The United Arab Emirates approved on Sunday 22 policies aimed at expediting the country’s transition to a circular economy.
The Circular Economy Council approved the policies proposed by its subsidiary, the Circular Economy Policies Committee, that focus on accelerating the implementation of the circular economy model in four main sectors – manufacturing, food, infrastructure, and transport.
The Council also identified at least 16 circular economy activities that open a wealth of opportunities for businesses, such as upcycling textile waste into new products, developing automated Artificial Intelligence-enabled waste management solutions, and remanufacturing electronic waste.
It convened its second meeting of 2022, presided over by Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment.
Almheiri cited the cabinet’s approval of the UAE Circular Economy Policy in January 2021.
“Since then, we have embarked on an ambitious and important mission to shift from a linear model to a circular economy approach.”
“Our current linear economy consumes valuable materials and resources without being able to benefit from them after use, which represents waste in the modern concept of sustainability,” she explained, noting that her ministry seeks to protect the environment and ensure the long-term economic and social prosperity of the UAE.
She affirmed that many key stakeholders in the UAE have already started to embrace circular economy principles.
Almheiri noted that her ministry, along with the Ministry of Economy, have been engaging with them and others to gain valuable information and insights about ways to facilitate the transition to a circular economy.
She pointed out that 45% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions result from producing cars, clothes, food, and other products used every day.
This demonstrates the great potential that lays in circular economy, which can complement the emission reduction and mitigate the current climate crisis.
For his part, Minister Abdullah al-Marri, who also heads the Council’s Circular Economy Policies Committee, noted that the Committee recently held intensive workshops and meetings with the government and private sectors, as well as international partners.
The workshops were designed to support the implementation of the UAE Circular Economy Policy in four key sectors – manufacturing, green infrastructure, transportation, and food production and consumption – as well as the 22 new policies issued to drive the UAE’s overall transition to a circular economy.
He said these policies will contribute to addressing all challenges the private sector is facing in its shift to a circular economy and support the country’s green development drive.
The initiatives come in line with the directives of the UAE’s wise leadership to fast-track the country’s transition to a circular economy as one of the sustainability, flexibility, and growth drivers of the new economic model as per the Principles of the 50.
Approved in January 2021, the UAE Circular Economy Policy identifies the optimal approach to the country’s transition to a circular economy.
Its objectives include building a sustainable economy, promoting efficient use of natural resources, encouraging the private sector to shift to cleaner industrial production methods that involve the use of artificial intelligence and other Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies, and adopting sustainable consumption and production patterns that reduce environmental stress while meeting the basic needs of the population.