COP28 could see move from negotiation to action, experts say

COP28 could see move from negotiation to action, experts say
COP28 will be held from Nov 30 2023 to Dec 12 2023 (Shutterstock)
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Updated 20 March 2023

COP28 could see move from negotiation to action, experts say

COP28 could see move from negotiation to action, experts say
  • Annual climate change conference will be held in UAE later this year
  • Event ‘could really become a COP for action,’ think tank says

LONDON: The UAE’s hosting of the UN Climate Change Conference later this year could transform the future of the annual international forum and create momentum for it to become less about negotiation and more about action, experts said.

“COP28 could really become a COP for action. And it could start a transformation of what COPs are, from those meetings of negotiators, to trying to come up with a framework for climate governance around the world, into something that is largely about encouraging climate action,” said Karim Elgendy, associate fellow at the UK-based think tank Chatham House.

“We’re resolving many of the climate justice issues. We’ve resolved most of the Paris Agreement details and what we really have in front of us is ratcheting up and increasing ambition for carbon reduction targets around the world.

“COP28 has this opportunity where it could do exactly that and drive all the parties to push forward with a carbon reduction,” he added.

Elgendy was speaking at a briefing ahead of the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s final report in its sixth assessment cycle on Monday, in which it outlined some key findings and important implications for Middle East countries and expectations for the UAE’s COP28 presidency.

The UN body for assessing the science related to climate change, whose plenary sessions in Switzerland end on Sunday, will distill its findings from the six reports produced since 2015 and amass them in a single “synthesis” report — a comprehensive manual for tackling the crisis.

Elgendy said that Egypt’s hosting of last year’s COP27 placed a “little spotlight” on the region — as Cairo said it was hosting on behalf of Africa — but the Dubai conference would put a “real spotlight” on the Middle East and especially Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

The 2022 IPCC Working Group II Report described the regional impact of climate change for the Middle East as worrisome in relation to how local temperature and precipitation are projected to change. Current predictions indicate that in the coming decades conditions for working and living in the desert region will worsen. Persistent drought, water scarcity and rising sea levels could dramatically decrease food security in the region without swift, immediate large emission cuts.

In the Middle East, climate change has already increased temperatures and decreased rainfall. In Iran and Kuwait, more than half of the summer heat-related deaths between 1991 and 2018 could be attributed to climate change. In the coming decades, the number of days with temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius is expected to rise across the region.

The report said that countries in the Middle East would only be able to adapt to heatwaves and drought to a certain extent, and that hard physical limits to adaptation exist.

Sand- and dust storms have already become more frequent and intense and with further warming, they will become worse, increasing water scarcity and drought in the region.

Water scarcity will particularly affect Saudi Arabia, which could undermine food security, while in Bahrain and Iran, climate change will decrease fish catches, with consequences for food security and income generation. Global warming already threatens important fish species currently found on the coasts of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, and which are at high risk of local extinction.

As sea levels rise, more land will be submerged, flooded regularly, eroded, or become unsuitable for agriculture due to saltwater intrusion. The economic costs of sea level rise for Gulf countries, in terms of percentage of country-level GDP, would be among the highest in the world by the end of the century. The most threatened countries are Kuwait with 24 percent of GDP, Bahrain with 11 percent and the UAE with 9 percent, according to a study cited in the report.

“The MENA region has a variable rainfall regime that changes dramatically from one year to the next, which means we’re going to get longer droughts. And when it does rain it will rain in a flooding manner which could lead to stormwater management issues because of the region is not prepared for that,” Elgendy said.

“There are tertiary implications we should be concerned about, such as what will this do to social structures and movement, tensions over resources, migration,” he added.

“These may not be of primary concern right now but the region has to be prepared for what effect these implications could have environmentally and socially.”

Camille Ammoun, associate fellow at the American University of Beirut, said that in order to become a real climate actor, the GCC needed to genuinely diversify its economy away from fossil fuel extraction and from the oil economy.

“GCC countries, as high income countries, have economic if not environmental interest to engage in mitigation and adaptation,” he said.

