UAE Puts Trade at Centre of Climate Debate


Trade Day featured a number of important panel sessions on a wide range of issues, from energy transition, emerging technology and the growing funding and trade finance gaps…reports Asian Lite News

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, has welcomed policymakers, thought leaders, senior officials from international organisations and representatives of leading global businesses to Trade Day at COP28, the first ever day dedicated to trade at a Conference of the Parties and recognition of the role the global trading community can play in the ongoing climate discussions.

Trade Day featured a number of important panel sessions on a wide range of issues, from energy transition, emerging technology and the growing funding and trade finance gaps, particularly in the developing world. Ahead of the opening session, “Global leaders Unite to Promote a Roadmap of Trade Policy Options for a Just and Ambitious Global Response to Climate Change”, Dr. Al Zeyoudi offered a keynote speech contextualising the importance of trade to the COP28 agenda before introducing a panel that included Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Rebecca Grynspan, Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and John W. Denton AO, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce and HE Ahmed Bin Sulayem.

During Trade Day, His Excellency also offered keynote addresses on supply-chain resilience, and took part in a number of panel discussions, offering his insights into the UAE’s emerging status as a climate tech hub, utilising the global trading system to scale up trade technologies, and the role of MSMEs in driving global climate action.

Remarking on the importance of Trade Day’s role in advancing the development of a more environmentally responsible global trading system, His Excellency said: “The discussions and deliberations on COP’s first ever Trade Day underline how central trade is to the global economy and, by extension, the climate change issue. From reducing the carbon footprint of Trade to building green skills capacity, there are many measures that the government, in partnership with international organisations and the private sector, can take to accelerate the development of a cleaner, smarter and more equitable global trading system. We also heard of the challenges in front us, including skills shortages and trade finance gaps, but Trade Day has been an important step in formulating a roadmap ahead of the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization taking place in Abu Dhabi in February 2024.”

The minister also opened the Sustainable Trade Forum, a key component of Trade Day organised and hosted by the UAE Ministry of Economy that provided a platform for the private sector to offer their perspectives on global trade and its role in shaping a more climate-friendly economy. The sessions included “Strengthening Sustainable Supply Chain Resilience: Navigating Global Disruption” and “Fostering Green Entrepreneurship: Nurturing a Sustainability-Led Startup Ecosystem”, and featured insights from across the logistics, mobility, utilities and food sectors.

Ahead of the opening session, His Excellency Dr Thani launched a new whitepaper from the Ministry of Economy titled “Navigating the Green Horizon: Unveiling the Dynamics of Global Sustainability”, which offering key insights into the intersection of trade and the global sustainability movement.

During the course of the first ever Trade Day, Dr. Al Zeyoudi held several high-level bilateral meetings with ministers and senior officials from across the globe. These included talks with François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry for Canada, one of the nations on the frontlines of the climate change issue, and Humza Yousaf, First Minister of Scotland, with whom the UAE has been forging productive relations in the areas of climate tech, renewable energy and advanced manufacturing.

Dr. Al Zeyoudi also met  Ville Tavio, Minister for Foreign Trade for Finland, discussing opportunities in smart cities and urban mobility solutions, advanced technology investment and food and water security, before holding talks with Vladimir Ilichev, Deputy Minister of Economic Development for Russia, part of the important Eurasia bloc of trading nations.

There were also discussions with Beata Daszyńska-Muzyczka, President of the Management Board of BGK, Poland’s Development Bank, and Pamela Coke Hamilton, ITC Executive Director at the International Trade Centre.

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