UAE one of first countries to adopt sustainability in aviation: Minister - GulfToday

UAE one of first countries to adopt sustainability in aviation: Minister


Abdullah Bin Touq Al Marri during the third Conference on Aviation Alternative Fuels. WAM

Abdullah Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Civil Aviation Authority, affirmed that the UAE is one of the first countries to adopt sustainability and take into account the environmental impact of the aviation sector. In his opening speech during the third Conference on Aviation Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3) of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO),

Al Marri said that the UAE participated in all the negotiations led by ICAO, and has ratified many international resolutions that serve the strategic goals of reducing carbon emissions in the aviation sector.

The event opened on Monday, held under the esteemed patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

“Over more than 14 years, the UAE has taken important steps to raise its readiness to deal with this issue by developing strong policies and regulatory frameworks to support the production and use of low-carbon aviation fuel, and by presenting its plan to reduce carbon emissions, which has been classified as one of the best plans in the world,” he said.

Stemming for its firm belief in the importance of climate action - not only for the future of the aviation sector, but due to its impact on the requirements of comprehensive and sustainable growth - the UAE has named the year 2023 as the “Year of Sustainability.”

The UAE is keen on making a positive change in the climate action by hosting the third edition of the Conference on Aviation Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3), and United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28), which will begin on 30th November in Expo City Dubai.

The aviation industry is a fundamental pillar of the UAE’s economy, Al Marri said, noting to the country’s keenness to support all ICAO’s initiatives that aim to benefit the growth and prosperity of this sector.

Bin Touq said that the global commercial aviation sector supports more than 65 million direct and indirect jobs, and more than a third of global trade is exchanged through air transport, as the sector contributes more than 3.6 per cent of global GDP.

He pointed out that these figures and indicators translate the size of this sector and the strength of its impact on the activity and growth of the global economy.

They also confirm that the process of maintaining a balance between protecting the environment and ensuring the sustainability of air activity is a complex process that requires international consensus to ensure the success of creating a real transformation in a gradual manner without affecting the growth of the air transport sector.

He added, “There is no doubt that the unprecedented developmental challenges facing the world today as a result of the repercussions of climate change have left us no other choice but to transform to a low-carbon and environmentally friendly economic model.”

Addressing climate change is a top priority for the UAE leadership, as it represents one of the requirements for sustainable development, Bin Touq stressed, highlighting the UAE’s endeavours to accelerate the transition towards a low-carbon economic model, in which the aviation sector plays a major role.

“From this standpoint, the UAE was keen to support the efforts of the ICAO and its decisions related to this matter, as well as to cooperate with member states in formulating the necessary plans and solutions to promote this important global trend,” Bin Touq further said.

He added, “We believe that this gathering of senior officials and representatives of the international aviation community will be a turning point in the future of the aviation and travel industry. It will take us to a new stage in the production of aviation fuel that is more sustainable and low-emitting, which will contribute significantly to achieving climate neutrality and achieving what we have committed to in ICAO’s General Assembly 41st Session decision of 2022.”

Bin Touq concluded by expressing his hope that this conference will set a clearer path to support the transition towards a green model for aviation fuel production that serves the continued growth of this vital and important sector globally.

Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, stated: “The aviation industry plays a crucial role in supporting international efforts to reduce carbon emissions, and the UAE is making intensive efforts to develop the national regulatory environment for the production of sustainable aviation fuel in line with our national ambitions to promote the transition to clean energy. This serves our efforts to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.”

He added that the UAE adopts a balanced approach to explore future opportunities for sustainable aviation fuel, improving carbon intensity in hydrocarbon-based aviation fuels. This represents a key aspect of the rapid transformation in the energy sector towards clean energy. He continued, “The third ICAO conference on aviation and alternative fuels provides an ideal platform to stimulate international efforts towards transitioning to clean energy use in the aviation sector, serving the ambitious goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions in the aviation sector by 2050.”

More than 1000 participants from various parts of the world, including over 40 ministers, government delegations from over 90 countries, and representatives from more than 30 relevant international and regional organizations, attended the conference.

 CEOs of major airlines, fuel production companies, and aircraft manufacturers were also present.

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