“In terms of adaptation, the Gulf has been working on it for decades investing in several projects that are not necessarily labeled as adaptation projects, especially in infrastructures.

“When you talk about climate action, we talk about mitigation and adaptation, and I think we should focus more specifically, especially in the Gulf region, on diversification because it’s an enabler for climate action globally given the weight the GCC countries have in global diplomacy.”


Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Global reviews strategic partnership opportunities in Egypt

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Global reviews strategic partnership opportunities in Egypt
Updated 30 May 2023

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Global reviews strategic partnership opportunities in Egypt

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Global reviews strategic partnership opportunities in Egypt

RIYADH: The Saudi-based Red Sea Global company held its second promotional procurement exhibition in Cairo, in cooperation with its media partner, MEED Network, and in the presence of representatives from more than 100 Egyptian companies from the private sector, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.
The exhibition is the second of its kind in a series of local, regional and international introductory meetings conducted by the company, which is wholly owned by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund.
The event aims to establish more partnerships with the private sector to enable the delivery of the company’s growing portfolio of projects.
Ben Edwards, group head of cost, commercial and procurement at Red Sea Global, said the opportunity to present projects and opportunities available to the Egyptian market is a major strategic step for Red Sea International this year.
“To achieve the innovative approach that we seek, especially with regard to sustainability, we had to identify organizations and companies that share the same vision to establish real partnerships with them, and we met today with many future partners,” he added.
Red Sea Global is one of the companies with continuous progress in implementing projects for its “Red Sea” and “Amaala” destinations, and the twelve future projects in the company’s portfolio, SPA added.
In March, it held its first regional induction tour in Doha, where the company met with representatives from more than 100 Qatari companies.
The company has awarded contracts worth more than SR40 billion ($10.6 billion) for its “Red Sea” and “Amaala” destinations so far and this year, contracts worth SR5 billion were awarded, with an additional SR20 billion expected to be awarded before the end of the year.

Riyadh Airports CEO joins international aviation body

Riyadh Airports Co. CEO Musad Aldaood (File)
Riyadh Airports Co. CEO Musad Aldaood (File)
Updated 29 May 2023

Riyadh Airports CEO joins international aviation body

Riyadh Airports Co. CEO Musad Aldaood (File)

RIYADH: In significant global recognition of the Kingdom’s aviation sector, Riyadh Airports Co. CEO Musad Aldaood has been elected to the board of the Airports Council International, Asia-Pacific.   

This assembly of airport authorities is dedicated to improving airport operations and standards, representing their collective interests with international organizations like International Civil Aviation Organization and International Air Transport Association.  

The announcement was made during the 18th meeting of the ACI Asia-Pacific Assembly in Kobe, Japan. 

Aldaood joined leaders from airports across mainland Asia, Australasia, the Pacific Ocean islands and key North American points such as Vancouver, San Francisco and Hawaii.  

Commenting on his appointment, Aldaood said he was looking forward to working with other board members, the World Executive Committee, regional advisers, and the management team to continuously make airports a great and safe place for travelers and airport partners.   

“We will devote our expertise and efforts to improve the aviation sector, raise the aspirations and expectations, and work with relevant sectors in a joint and integrated manner to develop our work through the ACI World Governing Board, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East,” he said.  

Aldaood brings over 21 years of experience managing and operating King Khalid International Airport under the RAC.   

He also holds concurrent positions as the vice chair of the board of directors of Saudi Public Transport Co. and a board member of Altanfeethi Co., overseeing executive terminals and offices across the Kingdom’s airports.  

New shipping service added to Kingdom’s Dammam port

New shipping service added to Kingdom’s Dammam port
Updated 29 May 2023

New shipping service added to Kingdom’s Dammam port

New shipping service added to Kingdom’s Dammam port

RIYADH: Traffic at the King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam will soon ease thanks to the addition of Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Co.’s new service, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Upper Gulf Express shipping service aligns with the objectives of the National Transport and Logistics Strategy to position the Kingdom as a global logistics hub connecting three continents, the General Authority of Ports said. 

The shipping service connects Dammam with the ports of Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the UAE as well as the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr.  

