Sustainability Forum Middle East (SFME) hosted the first of its Decarbonisation Round-table Series in the Kingdom of Bahrain on “Carbon Markets – Accelerating and Funding the Road to Net-Zero”. Held on May 23, it witnessed a gathering of senior climate, finance and sustainability leaders.
Held under Bahrain’s Supreme Council for Environment (SCE), it emphasised the importance of partnerships between the public and private sectors to achieve sustainable development goals and reach net zero.
The SCE highlighted the national role of the private sector in Bahrain and its collaboration with various public and private trade and industry sectors along with other fields associated with climate change and clean energy transformation. The SCE expressed joy on the success achieved by the first session of the round-table in the Sustainability Forum Middle East.
It praised the speakers’ efforts to find innovative solutions and ambitious sustainable economic visions that would contribute towards achieving sustainable development goals,thus enhancing the national efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060.
It is reported that more than 100 leaders from the public and private sector came together to for an insight at the growth and practical workings of carbon markets globally and in the region.Also, to assess the benefits they can provide as another tool and pathway for helping businesses and countries in the MENA region to achieve their net-zero ambitions.
Among the distinguished speakers were from regional governments and corporate sectors such as,Majed Al Khan, CEO of Infracorp,Jessica Robinson, MENA Sustainable Finance Leader, EY-Parthenon, Layla Sabeel, Head of Planning, Climate Change & Sustainable Development, Supreme Council for Environment, Bahrain and Okan Ugurlu, Climate Change Expert, Directorate of Climate Change, Department of Carbon Pricing, Ministry of Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change, Türkiye. They provided views on the approach of their jurisdictions and others to carbon markets.
Riham AlGizy, CEO of Regional Voluntary Carbon Market Company (RVCMC), said, “We need to use every tool at our disposal to address the threat posed by climate change to our region, and the world. Voluntary carbon markets complement direct emissions reductions by enabling organisations to compensate for their carbon emissions. At RVCMC, we are creating a credible voluntary carbon market at speed and at scale, with integrity at its core. Our focus is on channelling climate finance and improving livelihoods in the global south. This (carbon markets_ round-table was a valuable opportunity to meet with peers and partners to discuss how, collectively, we can work together to drive climate action across the region.”
Besides, the role of financial institutions and asset managers in supporting the development of carbon markets, investor interest and appetite from the GCC and beyond and how carbon markets can create new revenue streams and help fund sustainability projects including renewables, were also discussed. The issue was addressed by speakers like, Venetia Bell, Group Chief Sustainability Officer, Gulf International Bank; Dr Wael Albeniyan, Director, Acwa Power Portfolio Management; Essam Albakr, CEO of Riyadh-based Ejada Capital; Abdulrahim Ahmed, Senior Representative, Sustainability Committee; National Bank of Bahrain and Abdulaziz Tawfeeqi, Director, Project Development at Infracorp.
Challenges were also addressed. Venetia Bell, Group Chief Sustainability Officer, Gulf International Bank, said, “Carbon markets are a valuable tool to support the needed transition to net zero in the Middle East, but to fulfil their potential we need to see an increase in the supply of high-quality carbon credits, improved market infrastructure and supportive policy and regulatory frameworks. Today’s roundtable provides a regional multi-stakeholder forum to find ways to overcome these challenges and realise the opportunities, whilst still prioritising the primary goal of emissions reductions.”
The place of carbon markets on the United Nations Climate Meeting (COP) agendas was also discussed and the role of COP28, coming up in November 2023 in the UAE for the carbon markets.
Laila Danesh, Managing Director of FinMark Communications, the founders and organisers of Sustainability Forum Middle East, concluded, “We are delighted to have gathered such a knowledgeable group of experts to address this exciting topic. As countries and businesses look for solutions to accelerate their net-zero journeys, our aim is raise awareness and help the private sector across MENA better understand the pathways available to them to decarbonise their businesses and help move the regional economies towards a lower carbon model. We’re grateful to the Supreme Council for Environment, our speakers and partners for their ongoing support and leadership on climate action.”
The Forum’s second edition is set to take place on January 9, 2024 in the Kingdom of Bahrain and will focus on “Achieving Net Zero – Pathways to Accelerating Implementation”.