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COP28: Al Jaber urges ‘transformational progress’

Dr. Al Jaber reminded ministers and climate leaders of the approaching Global Stocktake at COP28 and urged them to take action across a range of key areas to bring 1.5C within reach….reports Asian Lite News

At the conclusion of the Copenhagen Climate Ministerial, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and COP28 President-Designate, urged global climate ministers to unite behind “transformational progress” for a COP of Action and a COP for All.

Dr. Al Jaber joined Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, COP27 President and Foreign Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt, to co-chair the Copenhagen Climate Ministerial in Denmark – the first official meeting of climate leaders and ministers from around the world since COP27.

The event, which was hosted by the Danish government, also saw Dr. Al Jaber hold a series of one-to-one meetings with climate leaders, where he drove forward his agenda to secure commitment to an inclusive COP of Action and urged leaders to deliver “transformational progress” to keep 1.5 degrees alive.

The meeting was attended by climate ministers and senior government representatives from developed and developing countries including France, Japan, the Maldives, Samoa, the UK and USA. The Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Simon Stiell and Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Climate Action and Just Transition, Selwin Hart, were also in attendance.

During the two-day event, Dr. Al Jaber worked with Sameh Shoukry and Dan Jørgensen, Danish Minister of Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, to lead efforts to deliver on the meeting’s aim of securing the implementation of the results of COP27 while also setting the course ahead towards COP28 in the UAE later this year.

In his remarks, Dr. Al Jaber reminded ministers and climate leaders of the approaching Global Stocktake at COP28 and urged them to take action across a range of key areas to bring 1.5C within reach.

He said, ” Yesterday’s IPCC report highlighted the significant challenges ahead and the urgent need to course correct if we are to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. But more importantly, the report identifies the opportunities and solutions that are available to reduce emissions and enhance resilience.”

Dr. Al Jaber emphasised the need to accelerate pathways to net zero by rapidly adopting renewable and zero carbon energies, decarbonizing the current energy system and investing in proven and new mitigation technologies. He said: “We have a short window of opportunity to deliver a system-wide transformation. But if we make the right investments, we can create a pathway for sustainable growth, where climate and economic progress go hand-in-hand.”

He also spoke about finance being the critical success factor across all pillars, saying, “We need to double adaptation finance by 2025 and we need a strong outcome on loss and damage this year, with clear recommendations from the transitional committee on the fund and funding arrangement.” Dr. Sultan in his closing remarks underscored the need to explore all networks to ensure the fund is fully operationalized by COP28.

While at the Copenhagen Climate Ministerial, Dr. Al Jaber played a key role in leading and facilitating a series of high-level plenaries and discussions. He also met with a range of climate minsters and leaders as well as representatives from the climate sector including Zhao Yingmin, Vice Minister for China; Collins Nzovu, Minister of Zambia; Grace Fu, Minister of Environment for Singapore and Jennifer Morgan, State Secretary of Germany. Throughout all discussions, he emphasized the need for climate action and an ambitious COP28.

In concluding the visit, Dr Al. Jaber thanked ministers and climate leaders and welcomed their support for an accelerated energy transition, enabled by an inclusive approach that empowers private sector partners.

Ambassador Majid, Director-General of COP28, accompanied Dr. Al Jaber to Copenhagen, leading a roundtable with CEOs and business executives from Danish industry spanning renewable energy, heavy industry and transport, water systems, and energy innovation. In the meeting, Ambassador Majid linked COP28 to the real economy and discussed key components of the COP28 strategy, namely the Global Stocktake, the energy transition and partnership with the private sector in climate action.

Copenhagen was the latest destination in the COP28 Presidency’s global listening tour – a series of international visits to meet with, and hear the views of, a range of partners across government, civil society, youth, the private sector and representatives of international organizations and NGOs. To date, Dr. Al Jaber and members of the COP28 leadership team have visited India, the UK, Germany, France and the US. Additional meetings are scheduled for both developed and developing countries.

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UAE, 3 others announce new climate, security pledges

The 15 pledges, which cover a range of Council functions, serve a shared goal among the countries for the Council…reports Asian Lite News

The UAE, Malta, Mozambique, and Switzerland today announced a series of pledges to advance a systemic, responsive, and evidence-based approach to Climate, Peace and Security on the United Nations Security Council.

The 15 pledges, which cover a range of Council functions, serve a shared goal among the countries for the Council to address the risks and adverse effects of climate change that are relevant to its mandate to maintain international peace and security.

“There is no doubt that climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. There is no true security without climate security. The world – and most importantly, the Security Council – cannot and must not look away,” said Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN.

“As incoming COP28 President, we are joining forces with our colleagues here today to advance on this agenda. We believe this is essential for the maintenance of international peace and security,” she added.

The pledges include commitments to convene at least one Security Council meeting addressing Climate, Peace and Security; highlight the importance of supporting comprehensive risk assessments and risk management strategies; invite and support the participation of people with Climate, Peace and Security expertise to brief the Council; strive to integrate language on Climate, Peace and Security in Council products; and encourage all UN peace operations to minimise their carbon footprint.

Recently, a top Irish minister said Ireland is looking forward to working with the UAE and prepare the highest possible ambition agreement at COP28, the UN Climate Conference to be held in Dubai in November.

“We have been encouraged by public commitment made by Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, COP28 President-Designate, to prioritise keeping alive the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. This will require a significant step-change by the international community,” Josepha Madigan, Irish Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion, told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).

Ireland stands ready to support the UAE in its endeavours to make COP28 very successful, said the minister who was on an official visit to the UAE.

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High seas treaty: Historic deal to protect marine life

The agreement was signed after two weeks of negotiations at the United Nations headquarters in New York ended in a mammoth final session of more than 36 hours…reports Asian Lite News

The UN Member states have finally agreed to a legally-binding “high seas treaty” to protect marine life in international waters, a fragile and vital treasure that covers nearly half the planet, according to the United Nation news.

After the UN passed this agreement, the UN chief Antonio Guterres in a statement issued by his Spokesperson late Saturday evening stated, “This action is a victory for multilateralism and for global efforts to counter the destructive trends facing ocean health, now and for generations to come”. The agreement reached by delegates of the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, better known by its acronym BBNJ, is the culmination of UN-facilitated talks that began in 2004.

The agreement was signed after two weeks of negotiations at the United Nations headquarters in New York ended in a mammoth final session of more than 36 hours – but it has been two decades in the making.

On Saturday evening, conference President Reena Lee, after the UN member states agreed, said, “The ship has reached the shore.”

According to the UN news, the ‘High Seas Treaty’, the legal framework would place 30 per cent of the world’s oceans into protected areas, put more money into marine conservation, and covers access to and use of marine genetic resources.

Through his Spokesperson, Guterres said the treaty is crucial for addressing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

“It is also vital for achieving ocean-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework,” said the statement, referring to the so-called ’30×30′ pledge to protect a third of the world’s biodiversity – on land and sea – by 2030 made by a historic UN conference in Montreal this past December.

The statement issued by the UN Spokesperson said the Secretary-General also recognized the critical support of non-governmental organizations, civil society, academic institutions and the scientific community.

Reacting to the agreement, UN General Assembly’s 77th President Csaba Korosi tweeted, “Congratulations to all delegates and #IGC President Rena Lee for reaching consensus on a global legal framework for the high seas #BBNJ.”

“This is a massive success for multilateralism. An example of the transformation our world needs and the people we serve demand,” he added. (ANI)

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Rising sea level threatens Asian megacities

Scientists have long known that sea levels will rise with increasing ocean temperatures, largely because water expands when it warms and melting ice sheets release more water into the oceans….reports Asian Lite News

Sea level rise this century may disproportionately affect certain Asian megacities, including Chennai and Kolkata, as well as western tropical Pacific islands and the western Indian Ocean, according to new research.

