New York – MENA Herald:  The UAE, France and Peru co-hosted a high-level leaders’ meeting today, on the side-lines of the United Nations General Assembly, to discuss how to effectively drive investment in clean energy, in the wake of the COP 21 climate agreement, due to be formalized in Paris, in December.

The New York meeting, which was attended by government ministers and business leaders, was co-hosted by H.E. Laurent Fabius, France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and incoming President of COP 21; H.E. Manuel Pulgar Vidal, Peru’s Minister of Environment and outgoing President of COP 20 and H.E. Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, United Arab Emirates Minister of State and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change.

Among those attending the event were ministers from the United States, India, United Kingdom, China, France, Norway, Peru and Switzerland. Senior representatives from government and non-government organizations also attended including from, the United Nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, IRENA, Sustainable Energy for All, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), World Resources Institute, Goldman Sachs, Schneider Electric, Électricité de France (EDF), McKinsey & Co. and Masdar.

Commenting on the discussions, Foreign Minister Fabius said: “We had an open and constructive dialogue. We took stock on the progress achieved so far. All agreed that the private sector has a key role to play,  especially the energy sector, to put us on the pathway of decarbonized economies. . The UAE, in particular, has shown strong leadership in driving the climate agenda and contributing to the solutions necessary to meet the climate challenges we all face.”

The meeting was the first of three, which aim to bring together leading political and business figures to ensure that the key stakeholders of COP 21 have a strong understanding of the frameworks needed to drive investment toward climate change mitigation.  The other meetings will take place in Paris, at the COP 21 conference, and in Abu Dhabi, at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), in January 2016.

Dr Al Jaber said: “The UAE reiterates its firm support for an ambitious agreement in Paris, and our belief that success will need to involve a combination of global partnership and domestic policy.

“This is where the UAE excels. Our country has a successful track record in partnering with governments and the private sector to focus efforts on limiting emissions, while driving sustainable economic growth.  The UAE is a firm believer that rising to the climate challenge will require diversifying our economy further— leading to more jobs, more innovation, and more prosperity. This vision is one that, along with our partners in the GCC, we have championed in the climate negotiations, and which is accepted as the basis for our actions on climate.

“By bringing together key government and private sector leaders in New York, Paris and Abu Dhabi, we aim to shape the partnerships and drive the investments required to mitigate climate change and achieve the next decade and a half of sustainable development,” Dr Al Jaber said.

The high-level leaders’ meeting came in the wake of the adoption by the United Nations of a vision for global sustainable development after 2015. This included the setting of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which replace the Millennium Development Goals that shaped development strategies from 2000-2015. Addressing climate change is a critical part of meeting many of these goals, and is an overarching global priority.

“This year marks a watershed in our efforts to put in place an effective global response to critical sustainable development issues such as climate change.” Said Minister Pulgar Vidal. “We are determined to build on the successes achieved at COP20 in Lima last year, to shape an international agreement that we can be proud of.

In January 2016, the UAE will host Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, an annual event bringing together the World Future Energy Summit and the International Water Summit with a number of accompanying events. This gathering of private sector investors, researchers, policy makers and civil society helps generate the concrete projects and technologies that put the global fight against climate change into effect.

The UAE has rapidly emerged as a leading investor in clean energy technologies, one of the key strategies to mitigating climate change. This has included investments in solar power such as the Shams 1 solar plant in Abu Dhabi and the Mohamed Bin Rashid Solar Park in Dubai. Other measures include the introduction of energy efficiency standards; the establishment of world-class research centers such as the Masdar Institute and the development of carbon capture and storage technologies to allow the use of fossil fuels while capturing the resulting emissions underground.

This leadership also has a strong international dimension, including hosting of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which has its headquarters in Abu Dhabi, as well as bringing investors and policy makers together in leading forums like the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.