UAE’s Circular Economy Council holds inaugural meeting on “SCALE 360” Initiative

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The UAE’s Circular Economy Council held its inaugural meeting today to discuss the main priorities and commitments that outline UAE’s engagement as the first signatory to the “Scale 360” initiative, which was launched in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The UAE’s Circular Economy Council, the highest steering body of the UAE “Scale 360” initiative, include Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Chief Executive Officer of the Alliances for Global Sustainability; H.E. Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment; H.E. Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence; H.E. Abdulla bin Touq, Secretary General of the UAE Cabinet; and senior executives from the public and private sectors. During the meeting, which will be held quarterly, the Council discussed aspects and means of implementing the new global partnership that catalyses the move towards a more circular economy while using less natural resources and reducing pollution to tackle climate change, through utilising Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, CEO and Founder of Alliances for Global Sustainability (AGS) stated: “It’s my absolute pleasure to be a part of the UAE’s Circular Economy Council, which holds an integral role in aiding us towards an advanced sustainable economy.

Through our participation in the Scale 360 initiative and with perpetual support from the World Economic Forum, we aim to establish the UAE amongst the most circular economies in the world. Scale 360 presents the UAE with the opportunity to catalyse global change by showcasing our progressive approach to attracting talent and implementing best practices, as we work together towards our common goal.” She added: “Now is the time for us to conserve, reduce our consumption, produce environmentally friendly products, recycle and up-cycle.

It is important, now more than ever, that we ensure circularity to maximise the use of our resources and to create a healthier and more resilient planet. In the GCC alone, the circular economy is set to save 138 billion dollars by 2030. We must seize the opportunity to generate value domestically, by exporting up-cycled materials.

For this to happen, we need to see a more concerted effort from the public, private, and third sectors, particularly from a federal perspective, to ensure the success of ventures that support a circular economy. Furthermore, it’s equally important for us to create enabling policies and regulatory frameworks as a solid foundation for an innovative ecosystem, in which a circular economy will flourish.

Through efforts such as the Scale 360 initiative, we can provide greater transparency and monitoring of waste streams, thereby encouraging collaboration between research institutions and the development of financial mechanisms to fund this exciting and lucrative new sector.” Sheikha Shamma concluded by saying: “This year, we must achieve two important milestones.

First, the launch of our national strategy and policies related to the circular economy, and secondly, the launch of Global Future Councils, where the UAE will actively engage with international stakeholders.” His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “The Scale360 platform will help accelerate the UAE’s transition to a circular economy and enable us to build greater resilience in responding to the pandemic and other social, environmental, and economic challenges.

Since the launch of the platform in 2019, we have made significant progress in paving the way forward for public and private sector entities to begin leveraging the tremendous benefits of scaling circular innovation in the electronics, food, and plastics value chains.” He added: “To meet our target of diverting 75 percent of municipal solid waste away from landfills by 2021, we issued our first national integrated waste management law that governs the management of all types of waste, and have taken serious steps in implementing waste-to-energy solutions. We are also partnering with the private sector in taking significant measures to adopt environment-friendly waste management solutions.

” His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, stressed that the government of the UAE is increasing its efforts to achieve the vision of its leadership by adopting new models and initiatives to support the transition to a more sustainable economy that is based on advanced knowledge and technology, noting that the scale 360 initiative in partnership with the World Economic Forum aims to accelerate the circular economy, and it will contribute to the future of both the public and private sector by utilizing fourth industrial revolution technologies.

Omar Sultan Al Olama said that the UAE has been able to develop advanced infrastructure by providing tools of modern technologies and artificial intelligence, which enabled it to participate effectively in supporting national and global efforts and initiatives to accelerate the adoption of the circular economy, and support the production and consumption patterns that guarantee the preservation of natural resources and ensure their sustainability, and provide a more innovation system.

As a part of its key mandates to provide guidance on the strategic plan and champion the partnership, the Council focuses on the development of means that provide frameworks and remove barriers to the circular economy and reaffirm the UAE’s position as a global and an open laboratory for economic and technological innovations in line with UAE Vision 2021 and the Centennial Strategy 2071.

“Boosting innovation ecosystems to scale Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies’ impact on the circular economy transition is a vital step we need to make. 4IR technology innovations have substantial potential to accelerate transition to the circular economy by combining digital, physical, and biological technologies at scale, said H.E. Abdulla bin Touq, Secretary General of the UAE Cabinet.

“The “Scale 360” initiative translates the strategic directions of our government into practical initiatives by creating an enabling a sustainable infrastructure to support the growth of the economic, social and environmental sectors. We are committed to accelerate the transition to circular economy through the adoption of innovative approaches that can improve human and environmental well-being for current and future generations”, added Bin Touq.

The meeting also highlighted the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies that are used currently to envision a new way of managing resources. Such technologies range from digital data sets linked to physical products using a product passport and Internet of Materials as well as blockchain-based schemes.

The UAE’s Circular Economy Council also includes H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, Director of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD), H.E. Dr. Salim Al Kaabi, General Manager of Abu Dhabi Waste Management Center, H.E. Dawood Al Hajeri, Director General of Dubai Municipality, H.E. Abdulrahman Al Nuaimi, Director General of the Municipality and Planning Department in Ajman, H.E. Saif Al Sharaa, Assistant Undersecretary – Sustainable Communities, MoCCAE, Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director General – Emirates Nature-WWF, Dominic Waughray, Managing Director, World Economic Forum, Khalid Al Huraimel, Group Chief Executive Officer of Bee’ah, Ibrahim Al-Zu’bi, Chief Sustainability Officer at Majid Al Futtaim-Holding, Patrick Chalhoub, Chief Executive of Chalhoub Group.

The effective implementation of the “Scale 360” initiative will create platforms that can help reduce waste and boost recycling of resources efficiently.

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