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Climate Action at the Dubai Business Forum

by Madaline Dunn

Hosted under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, the Dubai Business Forum convened international business leaders and key economic figures for a two-day event.

The event, organisers said, represents a key moment in the region’s annual business calendar to discuss the trends and solutions shaping deal-making today.

The two-day event brought together hundreds of global changemakers and industry experts for high-level plenaries and sessions with a focus on ‘getting business done’ by driving crucial conversations and facilitating pivotal partnerships to transform the future of business.

High-profile keynote speakers at the event included H.E. Abdullah Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy; H.E. Abdul-Aziz Abdulla Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chambers; H.E. Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General, Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism; H.E. Saeed Al Tayer; MD & CEO, Dubai Electricity & Water Authority; H.E. Khalfan Belhoul, CEO, Dubai Future Foundation; Badr Jafar, COP28 Special Representative for Business and Philanthropy.

This year’s Forum also addressed climate action and the role that businesses and the broader private sector have to play in meeting climate and nature goals ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference hosted by the UAE, COP28.

In a plenary interview titled “Catalyzing Climate Action through Business & Philanthropy” between David Eades, BBC journalist, and Badr Jafar, COP28 Special Representative for Business and Philanthropy and CEO of Cresent Enterprises, Jafar addressed how global business and philanthropic leaders can better engage in the global efforts to combat climate change and nature degradation, and crucially address the financing gap of the USD 4 trillion estimated annually to achieve net-zero emissions, support climate adaptation, and reverse nature loss.

With COP28 only a few weeks away, Jafar said: “In a first for COP, the COP28 Presidency will be hosting the COP28 Business & Climate Forum to galvanise the ingenuity and capacity of the private sector. His Excellency Dr Sultan Al Jaber has called for a new paradigm of ‘actionism’, which embraces the dynamism, capital, and action networks that business and philanthropy must bring to the table if we are to move from pledges and announcements, to action and implementation.”

Jafar went on to explain how philanthropy can be the glue that binds business, government, and civil society together in concerted, consistent action – that has been lacking so far, and that has stymied progress on the climate agenda. “Strategic climate and nature philanthropy has the ability to deploy flexible, risk-tolerant, and patient capital in ways that uniquely leverage business and government capital and create that multiplier effect we need if we are to move from billions to trillions towards climate solutions,” Jafar explained.

Addressing the energy transition, Jafar added: “If the first UN Sustainable Development Goal is to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, we must look at both energy and society’s challenges through a single lens. By thinking about society and energy as two sides of the same coin, countries can fully evaluate smart energy policies as enablers of development, especially in the regions like MENA where supporting a fair and just energy evolution must also facilitate economic growth and resultant critical jobs.”

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