The study, led by scientists at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and University of La Rochelle in France and co-authored by a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), looked at the effects of natural sea level fluctuations on the projected rise due to climate change.

The team identified several Asian megacities that may face especially significant risks by 2100 if society emits high levels of greenhouse gases – Chennai, Kolkata, Yangon, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, and Manila.

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, showed that internal climate variability could increase sea level rise in some locations by 20-30 per cent more than what would result from climate change alone, exponentially increasing extreme flooding events.

In Manila, for example, coastal flooding events are predicted to occur 18 times more often by 2100 than in 2006, based solely on climate change.

But, in a worst-case scenario, they could occur 96 times more often based on a combination of climate change and internal climate variability.

“The internal climate variability can greatly reinforce or suppress the sea level rise caused by climate change,” said NCAR scientist Aixue Hu, who co-authored the paper.

In a worst-case scenario, the combined effect of climate change and internal climate variability could result in local sea levels rising by more than 50 per cent of what is due to climate change alone, “thus posing significant risks of more severe flooding to coastal megacities and threatening millions of people”, Hu added.

Scientists have long known that sea levels will rise with increasing ocean temperatures, largely because water expands when it warms and melting ice sheets release more water into the oceans.

Studies have also indicated that sea level rise will vary regionally because shifts in ocean currents will likely direct more water to certain coastlines, including the northeastern US.

Internal climate variability will also increase sea level rise along the west coasts of the US and Australia.

The paper stressed that the estimates of sea level rise come with considerable uncertainties because of the complex and unpredictable interactions in Earth’s climate system.

The authors said it’s critical for society to be aware of the potential of extreme sea level rise in order to develop effective adaptation strategies.

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Environment USA

California drought conditions ease

Three month ago, the data showed that all of California was in drought, including at extreme and exceptional levels….reports Asian Lite News

The recent rain and snow from a series of winter storms topped annual precipitation averages across the US West, especially over the Sierra and coastal ranges and Rocky Mountains, resulting in freeing half of California from drought.

According to the latest data released by US Drought Monitor (USDM) on Thursday, moderate or severe drought still covered about 49 per cent of the Golden State, while nearly 17 per cent of the state was free of drought or a condition described as abnormally dry. The remainder is still abnormally dry.

It said central California’s Sierra Nevada mountains and foothills were free of drought and abnormal dryness for the first time since January 2020.

The central coast from Monterey Bay to Los Angeles County was also drought-free, along with two counties on the far north coast.

Three month ago, the data showed that all of California was in drought, including at extreme and exceptional levels.

“The rain has improved California soil moisture and streamflow levels, while the snow has increased mountain snowpack to much above-normal levels. Most California reservoirs have refilled with water levels near or above average, but groundwater levels remain low and may take months to recover,” the summary of the USDM’s weekly report read.

California Water Watch issued by the state’s Department of Water Resources found that as of Thursday major reservoir levels were at 96 per cent of average lever and statewide snowpack, which provides about a third of the state’s water resource, was about 170 per cent of the historical average level.

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Advancing COP28 agenda in global finance industry

The event featured an A-list line-up of speakers and attendees from leading investment firms, banks, policymakers, and financial service providers to discuss COP28 priorities…reports Asian Lite News

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) hosted the world’s first finance summit dedicated to advancing the COP28 climate action agenda in the global finance industry.

As part of the DIFC-hosted Global Ethical Finance Initiative’s Path to COP28 programme, over 500 industry professionals attended the first in a series of summits serving as a platform to drive proactive action in the finance industry to lead the charge on climate change and be at the forefront of accelerating the green transition.

The event featured an A-list line-up of speakers and attendees from leading investment firms, banks, policymakers, and financial service providers to discuss COP28 priorities for the sector and how to implement best practice decision-making across their organisations.

