Climate Action

In case you missed it…  Day 2 of The Innovation Zone

Day 2 at the Climate Action Innovation Zone at Madinat Arena, Dubai has been packed full of inspiration learning and new connections.

  • 06 December 2023
  • Rachel Cooper

Last night’s Innovation Zone Welcome Dinner featured two very different but equally inspiring speakers. Baroness Scotland KC, Commonwealth Secretary-General, was passionate about the need for joined-up climate action with innovation at its heart, saying “human genius got us into this mess, and its human genius that will get us out.” UN Youth Ambassador AJ Young also gave a rousing speech to close. Trust us, you won’t want to miss his performance at THE RECHARGE, a renewable energy-powered concert in Dubai later this week.

Today kicked off with a packed room at the Climate Action Stage for the Devex panel on philanthropy. Andrew Steer, CEO of Bezos Earth Fund, was optimistic that philanthropy can support in translating large sums of money into action by preparing projects for finance. The importance of this kind of grant funding was reiterated later by HE Dr Rania Al-Mashat, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation.

That theme was also echoed on the Island of Hope, where Sir Alok Sharma MP said plainly: “All the numbers mean absolutely nothing to the people on the frontline of climate change. If you’re facing drought or rising sea levels or your crops are failing, there is no point people talking in these forums about billions and trillions if the money isn’t flowing […] And it is not flowing fast enough.”

The technical solutions on display here are endlessly impressive. This afternoon’s engaging demonstration from ERM impressed the importance of harnessing data to accelerate sustainable action. With satellites that can monitor deforestation and even detect exactly which facilities are sources of emissions, we are entering an era of radical transparency. As Andrew Zolli, CEO of Planet Labs, put it: “If you are running a company and involved in sustainability you will either surf this wave or it will crash over you.”

The Sustainable Innovation Forum drew to a close after its second day of impactful content, featuring innovative ideas and crucial and actionable takeaways. Day 2 opened with a keynote address from Patricia Espinosa, CEO and Founding Partner, Onepoint5 where she discussed the government's role in renewable Energy. Ban Ki-moon, Former Secretary-General, United Nations also shared his wisdom.

Key takeaways and action points included the increasing role of the private sector in leveraging investment to de-risk and scale up and the importance and the essential implementation of Article 64 for carbon markets. It is vital we use science and technology to innovate as we are likely to lose 75% of coral reefs globally even if we meet 1.5 degrees.

We also heard about the need to start with indigenous knowledge from the IIED and the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator, learnt about Guernsey’s leadership in circular economy, debated the value of carbon markets with Herbert Smith Freehills – and so much more!


Don’t miss day three…

Questions over climate finance continue on Wednesday 6th Dec at our flagship Sustainable Finance Forum. Come down to hear from banks, insurers and investors at this event co-hosted by the PRI and UNEP FI. Speakers will include the CEO of Bankers for Net Zero and representatives from HSBC, BNP Paribas, WWF, Microsoft, and the Global Reporting Initiative.

Also at Climate Action Innovation Zone, UK Climate Action Forum will address how the UK community can accelerate local, regional and global action. COP26 President Sir Alok Sharma MP makes another appearance, joined by Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol; Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce; Vice-Chancellor of University of Exeter and more.

Meanwhile, tomorrow on the Island of Hope focuses on blue economy, biodiversity and the ocean, with speakers including ILO, Marine Institute of Ireland, Fauna & Flora, and Re:wild.

Registrations remain open and everyone’s welcome. We can promise great content, great coffee, and lots of cool, quiet spaces to work – not to mention (free!) cocktails daily from 6 ‘til 8pm: