A leader and key partner in the international effort to address climate change, the UAE is the host of the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP28, in 2023. After being the first Middle Eastern nation to sign the Paris Agreement, the UAE was also the first country in the region to submit its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in 2015. It is one of just 13 countries globally to have submitted its second NDC.
In accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UAE is a non-Annex 1 country, and not obligated to reduce its emissions. However, the UAE has chosen to implement actions to slash its carbon emissions. In addition, the UAE is committed to expanding the role of low-carbon technologies in the economy and investing in renewable energy and nuclear power.
Further underscoring the UAE’s commitment to global cooperation on climate, the UAE is home to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), an intergovernmental organization that promotes sustainability. It is the first international organization with global membership to be headquartered in the Middle East.
Renewable Energy Development
In addition to its multilateral commitments, the UAE actively supports developing countries in their climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, especially through renewable energy, as well as humanitarian relief and prevention. In total, the UAE has invested in renewable energy ventures with a total value of around $16.8 billion across 70 countries, including aid and concessional loans to bring renewable energy projects to 27 island nations.
In January 2017, the UAE announced a $50 million fund for renewable energy projects in 16 Caribbean islands. The Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund, which helps advance the UN’s Strategic Development Goals, aims to reduce energy costs in the region and improve energy security.
Launched in 2013, the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund supported renewable energy projects in 11 Pacific Island countries through the allocation of grants with a total value of $50 million, financed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), and implemented by Masdar. The program included 10 solar PV projects and one wind farm with a total capacity exceeding 6.5 megawatts (MW) to meet most of the islands’ energy needs.
Masdar projects in more than 40 countries are helping enhance access to renewable energy and clean technology solutions, totaling almost 14 gigawatts (GW) both in developed and resource constrained nations.
- In January 2020, Masdar made its first investment in Australia after acquiring a stake in the country’s second utility-scale waste-to-energy (WTE) facility, East Rockingham Waste to Energy.
- In November 2019, Masdar signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and Government Support Agreement (GSA) with the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan to design, finance, build and operate the country’s first public-private partnership (PPP) solar power plant.
- Masdar installed solar home systems in more than two dozen villages around Camp Robinson within the Helmand Province of southern Afghanistan. The project is enhancing the lives of more than 3,000 people who had no access to electricity.
- After the successful deployment of the 15 MW Sheikh Zayed Solar Power Plant in Nouakchott in 2013, Masdar installed an additional 16.6 MW photovoltaic projects across eight remote communities in Mauritania.
- The Port Victoria Wind Power Project, Masdar’s 6 MW wind farm in the Republic of Seychelles, is the country’s first large-scale renewable energy project. It accounts for more than 8 percent of the grid capacity on the archipelago’s main island of Mahe, where 90 percent of the country’s residents live.