The summit was chaired by Dame Heather McGregor – historically known as Miss Moneypenny in columns for the Financial Times and one of the first people to be awarded the honour of Dame by King Charles III. Dame Heather is now Provost and Vice Principal Heriot-Watt University, Dubai.

Renowned sustainable finance author and CEO of the Chartered Banker Institute, Simon Thompson shared his perspectives on how green finance can power the transition, ensuring capital flows to firms, investments, projects and technologies looking to create a sustainable, low-carbon world. Senior figures from key institutions including ING, Zurich Insurance and NatWest Group discussed their focus on delivering net zero.

The findings of the world’s first Global Islamic Finance Retail Banking Survey and its implications on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were released at the event. The survey attracted responses from more than 2,000 customers.

90 per cent of Islamic banking customers across a range of markets say that is it important their bank provides products that are aligned to the SDGs. 96 per cent responded by saying it is important that finance products they purchase fit with the values and ethics in their life. 87 per cent are willing to pay more for financial products that are aligned to the SDGs.

Christian Kunz, Chief Strategy, Innovation and Ventures Officer at DIFC, who also spoke at the event, said, “DIFC and our clients are leading the approach on how the finance industry can play a significant role in tackling the climate crisis.”

“In alignment with the UAE’s priorities for hosting COP28, the first in a series of summits held at DIFC provided the ideal platform for influential contributors from the sector to come together and drive ideas forward to accelerate climate action. As a significant contributor to the sustainable economic growth of the Emirate, the DIFC is deeply committed to actively contributing the UAE’s role as host of the next UN climate talks – the second largest in the history of climate summits.”

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Environment India News Lite Blogs

CARBON NEUTRAL: The Role of Rural Women

Millions of Indian rural women if provided with energy access can actually turn out to be game-changers in clean energy transition journey …. writes Bansi Shukla.

Clean energy technologies like solar PV based induction cookstoves, solar lamps, solar streetlights and also e-bicycles increases their productivity, security and enables greater mobility. The time saved can be utilised by them to engage in activities which can in turn generate income and make them self-reliant.

Bansi Shukla

India is leading the clean energy transformation journey with aggressively allocating a sizeable budget of INR 35,000 crore in green energy projects, central and state agencies aligned to release policies complimenting it- Uttar Pradesh’s latest Solar Energy Policy 2022 is one example, passing of The Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 in the parliament- which focuses on use of non- fossil fuel energy sources and creation of a national carbon market, bilateral partnerships being inked with countries like UK, Denmark, Norway and the onset of G20 presidency in India which is expected to promote more global alliances supporting the execution of clean, sustainable and just energy transitions in the country.

But before we start lauding the numerous efforts made for adoption of cleaner fuels – do all of us even have access to energy at first place? While the urban India is sorted and adopting several climate friendly measures, the rural part (also in majority i.e 64.61%) shares a different picture all together. Interestingly, a report published by Smart Power India (SPI)-implementing arm of Rockefeller Foundation on ‘Rural Electrification in India’ mentions that between 2000 and 2016, half a billion people gained access to electricity in rural India, increasing the share of grid-electrified households from 43% to a whopping 82%. However, deeper studies reveal that wider electricity coverage doesn’t automatically equate to higher rate of adoption and use. An estimated 30 million households still lack access to grid-electricity and those having access are facing supply side challenges like- unscheduled power cuts and poor quality supply.

This grim picture reveals that India – particularly rural areas is still lagging to realise United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 7: “Ensuring access to affordable, reliable and modern energy for all”. Studies tell that presently only 16% of village households are using non-grid sources like solar home systems, rechargeable batteries, mini grids. And contrary to the challenges faced after connecting to the grid, villagers – over 80% show satisfaction and interest in mini-grid connections, despite having affordability challenges. So, does this mean that India will not have trouble achieving its net zero target, if the lens is focussed more on the rural segment- as clearly there is great potential and interest in clean energy access here.

