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UAE’s stance on carbon neutrality commendable: South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week

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ABU DHABI: South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said in his opening speech that the UAE’s bold stance on carbon neutrality in preparation for a post-oil era is to be commended, attracting a lot of attention not only from the government but also start-ups on Monday. Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2023.

Here is the full text of his keynote speech at the opening ceremony in Abu Dhabi:

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President,

Your Excellency President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan,

and distinguished guests,

My sincere congratulations on the opening of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2023.

Established to commemorate the vision of the first President of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed, in 2008, Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week has become a valuable venue for the international community to brainstorm ideas to build a sustainable future for humanity.

The UAE’s bold move towards carbon neutrality in preparation for a post-oil era has captured the world’s attention.

The UAE is the first country in the Middle East to announce a carbon-neutral goal for 2021, and Abu Dhabi has been building the world’s first zero-carbon city “Masdar”.

It’s no surprise, then, that Abu Dhabi is now an emerging hub for start-ups envisioning a decarbonized economy.

South Korea also announced its “2050 Carbon Neutrality Target”. To achieve this goal, we are working to restore the nuclear power system that provides carbon-free electricity as soon as possible, and to increase the supply of clean energy such as renewable energy and hydrogen.

We spare no effort to support Korean companies to develop new business fields related to carbon neutrality through technological innovation. Additionally, cities in South Korea aim to transform into smart cities by integrating low-carbon energy and mobility technologies.

This year in particular, South Korea plans to formulate a “National Carbon Neutral and Green Growth Master Plan,” which will include specific ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by sector and year. Guided by the master plan, South Korea will deliver on our commitment to carbon neutrality in a more systematic manner.

If the special strategic partnership between South Korea and the UAE is further extended to cooperation towards carbon neutrality, our two countries will be able to enhance our leadership in the international community and create more opportunities for economic cooperation.

If our two countries work together on renewable energy, hydrogen energy, carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) and other clean energy fields, in addition to our existing nuclear power cooperation area that symbolizes friendship, not only will the energy security of our two countries be strengthened , and also help to improve the stability of the global energy market.

Smart city construction is another area where cooperation between the two countries is expected to generate synergies.

By leveraging South Korea’s world-class IT and infrastructure technology and the UAE’s experience in building and operating Masdar, our two countries can bring a sustainable future to many cities around the world.

This year’s “Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week” is of great significance because it is an event that connects the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP27 held last year and this year’s COP28 held in the UAE.

During this year’s COP, the first global stocktake, a process of taking stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement, will conclude. In other words, COP28 will be a meeting where parties should develop concrete ways to mobilize finance for climate change-driven loss and damage borne by developing countries.

As a responsible member of the international community and a long-standing friend of the UAE, South Korea is committed to providing all our support for a successful COP28.

By hosting Korea Global Adaptation Week this August, South Korea will make further progress in the discussion on how the world should adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Furthermore, by scaling up green ODA, we will make a tangible contribution to narrowing the gap between developed and developing countries in addressing climate change.

Carbon neutrality has become a common slogan all over the world, and it cannot be achieved by one country alone.

I believe that if we join hands and work together, we will be one step closer to a sustainable future based on carbon neutrality.

I look forward to stronger solidarity and cooperation between South Korea and the UAE to achieve our shared goal of carbon neutrality.

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