As part of the Year of Sustainability and the UAE's preparations for hosting COP28 UAE in November 2023, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) and Tadweer (Abu Dhabi Waste Management Company) have signed an agreement to launch Waste to Zero, a global initiative to mobilise and advance waste decarbonisation efforts, and to establish a circular economy platform.

The initiative aims to strengthen the UAE's role in leading global action and contributing to international efforts to achieve a 43 per cent emission reduction target by 2030 by urging nations to adopt and maintain advanced technology-based solutions to decarbonise sectors, including waste management, and to boost the circular economy.

The agreement was signed at MOCCAE headquarters in Dubai in the presence of His Excellency Mohammed Saeed Al Nuaimi, Acting Undersecretary of MOCCAE; Her Excellency Engineer Othaibah Al Qaydi, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Sustainable Communities Sector at MOCCAE; and His Excellency Engineer Ali Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and CEO of Tadweer. The event was attended by officials representing both entities.

Commenting on the agreement, Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change & Environment, said: "As we prepare to host COP28, the UAE is keen to play a stronger role in driving global climate action by reducing emissions and contributing to the goals of the Paris Agreement, mitigating climate change effects and protecting the planet. Our partnerships with major players are a key pillar in delivering the UAE's climate commitments and achieving Net Zero by 2050.

"We are pleased to collaborate with Tadweer to launch the global initiative to decarbonise the waste management sector, which is responsible for an estimated 3-5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Through this collaboration, we will mobilise global efforts once again to adopt practical solutions in the waste management sector to achieve sustainability and increase its contribution to reducing emissions. This will further enhance the role of the UAE in creating a sustainable future for people around the globe. We trust our ability to make a significant difference in global waste management sector, and contribute to the international environmental and climate agenda in the coming period."

His Excellency Mohammed Saeed Al Nuaimi, Acting Undersecretary of MOCCAE, said the cooperation will play a significant role in strengthening the circular economy in the UAE and abroad by providing an integrated economic system that keeps pace with the global transition towards a green economy.  

His Excellency Mohammed Saeed Al Nuaimi also said COP28 will be an important opportunity for the UAE and the private sector to highlight their pioneering projects in combating climate change and protecting the environment. These projects span several sectors and will be announced in the coming period as well as during COP28.

His Excellency Engineer Ali Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and CEO of Tadweer, said: "This MoU is an important step in consolidating our efforts to address climate change. Through Waste to Zero, we hope to create a platform for dialogue, raise awareness, and drive actionable solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the waste sector. Together with our partners, MOCCAE and Roland Berger, we look forward to inspiring change and creating a more sustainable and prosperous future."

Hani Tohme, Managing Partner of Roland Berger Middle East, said: "Through this initiative, we aim to highlight the importance of finding solutions to the decarbonisation of the waste management sector, which is one of the major sources of global emissions, and to empower economies to make the most of their resources. The initiative is part of our commitment to finding innovative and sustainable solutions, and are aimed at enhancing our potential for transforming the global waste crisis into an opportunity for growth, renewal and resilience."

Tadweer, under the leadership of MOCCAE and in cooperation with stakeholders, will host discussions, workshops and awareness programmes for various partners in the UAE and abroad on the objectives of the circular economy and sustainable resource management, highlighting the latest global innovations in integrated waste management and carbon emission reduction.

The initiative focuses on the challenges facing the waste management sector and its direct impact on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change objectives, as the sector can contribute to reducing emissions, improving the quality of recycling and reducing food loss and waste.

The initiative will promote solutions aimed at the decarbonisation of the waste management sector around the world by attracting investment and financing in infrastructure projects, create employment in the sector, as well as reduce global dependence on natural resources. It also aims to strengthen regulatory frameworks, apply Extended Producer Responsibility, establish multidisciplinary governance and identify bankable projects in waste management processes.

In addition, the partnership aims to highlight the role played by the waste management sector in addressing climate change as well as finding innovative solutions for sustainable resource management. Waste to Zero will invite the entire waste management ecosystem to raise ambition, work towards positive and tangible results, demonstrate concrete action to mitigate climate change, and align with the goals of the Paris Agreement.