Lack of reliable energy access leads to many challenges in rural areas – from poverty to sub-standard livelihoods, limited healthcare facilities- no refrigerated medical storage and much more, but women in particular are extra sufferers to it. For example, grid connection in villages are only confined to enterprises/ agricultural areas utilized majorly by men. Women on the other hand are spending upto 6hrs a day on cooking itself – from preparation of Indian spices manually to walking long hours to bring biomass/fuelwood for cooking. Safety and security risks like harassment and other dangers of reptiles are extra while commuting in low lit areas collect the fuelwood. Access to energy limits the working time of these women to only daylight hours as well. Additionally, absence of clean cooking technologies exposes them to toxic smoke which proves to be detrimental on their overall health. The adversity list keeps mounting.

Women if provided with energy access can actually turn out to be game-changers in clean energy transition journey. Clean energy technologies like solar PV based induction cookstoves, solar lamps, solar streetlights and also e-bicycles increases their productivity, security and enables greater mobility. The time saved can be utilised by them to engage in activities which can in turn generate income and make them self-reliant. Research tells that self-employed rural women with access to energy earn more than twice as much as their counterparts without energy access and it in turn increases prospects for their children to complete primary education as well.

SEWA-Self Employed Women’s Association – an autonomous non-profit organisation of Ahmedabad, Gujarat is setting an example for the developing world. SEWA founded in 1972 to empower women in the informal sector and create an environment of self-reliance is at present having 1.2million active members with presence in over 17 states of India. The organization, founded by late Shri Illaben Bhatt is awarded and praised worldwide for her great contribution in the field of poverty, social justice and women empowerment. While SEWA has a multifold agenda to achieve this with providing its members access to healthcare, education and trainings;  one key feature SEWA addresses- is through its financial services- offering small loans and saving accounts in rural areas helping them to build financial stability and security. One interesting service they offer under this umbrella is – ‘Energy Loan’. This service enables rural women to adopt to clean energy technologies like LED bulbs, Tubelights, Fans, installing solar rooftop upto 1kW, Bio-gas systems, solar dryer etc. This small energy loan instrument not only helps rural women become self-reliant and productive but also generates a huge positive climate impact. Take a case example of 1 village household installing 1 kW solar rooftop system. This will generate on average 5.0 kWh of electricity per day ie. 1500kWh annually and supply 8-10hrs of electricity in a day. This household alone can mitigate upto 31 tonnes* of carbon dioxide emissions annually by just installing one clean energy solution. Now if approximately 300 households of a village install the same, carbon emission reduction upto 9300 tonnes can be accomplished. With currently 6 lakh villages in India with errant or no power supply lies an enormous energy saving potential for the country.

SEWA has brilliantly demonstrated that rural women if given an opportunity with credit facility can prove to be key agents in mitigating climate change. Clean energy access and rural women empowerment if addressed together have the ability to create humongous social and environmental impact. It is time India unlocks this huge energy and social potential of rural lands.


(Bansi Shukla is a climate change enthusiast with almost a decade’s experience in the space. She supports and encourages initiatives complimenting low-carbon transition which are just and equitable for its people and protects our natural resources. She is presently engaged with a Joint Venture under Ministry of Power – ‘Energy Efficiency Services Limited’, New Delhi.)

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Preventing climate-driven insecurity top priority of COP28

The UAE will host COP28 in Dubai from 30th November to 12th December…reports Asian Lite News

Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi, Director-General and Special Representative of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), called on Member States to take ambitious action to mitigate the consequences of rising sea levels on peace and security and other climate impacts at an open debate of the United Nations Security Council on 14th February.

The Open Debate on “Sea-level rise: implications for international peace and security” was chaired by Malta’s Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade Dr. Ian Borg, and included briefings by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and President of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly Csaba Körösi.

