Dubai: 06 November 2023 - The Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) successfully concluded the 17th Annual Scientific Conference in partnership with the Arab Society for Economic Research (ASFER). The conference was held from 4-5 November under the theme ‘Climate Change and its Implications on Arab Economic Development'.
The final day of the conference marked the release of the Seventh Arab Development Report, titled ‘Climate Change and Sustainable Development in the Arab Countries'. This comprehensive report, jointly prepared by the Arab Planning Institute, the National Planning Institute, the Arab Society for Economic Research, and the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), is part of a series of knowledge reports that provide an insightful analysis of the current climate challenges and call for immediate climate action, addressing both knowledge and technological challenges, and the capacity to confront crises.
Urgent Need for Innovation, Cooperation, and Integration
The report sheds light on the pressing climate change challenges facing the Arab region, highlighting the increasingly interwoven relationship between climate change and sustainable development. It underscores the urgency of innovation, cooperation, and the integration of efforts, along with the allocation of necessary financial and human resources. It also emphasizes the need for alignment between climate action and sustainable development agendas, viewing climate action as an opportunity rather than a burden, to accelerate the sustainable development agenda and enhance well-being across the Arab world.
Six Key Pillars of Analysis
The report encompasses six main pillars to provide an analytical overview of the current situation in Arab countries, including: climate change and sustainable development; flexibility and adaptation in the agricultural and irrigation sectors; mitigation policies and energy sector reform; green structural transformation of Arab economies and carbon reduction; financing the green transition: alternative tools to confront new challenges; green transition governance and policy coordination.
According to the report, “supporting adaptation measures and mitigating the effects of climate change requires strengthening regional cooperation, close collaboration with the international community to leverage climate financing opportunities, and the transfer of environmentally friendly technology. It also necessitates concerted efforts between the public and private sectors and civil society.”
Building National Capacities to Address Climate Change Threats
The report underscores the importance of Arab countries continuously enhancing their national capacities to address various aspects of climate change threats. It also emphasizes the significance of 'strengthening regional cooperation to adapt to potential climate risks and collaborating with the international community to harness opportunities for climate financing and the transfer of climate-friendly technology.'
The report further highlights the centrality of water in climate change adaptation within the agriculture sector, emphasizing its critical role in agricultural production.
Eight Key Recommendations to Mitigate Climate Consequences
The report concludes by presenting eight key recommendations for mitigating climate consequences. Firstly, the report proposes coordination among stakeholders is crucial to facilitating effective adaptation responses, as these often involve multiple ministries and sectors. Next, the report recommends regional cooperation among governments in the Arab region is imperative to activate adaptation and mitigation strategies, explore financial means to combat climate change, and provide the building blocks for adaptation.
Other recommendations include: integration of climate action plans into national development plans to ensure alignment and efficiency; immediate implementation of important adaptation and mitigation measures; development of carbon offset initiatives to support projects in other regions, compensating for emissions that cannot be reduced immediately; provision of appropriate financial sources for adaptation and mitigation programs, particularly in highly vulnerable areas and for the most affected groups, while also promoting private sector and civil society involvement; establishment of regional cooperation mechanisms between Arab governments to ensure effective implementation of national adaptation and mitigation strategies and maximize the benefits of financing mechanisms; and activation of the role of official regional organizations in the Arab region to play crucial roles in implementing adaptation and mitigation plans, capacity building, awareness raising, data collection, monitoring, and evaluation.
The Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government is the first leading research and teaching institution focused on governance and public policy in the Arab world. The conference was held in line with the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government's commitment to supporting government excellence in the UAE and the broader Arab world. This support includes the provision of an integrated system of educational and training programs, research and studies, documenting the UAE's experience, and facilitating the sharing of knowledge among governmental entities locally, regionally, and internationally.