(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Last week, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE filed a historic joint submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as a contribution to the success of the 2012 UN Climate Change Conference (COP18/CMP8).
The 18th round of these annual negotiation sessions came to a successful conclusion in Doha on December 8.
The Conference of Parties adopted the submission in its closing session, opening the door for developing countries to put forward their national climate change efforts under a broader umbrella, which more clearly recognises the broader imperatives of sustainable development and economic diversification.
"Qatar particularly welcomes this initiative in support of its hosting of 2012 round," said Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah, COP18/CMP8 President. "In bringing COP18/CMP8 to Doha we hoped to highlight the innovations and leadership on climate issues being delivered across our region."
This decision opens the door for the participating countries to present "Economic Diversification Plans" under the UNFCCC. These plans will detail ways in which each nation is cutting emissions by driving clean energy and building new industries, as well as actions they are taking to protect against a changing climate. These actions are embodied in existing policies and targets. The four countries have pledged to present such plans in the near future.
The drive for low-carbon development reaches into other parts of infrastructure development as well including mass investments such as the light rail system in Dubai and one under construction in Qatar. Cutting-edge urban development projects such the UAE's Masdar City and Qatar's Lusail City bring the regional commitment to the office and family level " blazing new trails for sustainable mixed-use development in urban environments and raising the bar for innovative products and practices that can contend with the harsh climate while still hitting sustainability benchmarks.
Once completed, the Msherieb Project in Doha will represent the world's highest concentration of 'green' buildings with 108 of its 110 buildings earning sustainability certifications, including the first-ever platinum LEED mosque.
"Taken together these actions are a powerful signal of the region's seriousness in driving clean energy, enhancing energy security, creating jobs and protecting the climate," said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, the UAE's Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change. "In line with our strong support for the COP18/CMP8 Qatari presidency and close regional cooperation, we are delighted that the door has been opened to recognizing GCC leadership formally in the UNFCCC."
"We stand ready for cooperation and action on these global issues," said Dr Khalid Abouleif, the Chief Negotiator on Climate Change for Saudi Arabia.
"The same technologies and innovations that are key to bringing opportunity and progress to the people of our region are also addressing some of the most serious issues of our time and we are proud to see this gateway opened for developing nations throughout the world."