The service which is set to launch at the end of May also consolidates the position of the King Abdulaziz Port as the main port through which goods pass from all over the world. 

In January this year, the ports authority announced the launch of a new freight service at King Abdulaziz Port operated by MSC.    

The connection allows Dammam to enjoy weekly sailings to eight maritime destinations spanning the Arabian Gulf, South Asia, and Southern Africa.    

These include the ports of Khalifa bin Salman in Bahrain, Khalifa in the UAE, Qasim in Pakistan, Mundra and Hazira in India, Port Louis in Mauritius, and Durban and Coega in South Africa.    

The service started on Jan. 21 and features five vessels with an average carrying capacity exceeding 6,000 twenty-foot equivalent units.

UAE’s Dana Gas raises its foreign ownership limit to 100% 

UAE’s Dana Gas raises its foreign ownership limit to 100% 
Updated 29 May 2023

UAE’s Dana Gas raises its foreign ownership limit to 100% 

UAE’s Dana Gas raises its foreign ownership limit to 100% 

RIYADH: The UAE’s vision of strengthening its capital markets has become one step closer to reality as Sharjah-based energy company Dana Gas plans to raise its foreign ownership limit to 100 percent. 

Listed on the Abu Dhabi market, the firm announced that it had obtained the approval of the regulatory authorities to raise the percentage of foreign ownership from 49 percent to 100 percent of its capital, according to a regulatory filing on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. 

The largest private sector natural gas company in the region disclosed that the move aligns well with the UAE’s new Commercial Companies Law that abolished a requirement that UAE nationals own 51 percent of onshore firms. 

“Opening our company fully to foreign ownership will support the UAE’s vision of strengthening its dynamic capital markets by attracting greater numbers of international investors and deepening market liquidity,” said Dana Gas Chairman Hamid Jafar in a press statement. 

According to Jafar, the company’s growth outlook remained rather sturdy in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, where the firm is seeking to increase production. 

It also maintained a strong growth outlook in Egypt, where the firm is working on maximizing the value of its assets by negotiating improved fiscal terms. 

However, Dana Gas’ recent earnings report was not favorable. The company generated a net profit of 183 million UAE dirhams ($50 million) in the first quarter of 2023 compared to 198 million UAE dirhams in the year-ago period. 

Profitability for the quarter dropped 7 percent compared to a 22 percent decline in the company’s realized prices. However, the impact of lower realized prices on the company’s profitability was partially offset by reduced operating costs by 14 percent. 

Revenue was 13 percent lower at 447 million UAE dirhams in the first quarter of 2023 compared to 513 million UAE dirhams in 2022.

The decrease in revenue, and subsequently net profit, was primarily due to a pullback in energy prices from high levels. 

Closing bell: Saudi stocks remain steady; TASI edges down 0.02%

Closing bell: Saudi stocks remain steady; TASI edges down 0.02%
Updated 29 May 2023

Closing bell: Saudi stocks remain steady; TASI edges down 0.02%

Closing bell: Saudi stocks remain steady; TASI edges down 0.02%

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index lost 2.38 points or 0.02 percent to close at 11,135.67 on Monday.

While the parallel market Nomu shed 45 points to close at 21,007.84, the MSCI Tadawul Index edged down by 0.58 percent at 1,483.55.

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR4.76 billion ($1.27 billion) as 111 listed stocks advanced, while 95 retreated.

Yanbu Cement Co. emerged as the best performer as its share price surged by 8.05 percent to SR40.95.AYYAN Investment Co. and Saudi Pharmaceutical Industries and Medical Appliances Corp. were other top gainers, as their share prices advanced by 6.71 percent and 5.45 percent respectively.

Astra Industrial Group was the worst performer, as its share price dropped by 3.22 percent to SR72.20.

Leejam Sports Co.’s share price was down by 3.20 percent to SR114.80, while stocks of Naseej International Trading Co. dipped by 3.03 percent to close at SR48.

Mayar Holding Co. was the top gainer on the Kingdom’s parallel market. The company’s share price soared by 15.82 percent to close at SR79.80.

Future Care Trading Co. was the worst performer on Nomu, as its share price went down by 8.83 percent.