Delivered by: His Excellency Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d’Affaires, a.i.
Thank you very much, and many thanks to our co-hosts today, the Permanent Mission of Germany, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. We’re particularly appreciative of the IFCR, OCHA, and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre’s work in preparing this valuable report.
When the UAE was approached to co-host this event, it was easy decision to make. In the Gulf, we do know a little bit about heat, so you may not be surprised to see me here. For us, this is not an academic exercise. We are susceptible to the impacts of climate change on global temperatures.
But it’s not only because of this more obvious connection to heat that we’re co-hosting today’s event. Heatwaves, as the report points out, provide a perfect case study for many of the climate change tools that the UAE consistently champions. These include interventions such as increased investment in climate adaptation; ramping up forecasting and research analysis; and anticipatory action to prepare for and manage the response to climate-induced events.
As the joint report of OCHA and IFRC point out, heatwaves will be a major driver of humanitarian needs in the future – and not just for humans, but for livestock, the agricultural sector, and even infrastructure. With humanitarian financing already under considerable strain, we will have to think of new ways to meet the emerging needs.
But the news is not all grim. As the report points out, heatwaves can be managed and major disasters can be prevented, if we act quickly and with interventions grounded in data and analysis. We are heartened to learn the meteorological tools are already in place to enhance early action, awareness-raising, and prevention. The information is available. It is now time for the humanitarian system to embrace anticipatory action at scale and expand it to heatwave response, particularly in low-income settings.
The report also informs us that anticipatory action is particularly well-suited to prevent the worst outcomes from heat waves. Yet, as we have seen, change in the humanitarian space towards greater use of anticipatory financing has been quite slow. If we are to effectively manage the worst impacts of rising temperatures and general heating, anticipatory action and anticipatory finance must be extended to the lowest income countries.
The message from the recently concluded COP27 was loud and clear: we need greater investment in climate adaptation and loss and damage. This is especially true for the most fragile communities. We’re all too familiar with the distressing statistics regarding the low amounts of climate finance that reach fragile countries – just 2 dollars per capita. This is 80 times less than developing countries receive. We strongly endorse the report’s recommendation that finance to the most vulnerable countries must be increased.
The UAE will work with all stakeholders in the leadup to COP28 in Dubai next year to ensure that this remains a focus. We also will be looking to leverage other venues and events in tandem with the COP process to help guide our collective work toward concrete, actionable outcomes – and hopefully, to help break down the silos between the humanitarian, development, and climate spheres that the report speaks to.
I thank you very much for your attention.