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MENA Climate Week 2023: Saudi Arabia Hosts Climate Event ahead of COP28 in Dubai

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MENA Climate Week - 8-12 October 2023

Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Climate Week 2023, took place from 8-12 October in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is the 2nd of four Regional Climate Weeks held in 2023 and the event hosted by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. MENA Climate Week is particularly significant as it precedes COP28, the UN Climate Change Conference scheduled to take place in Dubai on November 2023.

MENA Climate Week was divided into 4 key areas of focus to address climate change

  • Energy systems and industry
  • Cities, urban and rural settlements, infrastructure, and transport
  • Land, ocean, food, and water
  • Societies, health, livelihoods, and economies.

It is organized by key international organizations, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the World Bank. It receives support from other partners like the Islamic Development Bank, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), and the League of Arab States.

Objective: To address challenges, and opportunities related to climate change, with the insights gathered contributing to the climate ‘stocktake’ at COP28 in November.

The MENA Climate Week features discussions related to the Global Stocktake (GST) of the Paris Agreement, 2015, which aims to mitigate global warming.

  • Many countries had identified rising temperatures as a pressing problem and had committed to taking measures to limit the effects of global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C between 2030 and 2050.
  • September 2023 was the warmest on record globally, with an average surface air temperature of 16.38°C.
  • The first GST started in Glasgow in 2021 and will conclude at the climate change conference in Dubai, UAE (at COP 28).

India, Saudi Arabia sign MoU in the fields of Electrical Interconnections, Green and Clean Hydrogen and Supply Chains

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Saudi Arabia during the MENA Climate Week in Riyadh covers several key areas of energy cooperation.

i.Electrical Interconnections: Establishment of connections between the electrical grids of the 2 countries. This can facilitate the exchange of electricity during peak times and emergencies, ensuring a more reliable and resilient energy supply.

ii.Green/Clean Hydrogen Production: This form of hydrogen is produced using renewable energy sources and is considered an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional hydrogen production methods.

  • India has launched National Green Hydrogen Mission and has approved an initial outlay of USD 2.3 billion for this Mission.
  • India having almost 17% of world population and being the world’s fifth largest economy, is taking significant steps to reduce emission intensity of its GDP by 45% by the year 2030 and aims to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2070.

iii.Supply Chain Development: The agreement emphasizes the establishment of secure, reliable, and resilient supply chains for materials used in the green/clean hydrogen and renewable energy sectors.

  • Both countries have committed to conducting B2B (business-to-business) summits and regular interactions.

India and Saudi Arabia decide to promote investment in New & Renewable Energy

India and Saudi Arabia have reached an agreement to encourage investments in each other’s countries, specifically in new and renewable energy sector. During his visit, Union Power and New & Renewable Energy  Minister Shri. R.K. Singh engaged in bilateral discussions with Saudi Minister of Investment H.E. Khalid Al-Falih.

Key Points:

i.INVEST India provided an overview of potential investment opportunities in India’s power sector, highlighting areas like renewable energy generation projects, energy storage, electricity transmission, and green hydrogen.

ii.During the visit, Shri R. K. Singh also visited the Sudair Solar Power Plant in Riyadh, which is the largest solar plant in Saudi Arabia and is set by an Indian company (L&T).

iii.R.K. Singh participated in a High-Level Ministerial Panel on “Advancing the Energy Transition in the MENA region: Advancing inclusivity and circularity for just and equitable energy transitions.

PIF, SEC launch new Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Company

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) announced the launch of the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Company. PIF owned a 75% stake in the Company, while SEC held the remaining 25% stake.

i.The company aimed to deliver best-in-class electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging infrastructure across Saudi Arabia.

  • It had plans to establish a presence in more than 1,000 locations and install over 5,000 fast chargers by 2030 in cities across Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Awwal Bank is a ‘national champion’ at MENA Climate Week

Saudi Awwal Bank (SAB ) is one of the National champions for MENA Climate Week 2023.  SAB is proud to contribute to the event, aligning with the nation’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and sustainability objectives.

SAB’s sponsorship aligns with their commitment to support Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. Additionally, SAB has taken on the role of the official sustainable banking partner at the 13th edition of the Saudi Green Building Forum, which was held in Riyadh from Oct 9-10.

About Saudi Awwal Bank:

  • CEO: Tony Cripps
  • Established: Jan 21, 1978
  • Headquarters:Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

World’s First Global Solutions Hub (GSH) Launched at MENA Climate Week in Saudi Arabia

The Sustainable Tourism Global Center (STGC), based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has launched the world’s first Global Solutions Hub at MENA Climate Week. This hub is dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism worldwide and aims to provide the tools and best practice case studies required to accelerate the travel and tourism sector’s transition to net-zero emissions while protecting the environment.

i.GSH unveiled 3 critical toolkits covering

  • Solar thermal heaters,
  • Emissions reduction through sustainable food choices,
  • Cost savings associated with solar panels.

The hub plans to release a total of 25 toolkits over the next 3 years.

ii.STGC is partnering with various organizations, including the International Chamber of Commerce, the UN Global Compact, the World Travel and Tourism Council, Skift, and others, to reach and engage stakeholders in destination countries.

Note: Saudi Arabia was ranked 2nd, globally, in terms of tourist arrivals during the first seven months of 2023 according to data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Note :STGC Head: Gloria Guevara Manzo

Saudi Arabia Announces Domestic Greenhouse Gas Credit Initiative

Saudi Arabia has introduced a new initiative to enable companies to purchase credits to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. The initiative, called the Greenhouse Gas Crediting and Offsetting Mechanism (GCOM), is set to be launched in early 2024. This is  announced by Clean Development Mechanism Designated National Authority (CDMDNA).

i.This move is in line with the Gulf kingdom’s aim to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060.

  • Saudi Arabia announced its target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2060 in 2021 and aimed to generate 50% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.

About Saudi Arabia:

  • Capital: Riyadh
  • Currency: Saudi riyal
  • Crown Prince and Prime Minister: Mohammed bin Salman

About four Regional Climate Weeks of 2023:
i.Africa Climate Week (ACW 2023), Nairobi, 4-8 September. Hosted by the government of Kenya.
ii.Middle East and North Africa Climate Week (MENACW 2023), Riyadh, 8-12 October, and hosted by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
iii.Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week (LACCW 2023), Panama City, 23-27 October, hosted by the government of Panama.
iv.Asia-Pacific Climate Week (APCW 2023), Johor Bahru, 13-17 November 2023, hosted by the government of Malaysia.