In his remarks, Ambassador Al Suwaidi called for catalysing greater and higher quality climate finance for fragile and vulnerable communities and also underscored the UAE’s support for the Secretary-General’s Early Warning for All initiative.

“The United Arab Emirates recognises the urgent need for a coordinated response across the multilateral system. We cannot neglect any element of the climate crisis, including its clear implications for international peace and security,” Ambassador Al Suwaidi stated. “Our obligation – with each body contributing within its mandate – is to reverse the current trajectories with inclusive, effective, and responsive climate action.”

The UAE will host COP28 in Dubai from 30th November to 12th December, which will include the first Global Stocktake to assess progress toward implementation of the Paris Agreement.

On 13th February, Ambassador Al Suwaidi hosted an informal discussion with a group of key stakeholders on climate change, including representatives from major donors and leading voices from the Global South.

Ambassador Al Suwaidi also briefed diplomatic representatives from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to ensure close collaboration on shared priorities between the UAE and SIDS in the run-up to COP28.

In line with the UAE’s commitment to a successful partnership with the UN for COP28, Ambassador Al Suwaidi met with Selwin Hart, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Climate Action and Assistant UN Secretary-General of the Climate Action Team. These dialogues are a critical part of the broader “listening tour” that Ambassador Al Suwaidi and other UAE climate leaders are conducting to ensure an inclusive and consultative planning process for COP28.

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Environment World News


While India moves towards the determination of becoming a developed nation within the next 25 years, the importance attached to water security gains more traction. In that context, Water Vision@2047 has become significant aspect of the journey towards Amrit Kaal … writes Dr Rajesh Kumar

Despite the proactive discussion surrounding water for sustainable development and the environment, the latest estimates by the NITI Aayog point towards the shrinking availability of water per capita in India in the coming years. There can only be a future if there is water.

The underlying policy of the Indian government seems to be oriented towards the idea that the water problems of the country can only be resolved through people’s participation. While the nation moves towards the determination of becoming a developed nation within the next 25 years, the importance attached to water security gains more traction. In that context, Water Vision@2047 has become a significant aspect of the journey towards Amrit Kaal (the 25-year-long leadup to India@100).

With the participation of people, not only the demand-supply of water without efficient use the conservation of water has become an important matter of cooperation and coordination as well. Water is not really just a source of life, it is also a source of development as well. With this mantra in mind, the government has begun prioritising water governance in its policies and decisions for the first time. It started with the establishment of a separate Ministry of Jal Shakti for the maintenance of overall water resources. Water has been linked to people through unique campaigns and initiatives like PM Krishi Sinchai Yojana, Har Khet ko Paani, Per Drop More Crop, Namami Gange Mission, Jal Jeevan Mission, Atal Bhujal Yojana, Catch the Rain and the river linking projects across states. Inspiring more and more individuals to live environmentally-responsible lives, water-related issues have come to occupy the mainstream narrative as well. Addressing significant environmental issues and moving towards the development of an ecologically-sound framework, India has remained at the forefront of many such global initiatives. As part of the same, the government has been taking up multiple such steps so as to accord the topmost priority to the concept of water governance.

Despite the hullabaloo surrounding the need, water conservation in itself had not received much detailed action over the past few years. With the renewed emphasis of this government, the issue received a shot in the arm with the government’s boost to the cause in the last few years. The first All India Annual Conference of the Ministers of States on Water was organised by the Ministry of Jal Shakti with the theme Water Vision @ 2047, deliberating on India’s water vision for the next 25 years. Apart from the same, the Atal Groundwater Conservation Scheme has been launched to conserve water with a delicate operation of establishing a network of sewage treatment and waste management in every state. With the newly-founded mantra of the 5P by the Prime Minister to address challenges of water security, the emphasis has been on (1.) political will, (2.) public financing, (3.) partnership, (4.) public participation and (5.) persuasion for sustainability.

