PARIS - The Office of the UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change and the Government of France have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to maximise the social and economic benefits of climate action and raise ambition for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, as well as support for the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) which will be hosted at Dubai Expo City in 2023.

The MoU signing ceremony took place during President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan's state visit to France to reinforce and expand the longstanding strategic partnership between the two countries.

In the presence of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Catherine Colonna, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the MoU was signed by Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change, and Agnès Pannier-Runacher, French Minister of Energy Transition.

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber said, "As the host country of COP28 in 2023, the UAE is keen to work closely with France to convert promises into pragmatic outcomes that will benefit all countries and communities, recognising that climate action can be a key driver to building a new low-emissions economic growth model underpinned by sustainability, creating new industries, skills and jobs needed for the future."

"This partnership will advance progressive climate action and raise ambition for the swift implementation of the Paris Agreement. More than 15 years ago, the UAE placed climate action at the centre of its economic growth and diversification strategy, while contributing innovative and practical solutions to one of the world’s greatest challenges. We have demonstrated this commitment to climate action as the first country in the region to sign and ratify the Paris Agreement, and the first to commit to an economy-wide emissions reduction," he added.

As part of the agreement, the two countries will cooperate in the preparation for COP28, including the pre-planning of negotiations and other organisational and logistics aspects, and promotion of energy efficiency and the rapid deployment of renewable energy power generation, integration and storage including through cooperation with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) which is headquartered in the UAE.

The UAE and France will also collaborate on sustainable agriculture, agrifood industry and food and water security aiming to unlock the co-benefits of mitigation, adaptation and biodiversity, as well as for the decarbonisation of heavy industry, adaptation and resilience, nature-based solutions, green finance and investment, empowerment of civil society for climate action and science and research collaborations.

Since the founding of the UAE in 1971, the two countries have enjoyed strong and historical bilateral ties and established a strategic relationship across energy and industry, including partnerships for renewable energy projects and low-carbon growth opportunities. As a responsible energy provider, the UAE has been the partner of choice for French industries in its energy transition ambitions.

Over the past decades, the UAE has emerged as a regional leader in renewable and clean energy investments, both domestically and internationally. It invested US$50 billion in clean energy and has recently announced its plans to invest more than US$50 billion over the next decade in additional projects, including hydrogen and ammonia. The UAE operates three of the world's largest and lowest-cost solar plants and has invested in renewable energy projects in 70 countries. These investments include more than US$1 billion in grants and loans to 27 island countries that are resource-stressed and particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

COP28 represents a moment of vital significance as the world seeks to maximise progress since the Paris Agreement. The conference will witness a critical stocktaking moment for climate action under the Paris Agreement, in addition to defining future Nationally Determined Contributions.

With Egypt hosting COP27 in November 2022, the UAE is committed to working closely with the host government to accelerate global progress in climate action and adapting to the repercussions of climate change.