As part of the UAE’s 2021 Sustainability Agenda and Dubai’s commitment to join the global battle against climate change, the Emirate has signed the Air Quality Declaration alongside 34 global leading cities at the C40 World Mayors Summit 2019, which took place this October.

The declaration comes in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, which have laid a strong foundation for Dubai’s future urban growth and aim to create a sustainable environment that provides happiness and prosperity to the UAE.  Dubai is also working with the world's leading cities to develop plans that correspond to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030, particularly those that are related to good health and well-being, responsible consumption and production, affordable renewable energy, and climate action.

The Air Quality Declaration includes the following cities: London, Los Angeles, Washington, Berlin, Austin, Bangalore, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Amman, Delhi, Durban, Guadalajara, Heidelberg, Houston, Jakarta, Lima, Lisbon, Madrid, Medellin, Mexico City, Milan, Oslo, Paris, Portland, Quezon, Quito, Rotterdam, Seoul, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo, and Warsaw.

Commenting on the occasion, His Excellency Abdulla Mohammed Al Basti, Secretary General of The Executive Council of Dubai and Vice President  of the Asian and East Asian cities in the C40 Steering Committee said: “We are proud to sign the Air Quality Declaration in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council which have fostered Dubai’s strong leadership in the region, and strengthened our commitment to sustainable living. Improving air quality for the Emirate’s residents and visitors is at the top of our environmental health priorities, and we are confident this signing will contribute to furthering our sustainability agenda, and to a healthier environment for all.

“Through sustainable construction, and with sustainability at its core, the upcoming Dubai World Expo 2020 is on track to becoming one of the world’s most sustainable expositions in history, and we are excited to share our innovative and impactful climate change solutions with the rest of the world. As a representative of our fellow Asian and East Asian cities in the C40 Steering Committee, we are confident that uniting our efforts through numerous collaborations will drastically contribute to tackling climate change. As part of Dubai’s important participation at the C40 summit, we have also reaffirmed our strong ties with cities from all over the world, and we look forward to working alongside these strong regional and global players to secure a brighter and sustainable future for many generations to come.”

H. E. Humaid Mohammed Al Qatami, Director General of Dubai Health Authority, said: “Climate change is one of the most pressing issues affecting the global community today, and taking part in the Air Quality Declaration is a significant step towards unifying global efforts in reducing climate change’s effects on the environment. The Emirate is well established and positioned to address these environmental concerns and is leveraging its experience and knowledge to play a prominent and global role in achieving a cleaner environment by 2030.”

Dubai is a leading city

H.E. Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and Managing Direction and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), said: “Dubai joining the Air Quality Declaration reinforces the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed on sustainable living. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai launched the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to ensure 75% of the Emirate’s energy consumptions derives from clean energy sources, aiming for Dubai to become the city with the smallest carbon footprint in the world by 2050. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) contributes to achieving this vision as it consolidates the three sustainability pillars, economic, social and environmental, through pilot projects that produce cleaner energy.

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, with a projected production capacity of 5000 MW by 2030, is the world's largest single-site solar project, with a total investment of up to AED 50 billion. Once completed, the park will contribute to reducing more than 6.5 million tons of carbon emissions annually. Dubai is also working on launching various initiatives that have the potential to enhance energy efficiency, rationalize consumption, reduce carbon emission, promote solar energy, use electric vehicles and effectively reducing our carbon footprint and transition towards a greener local economy.

“DEWA’s efforts, along with other government and private entities in Dubai have reduced the net carbon emissions of the Emirate by 19% two years ahead of the target date. It has also exceeded the Carbon Emissions Strategy’s target to reduce emissions by 16% by 2021. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), awarded Dubai with the Platinum Rating in the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Cities certification, making the Emirate the first city in the Arab world and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to receive this prestigious accolade, “H.E. added.

International Specifications

H.E. Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), affirmed the RTA is committed to reaching environmental sustainability in all its projects and services. Through innovative and sustainable infrastructure and transport systems, RTA hopes to improve the quality of life and happiness of the local community, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, “Green Economy for Sustainable Development”, the UAE Vision 2021 and the Energy and Carbon Reduction Strategy.

