues of global climate change, biodiversity and sustainability in the MENA region.

The conference featured renowned international and local climate change experts, conservationists and academics. Among the keynote speakers were Dr. Francisco Dallmeier, Senior Conservation Biologist, Director of the Smithsonian Center for Conservation and Sustainability; Dr. Daniel Scott, Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo who praised the UAE for its innovation and positive response to the issues of climate change; Dr. Adam Fenech, Nobel Laureate and Director, Climate Research Lab, UPEI, Leanne Bilodeau, Associate Director Sustainability Operations, The University of British Columbia, and Mashael Al Ansari, Climate Change Specialist at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.

“We are innovating to strengthen our existing industries and make the transition into a low-carbon, climate resilient economy, in line with the country’s objective to diversify its economy,” said His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi in his welcoming remarks highlighting climate change opportunities and challenges in the UAE. “All sectors are working towards implementing those national priorities under the National Climate Change Plan 2017-2050 launched last year,” he said.

The Minister noted that the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is currently focusing on addressing climate change impacts on the health sector as part of its climate change adaptation efforts, where other priority sectors include energy, infrastructure and the environment. He pointed out that globally the health sector is yet to be monitored extensively from a climate change point of view, although heat stress and other diseases are likely to be exacerbated by climate change. Other areas highlighted include the impact of climate change on biodiversity, which is expected to result in changes in the distribution patterns of species and ecosystems, and hence the efforts of the UAE toward biodiversity conservation.

His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi also called for greater cooperation among the public sector, private sector and academia as well as international organizations in addressing climate change. He said, “I welcome this Conference held in Dubai as an important contribution to building the capacity of UAE stakeholders to advance our climate action efforts under the National Climate Change Plan.”

While delivering the welcome address, Mr. Buti Saeed Al Ghandi, Chancellor of CUD, hailed the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment as a key driver for enhancing the UAE’s efforts in addressing the threats of climate change, through the implementation of comprehensive policies and initiatives to adapt and mitigate climate change impacts.

He also praised the conference co-host, the UPEI, and announced that CUD would be launching programs in climate change and environment in association with the well-known Canadian university.

On the sidelines of the conference, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Dr Karim Chelli, President of CUD, and Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, President of UPEI, to implement joint initiatives concerning environmental issues.


Canadian University Dubai Partners with University of Prince Edward Island to offer Unique Dual Degree Program in Environment and Climate Change

In an exciting and innovative extension to its existing transfer arrangements with the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), Canadian University Dubai (CUD) has signed an agreement that will enable students in the UAE to complete a unique dual degree program combining environmental studies and climate change.

The agreement, which was signed recently by CUD Chancellor, Mr. Buti Saeed Al Ghandi, and President and Vice Chancellor of UPEI, Dr. Alaa Abd El-Aziz, allows students to undertake two years’ study in CUD’s Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health Management program and then transfer to Canada where they can complete their studies in environment and climate change at UPEI. The student can also finish their degree in Dubai and graduate with a dual recognition.

This new collaboration will further cement CUD’s ties with the Maritime Province’s premier higher education institution and lays the foundations for the development of a co-degree combining environmental studies, environmental sciences and climate change, which students could complete either in Dubai or in Canada.

Established in 1969, UPEI has developed a growing reputation as a leader in education, research, innovation and academic excellence. The institution is among several Universities in Canada that hold a general partnership agreement with CUD, providing for a range of different collaboration opportunities, including student transfer and further education.

The initiative will also advance CUD’s strategic approach to supporting the UAE National Climate Change Plan, which calls for the reorientation and upgrading of higher education curricula to prepare the future workforce for the green economy.

On signing the agreement, CUD Chancellor, Mr. Buti Saeed Al Ghandi, said that at a time when climate change was a major issue for our world, the introduction of this innovative UPEI program to the University’s existing Environmental Studies portfolio would offer students an exciting new career pathway and enhance CUD’s reputation as an institution committed to providing relevant educational opportunities for society in the 21st Century.

Speaking after the ceremony, Dr. Alaa said this agreement was a wonderful opportunity for Dubai students to come to Canada and experience the welcoming atmosphere of a Canadian Institution, where they would immediately feel at home. Reflecting on his own experience of CUD, where he is always warmly received, he added that students from Canada who wished to study at CUD would feel the same.


HH Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum attends 'Landscaping of UAE Cities' event along with experts in fields of environment and architecture

The challenges of creating a green landscape and ensuring the UAE's cities are environmentally sustainable were debated by key decision makers in the worlds of environment and architecture at the Canadian University Dubai.

With the region's construction industry on the rise, it is becoming increasingly important to find ways to take on these challenges.

The event was organised under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who attended and participated in the event. The Canadian University Dubai and the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture Dubai were co-hosts. Speaking at the opening, Dr Karim Cheli, President of the Canadian University Dubai, said: "It is an honour to have His Highness Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum participate in this.

"A sustainable and green landscape is an important component in every city's architecture and urbanization, mainly because of the contribution to a healthy living environment. This event allowed us to discuss the issues involved, and encourage further research and action."

Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, Director General of ICBA stressed: "'The water scarcity is a core development issue in UAE. Right now, 11% of the total water use in the country is dedicated to landscaping and this rate is on the rise, as the urban population is growing.

Managing landscapes especially in arid and hyper-arid environments such as UAE is a real challenge, and requires innovative approaches, such as using the right plants which are drought, heat and salt tolerant; using the right irrigation technologies, and safe use of treated waste water. Within this context, native plants have great role to play in UAE cities landscaping" Various researchers from the Canadian University Dubai and the ICBA presented papers and spoke on their areas of expertise. Architecture students from the Canadian University Dubai also had the opportunity to present their work on this issue. His Highness Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum also presented a series of awards to students.