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Saudi Arabia, Gulf powers crucial to regional environmental goals: UN officials

Middle East powerhouses Saudi Arabia and the UAE are helping regional partners needing more access and assistance to meet their climate goals, a United Nations Development Program official told Al Arabiya English. Dr Kishan Kodhay said that events like the MENA Climate Week, which took place in Dubai ahead of COP27 in Sharm elSheikh last year, helped bring together countries in the region. “We’ve seen large delegations of youth groups sharing their vision for the future, but also other partners such as industry, bringing together both UN agencies as well as IFIs (International Financial Institutions) and, of course, government representatives from across the region, and NGOs, universities. And this brings collective thinking on the challenges and solutions in advance of COP and a regional perspective into the COP,” Khoday told Al Arabiya English on the sidelines of the week-long event. This sharing of knowledge bilaterally is beneficial for both the host nation and for delegates who can exploit tried and tested solutions. For instance, energy efficiency, its study and implementation, is an aspect of renewable energy transition that Saudi Arabia is excelling in, Kodhay said. The UNDP, which has had a presence in the region for over 50 years, has reportedly been partnering with the Kingdom to offer “technical assistance.” “For every unit of GDP growth, there’s less and less carbon footprint, less and less energy use. We’re trying to reduce the energy intensity of development and decarbonize the development pathway.” He added that it was important to work with energy-intensive industries and provide new technology and financial instruments to reign in the curve. The UNDP official pointed out the policies, regulations, and industry partnerships of the Saudi Energy Efficiency Program, which was established in 2010 by the Kingdom to raise the efficiency of the industry, construction and land transport sectors. “Having Saudi Arabia as a constructive partner on the global and regional development agenda, it’s good to see their support to other countries across the region and having this kind of dialog,” the UNDP official said. Political stability Countries like Saudi Arabia, with a high level of political stability, are a “great asset” for organizations like the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, another senior official told Al Arabiya English on the sidelines of the MENA Climate Week. Ayman Omer, the FAO Program Director in Saudi Arabia, said in places of political and economic instability, there needs to be a contingency plan, something he has experienced in his home country, Sudan. alarabiya

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.