“The reduction of carbon emissions is one of RTA’s top priorities, as we believe this plays a crucial role in environmental safety and sustainability. Through the implementation of various sustainability projects and initiatives, such as strengthening the public transport system in Dubai, we have contributed to increasing the number of people who use public transport from 163 million in 2006 to more than 589 million in 2018. One of our ongoing initiatives consists of implementing  a plan to divert 50% of Dubai's taxi fleet to hybrid and electric vehicles by 2021.  Installing energy-efficient road lighting (LED), replacing the public transport bus fleet with new buses conforming to European standards for low carbon emissions, including “Euro 5” and “Euro 6” buses, the first of their kind in the Middle East and North Africa, along with the electronic and intelligent transformation of the various services we provide to our customers. RTA has recently adopted its Sustainability Framework, which focuses on three main pillars, sustainable wellbeing and happiness, sustainable transport, and sustainable economic growth and participation in order to achieve a balance between the local economy, environment and community”, H.E. added.

The right balance between developmental needs and environmental requirements

Dawood Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality, said: “Maintaining air quality is one of the most important environmental priorities that Dubai Municipality seeks to achieve in line with the Dubai Strategic Plan 2021, launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Environmental initiatives and strategic projects to maintain air quality will achieve the happiness of citizens, residents, and visitors as well as reaffirm the Emirate's position when it comes to air quality”.

“Dubai Municipality seeks to achieve a balance between developmental and environmental needs. We’ve implemented a number of strategic projects in coordination with the General Secretariat of the Executive Council, including the Air Quality Strategy 2017-2021, which we launched in 2017. Our city will achieve the national target of 90% clean air by 2021. The strategy aims to reduce air pollutants resulting from the operational and manufacturing operations of sectors including transport; energy production; and energy and industrials. We will monitor these areas and aim to effectively reduce carbon emissions – contributing to the emirate’s air quality index”, HH concluded.

Dubai recently launched a strategy that aims to prepare the emirate to the future of climate change. The strategy follows the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) methodology to ensure all relevant sectors are ready for the change. 

Dubai also signed a strategic memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the city of Medellin, Colombia to share best practices and innovations in the fields of technology, energy, water, mobility and waste management.

The C40 Summit provides a platform for cities to kick-off strategic partnerships and discuss challenges of climate change, as well as come up with effective solutions to fix it.

The Air Quality Improvement Declaration obliges cities to set ambitious targets to reduce pollution; implement policies to raise air quality by 2030; and publish periodic reports on progress - based on the agreement of city mayors that breathing fresh air is a human right. Participating cities in the C40 Summit are committed to work together to shape a global alliance in the aim of improving air quality. They have agreed on a range of policies and programs to achieve that goal, including: encouraging public transport; low or zero carbon emissions; encouraging alternative modes of transportation such as walking and cycling; and motivating the involvement of private and public entities to create a better future.

During last year’s C40 Steering Committee meeting in San Francisco, USA, HE Al Basti underscored Dubai's commitment to promote sustainability. He also outlined Dubai’s efforts to adapt to climate change and preventive measures taken by its government to mitigate the climate change impact on the ecosystem, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and waste disposal.

Dubai became a member of the C40 Leadership Network for Climate Change in 2015 to become one of the world's elite cities. In 2017, Dubai was elected as a representative of the General Secretariat of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Dubai as a member of the Network Steering Committee, which consists of 17 members representing the geographical areas, where Dubai represents South and West Asia, including 11 cities.

Since joining C40, Dubai has participated in several workshops, conferences and global forums to share experiences and knowledge on sustainable infrastructure, climate change adaptation, waste reduction and greenhouse gas emissions. It has hosted two global workshops on climate change adaptation and public transport. This reflects Dubai's serious commitment to tackle climate change in order to achieve happiness and prosperity, take care of its residents’ health, and to work hand in hand with the world cities to create a brighter future for future generations.

Source: Hill+Knowlton Strategies