Global Collaboration: Kuwait’s Pioneering Low Carbon Strategy in Focus

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Samira Al-Kandari

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 20: On this Monday, the Environment Public Authority inaugurated the Kuwait Low Carbon Strategy 2050, underscoring its dedication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This initiative involves collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program and various pertinent sectors within the country, all working together to actively decrease emissions and facilitate the successful launch and execution of the strategy.

In a press statement after the ceremony unveiling Kuwait’s low-carbon strategy, Samira Al-Kandari, the Acting Director General of the Authority, highlighted that Kuwait is the second country in both the Gulf and the Arab region to introduce its strategy, following the lead of Oman, a sister nation.

Furthermore, Al-Kandari mentioned that the presentation of this strategy is scheduled for the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), slated to take place in Dubai from November 30 to December 12.

She reaffirmed Kuwait’s dedication to the climate change agreement, emphasizing adherence to all its provisions. This commitment includes the submission of national communications, the implementation of an adaptation plan, and the pursuit of carbon neutrality by 2026. Concurrently, Kuwait aims to achieve a 60 percent reduction in emissions through collaborative endeavors, with the potential to reach an 80 percent reduction if cooperation persists.

In her address at the ceremony unveiling the outcomes of Kuwait’s low-carbon strategy, she emphasized Kuwait’s endorsement of the United Nations’ endeavors to address climate change. This support has been evident since the Rio conference in 1992, with Kuwait actively participating in negotiations aimed at mitigating the adverse impacts of this phenomenon.

She mentioned that Kuwait is consistently exerting efforts to counteract this phenomenon, adhering to the principles and stipulations outlined in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Climate Agreement. These frameworks serve as binding legal instruments and form the foundation for international collaboration in this crucial domain, with Kuwait committed to implementing them in impactful and sustainable manners.

She asserted that addressing the challenge of climate change is a collective global responsibility, recognizing the diversity in burdens and capabilities among nations. Emphasizing the principles of justice and sustainable development, especially in developing countries, she underscored the significance of leveraging capabilities based on national priorities and capacities. This approach is crucial for effectively reducing emissions and mitigating the impact of climate change.

Al-Kandari clarified that United Nations Convention on Climate Change Resolution No. (1CP21) urges countries, as state parties, to submit a comprehensive, long-term, low-carbon development strategy by mid-century. Such strategies are indispensable in attaining the objective of mitigating global warming and averting adverse impacts on the planet’s ecosystems caused by climate change.

She noted that, in alignment with these UN resolutions and the directives outlined in the speech of His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, may God protect him, as part of the Green Middle East Initiative, Kuwait is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2060. In response, the Council of Ministers has entrusted the Environment Public Authority with the crucial task of formulating a national low-emission and long-term strategy. This strategy encompasses an assessment of each major sector’s contribution to the country’s overall greenhouse gas emissions, projections of their anticipated growth until the mid-century, and a comprehensive examination of available opportunities to minimize these emissions to the greatest extent possible.

She highlighted that the Authority collaborated closely with the United Nations Environment Programme, Regional Office for West Asia. This collaboration involved extensive consultations with stakeholders from both government agencies and the private sector. The aim was to attain outcomes aligning with the country’s policies, programs, and development plans, all geared toward fulfilling the overarching objectives of the strategy.

Al-Kandari also highlighted the significance of examining the endorsed sectoral strategies and the state’s structural plans to form a comprehensive understanding of Kuwait’s future vision. This analysis aimed to explore opportunities for emission reduction in alignment with the country’s economic, social, and environmental conditions.

In a speech delivered on behalf of the Regional Representative of the United Nations Environment Program and Director of the Regional Office for West Asia, Sami Demasi, the Program’s Climate Change Program Coordinator, Tariq Al-Khoury, conveyed that the submission of this strategy by the Authority underscores Kuwait’s commitment to fulfilling its obligations, particularly within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the associated Agreement.

Demasi expressed concern about the genuine threat posed by climate change, emphasizing that the world is currently grappling with a period of global upheaval. This perspective aligns with the description provided by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, who characterized the Earth as undergoing a state of turmoil. This sentiment is underscored by the record increase in temperatures observed last July, accompanied by natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and fires occurring in various regions worldwide.

He emphasized that this strategy signifies a robust dedication to bolstering Kuwait’s resilience against the impacts of climate change, outlining a forward-looking vision for anticipated challenges. Additionally, it charts a course for sustainable economic growth across all sectors by the year 2050, with the ultimate goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2060. He highlighted Kuwait’s special emphasis on diversifying the country’s energy sources, advocating for the adoption of renewable energies, transitioning from fossil fuels to liquefied gas, and harnessing waste for sustainable energy. The strategy also places a strong emphasis on the modernization of oil and industrial facilities to produce clean fuel and the expansion of initiatives for capturing, storing, and utilizing carbon to enhance natural reserves.

He emphasized the United Nations Environment Program’s commitment to offering comprehensive support to guarantee the success of this strategy. The program is dedicated to assisting Kuwait in executing crucial environmental projects and collaborating on the promotion of other environmentally significant initiatives. He underscored that this strategy marks a pivotal moment in Kuwait’s journey toward climate action.

Similarly, in his address, Sharif Al-Khayyat, the Director of the Air Quality Monitoring Department at the Environment Public Authority, highlighted that this strategy seeks to strengthen Kuwait’s resilience and adaptability to the impacts of climate change. It outlines a comprehensive roadmap that incorporates strategies for achieving sustainable economic growth through the implementation of integrated technical and innovative solutions within the realm of carbon economy.

Al-Khayyat further noted that the cumulative greenhouse gas emissions for the year 2019 in Kuwait amounted to 102.6 million tons, encompassing emissions from agricultural, industrial, waste, and energy sectors. Projections indicate an anticipated increase to 202.7 million tons by the year 2060.

He outlined eight key strategic transformations aligned with Kuwait’s vision for emission reduction. These transformations are rooted in the principles of the circular carbon economy and encompass areas such as electricity and water supplies, industry, buildings, automobiles, shipping, agriculture, and waste.

He highlighted that the crucial mechanisms for facilitating the strategy’s execution include capacity building, technology transfer, research, innovation and development, collaboration with the private sector, climate education, involving youth in the workforce, promoting community awareness, and the establishment of legislation, laws, and executive regulations.

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