With the launch of the Jal Jeevan Mission in the year 2019, around 14 crore households have been provided with similar water connections at a rapid pace over the last three years alone. At this stage, around 1.25 lakh villages in 100 districts of the country can boast of adequate infrastructure to have enabled water supply in every household.

An interesting initiative to help with such conservation has been the newly-launched campaign of Amrit Sarovars. With over 93,000 locations identified for the Amrit Sarovar, the construction of over 54,000 lakes has begun with 26,929 already completed. The idea is to build 75 Amrit Sarovars in each district with every sarovar having a pond area of 1 acre and a water capacity of 10,000 cubic metres. Simply put for th to prepare public awareness programmes and special action plans for rainwater conservation in the country, the emphasis is laid on ensuring arrangements for rainwater harvesting before the onset of monsoon.

Therefore, it is clear that the entire nation with the collective efforts of numerous state governments have been putting across its best foot forward. With a strong emphasis on the circular economy, the entire ecosystem shall benefit when treated water is reused and freshwater is conserved. Since the rivers and other water bodies are an important part of the entire water ecosystem, it is only through public participation that India can move towards ensuring a well-developed waste management and sewage treatment network. Involving local leaders and community groups, the campaign to conserve water is on its path to becoming a mass movement of its own as well.

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WB hopes renewed commitment to climate action at COP28

Belhaj said that the COP28 will provide a new impetus for the global system to implement commitments to mitigate climate change issues….reports Asian Lite News

Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), has expressed the World Bank’s support for the UAE in hosting the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28) from 30th November to 12th December 2023.

In a statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of his participation at the World Government Summit, Belhaj said that the COP28 will provide a new impetus for the global system to implement commitments to mitigate climate change issues.

He noted that climate change is one of the region’s main challenges, and the conference aims to reinforce global demands to meet the financing requirements necessary to confront climate change issues in the region, such as desertification, coastal erosion, and air pollution.

“We will see how to address these challenges during the COP28,” the World Bank Vice President added.

Belhaj stated that “COP26” witnessed a set of promises regarding pumping US$100 million annually, which Egypt called for its implementation during the “Implementation Summit” at COP27, while the COP28 will affirm these commitments and maintain hopes.

He highlighted the proactive role of the UAE in addressing climate change issues, as the country hosts the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The UAE has also launched a set of policies and initiatives to tackle climate change issues, the official pointed out.

Regarding growth levels in the Gulf region, Belhaj explained that the growth rate in the region was strong last year but is expected to decrease during the current and next years, which highlights the importance of openness, economic diversification and orientation towards new areas.

He reiterated that the UAE’s economic openness approach has helped it to maintain economic growth momentum thanks to economic diversification.

Asked about the most critical challenges facing the region, he said that in addition to climate change, the issue of debt is one of the most pressing challenges facing the region, as some countries have suffered from accumulated debt.

Belhaj also pointed out that the employment of young people is one of the region’s main challenges. “According to our studies, the number of young jobseekers in the region will reach 300 million,” he said, explaining the need to find a strong strategy based on several components, including education as a key pillar.

“This is something that the UAE has prioritised by focusing on education to develop it and improve its methods,” he continued.

Belhaj indicated the importance of adopting policies that support gender balance in the region, praising the UAE’s experience and efforts in establishing The UAE Gender Balance Council. Emirati women play an active role in the economy, education and society, the Wold Bank executive pointed out.

Regarding the World Bank’s role in facing the challenges in cooperation with the regional countries, he explained that the bank’s brief is advisory. There is constant communication with the UAE to exchange experiences, expertise and best practices, and discuss means to finding solutions to various issues facing the Middle East and North Africa region, Belhaj added.

In response to a question about the role of the World Bank in supporting countries facing food crises, Belhaj explained that the bank is involved in financing and importing foods such as wheat to some countries due to the current geopolitical conditions leading to supply-chain disruption.

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