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HomeNewsSustainability Forum Middle East Gathers Senior Decision Makers to Mobilise Private Sector Action on Decarbonisation

Sustainability Forum Middle East Gathers Senior Decision Makers to Mobilise Private Sector Action on Decarbonisation

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Sustainability Forum Middle East successfully launched its inaugural edition with participation from more than 400 senior decision makers, sustainability experts and dignitaries in the Kingdom of Bahrain to accelerate and mobilise private sector action on the region’s decarbonisation. Held under the patronage of the Minister of Oil and Environment, Special Envoy for Climate Affairs, H.E. Dr. Mohamed bin Mubarak bin Daina, the Forum focused on “Business Transition to Net-Zero – the Path Towards a Successful Low-Carbon Future”.

Featuring high-level speakers and key panels with top government officials and business and climate leaders, participants examined national and regional net-zero commitments and the critical role of the private sector in achieving them. The Forum’s world-class programme looked holistically at the road ahead towards net-zero and the essential collaborations, funding and regulations required for the successful and rapid decarbonisation of businesses across all economic sectors.    

H.E. Dr. Mohamed bin Mubarak bin Daina, Minister of Oil and Environment and Special Envoy for Climate Affairs, applauded the efforts made by the organizers to host such a successful forum, which aims to integrate environmental and economic endeavors, advance toward achieving sustainable development goals, support national efforts to reduce carbon emissions, and find practical economic and development solutions that are consistent with Bahrain’s Economic Vision and its environment and climate commitments.    

“Bahrain is eager to support environmental initiatives with the private sector’s role in more development, emphasizing the importance of experts’ role in enriching scientific dialogue, which is regarded as a critical pillar to green initiatives and diverse development   projects, ” H.E. Dr. Mohamed bin Mubarak bin Daina mentioned.

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Launching the Forum and setting the scene for the day was a keynote address by Mark Thomas, Group Chief Executive, Oil and Gas Holding Company (nogaholding). The Group Chief Executive Officer of the Oil and Gas Holding Company (nogaholding), Mr. Mark Thomas, addressed the climate crisis threat on the global ecosystem. He also underlined the Kingdom’s commitments declared by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, to achieve Net-Zero by 2060, and 30% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2035 at the COP26 summit.

Mr. Thomas further added: “These targets are now part of our mandate at nogaholding. To achieve these, we have appointed Boston Consultancy Group to support the development of the National Energy Strategy for the Kingdom of Bahrain. This strategy will help ensure that the Kingdom has enough energy to sustain its ambitious economic growth plans over the next few decades and beyond, and determine how to best reduce our carbon footprint and which renewable or green energy resources are most suitable for Bahrain.”

Highly interactive sessions took place throughout the day focusing on helping companies and decision makers better understand the implications of net-zero and the opportunities and challenges on the path towards a low-carbon future.  Highlighted in discussions were the outcomes of the recently held COP27 in Egypt and the road ahead towards COP28, which is set for November 2023 in the UAE, making it the second consecutive UN global climate meeting to be taking place in the region, shining a spotlight on MENA’s important and unique role in global decarbonization.

Sessions also addressed the net-zero ambitions of the MENA governments and where we are today, financing for the transition with input from leading international, regional and local banks, energy transition and the integration of renewables with representatives from oil and gas companies and alternative energy providers and the evolution of climate regulation with participation from regulators and legal experts as well as a panel session on decarbonisation of the infrastructure sector, one of the most critical in achieving regional net-zero targets. 

The opportunity for hands-on-learning was another important feature of the Forum. Attendees had the chance, over two days, to take in four expert-led workshops delivered by senior representatives from Bahrain Institute for Banking and Finance (BIBF), Deloitte Middle East, EY-Parthenon and KPMG. More than 400 delegates took part in these knowledge-packed sessions, walking away with enhanced understanding and insights on how to develop effective strategies and plans to decarbonise their business models and operations.

While many large companies across the region are well on their way, a significant number, especially SMEs, have yet to launch their decarbonisation journeys. A priority of the Forum was to arm as many private sector players as possible with greater knowledge and practical tools for taking action and accelerating their contributions to the achievement of national and regional decarbonisation objectives.

Supporting the Forum’s aims and mission were a group of highly committed partners to sustainability and climate action. These include Strategic Partners Supreme Council for Environment – Bahrain Economic Development Board and Tamkeen, Lead Partner – Sustainable Infrastructure – Infracorp, Lead Partner – Standard Chartered, Energy Partner – nogaholding, Knowledge Partner – National Bank of Bahrain, ESG Partner – Gulf International Bank, Forum Partner- Alba, Official Carrier – Gulf Air and Networking Partners – Dadabhai Travel and NGN International.

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