Sharjah24 – WAM: Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, wrapped up a four-day visit to Germany, where she discussed opportunities for cooperation between the two countries with high-level government and parliamentary officials and key players from the private sector.
Hafsa Al Ulama, UAE Ambassador to Germany, accompanied the Minister on the trip.
The visit was part of the UAE’s efforts to build synergies with other countries in driving sustainable development and enhancing food security. Focus areas included climate action, clean energy, especially clean hydrogen, smart AgTech, and food trade.
Almheiri leveraged the trip to highlight the UAE’s global climate leadership, economic diversification agenda, and enabling environment for foreign direct investment (FDI).
The Minister said: “The UAE and Germany share a firm commitment to continuous progress, a passion for innovation, and an eagerness to embrace future trends. The visit offered us an ideal platform to exchange experience and expertise, and explore potential synergies in areas of mutual interest. As a global technology leader, Germany is at the forefront of coming up with innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges the world faces today, and is a valued partner in the UAE’s efforts to shape a better future.”
She added: “I would like to thank all the German officials that I met for their warm welcome and hospitality we have received during our trip. I look forward to translating the outcomes of our productive conversations into tangible projects that will help us build sustainable food systems, accelerate the transition to clean energy, fight climate change, and preserve our environment and natural resources for the next generations.”
On day one of the visit, the UAE Embassy in Berlin organized an expert discussion under the theme ‘International cooperation to progress on climate action’.
At the event, Almheiri addressed representatives of German government entities and research institutions as well as the private sector, spanning the full spectrum of energy and climate policy. She provided an overview of the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative that aligns with Germany’s ambition to reach net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2045, and emphasized the UAE’s keenness for the two countries to exchange lessons learnt in pursuing parallel pathways to climate neutrality.
The first two days, spent in Berlin, also featured a packed agenda of bilateral meetings with German officials. At the UAE Embassy, the Minister met with Oliver Krischer, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Dr Ophelia Nick, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and Niels Annen, Parliamentary State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Parliamentary state secretaries are members of the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag) that assist ministers with their portfolios.
Furthermore, Almheiri explored ways of strengthening cooperation in advancing the energy transition with Ellen von Zitzewitz, Director of Bilateral Energy Cooperation at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.
During her visit to the Bundestag, the Minister toured the premises in the company of Armin Laschet, Member of the Bundestag and former Minister President of the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and met with several spokespersons of German parliamentary factions. These included Jürgen Trittin, Foreign Policy Spokesperson of The Greens Faction, and Nils Schmid, Foreign Policy Spokesperson of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) Faction.
In addition, she held two trilateral meetings – the first with Carsten Träger, Spokesperson of the SPD Faction for Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, and Dr Nina Scheer, Spokesperson of the SPD Faction for Climate and Energy, and the second with Dr Katja Leikert, Chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) Faction on the Bundestag’s Committee on Family Affairs, Seniors, Women and Youth, and Jürgen Hardt, Foreign Policy Spokesperson of the CDU/CSU Faction.
Almheiri also enjoyed a lively discussion on the UAE and Germany’s shared commitment to environmental protection with Steffi Lemke, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection. The last meeting on the Berlin leg of the trip was with Renata Alt, Chairwoman of the Bundestag’s Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid.
On day three, the Minister met with several officials of the Bavarian State Government in Munich. Among these were Dr Markus Söder, Minister-President of Bavaria, and Roland Weigert, State Secretary for Economic Affairs.
In addition, she delivered introductory remarks at the North Africa Middle East Initiative of German Business (NMI) Executive Roundtable in Munich, where she outlined the main opportunities for cooperation between the UAE and Germany as well as the advantages the UAE offers foreign companies and investors.
The visit culminated in Almheiri’s participation in the two-day Munich Security Conference (MSC) in the presence of Olaf Scholz, German Federal Chancellor, Helga Maria Schmid, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Alok Sharma, President of COP26, and John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. The world’s largest gathering dedicated to international security policy convened officials of global organizations as well as ministers and representatives of leading companies from around the world.
The Minister joined Cem Özdemir, German Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, and Werner Baumann, Chairman of Bayer AG, at the ‘Seed Change Needed: Ensuring Food Security’ townhall to examine ways of eradicating world hunger. She also shared the UAE’s vision for an inclusive COP28 at the ‘Good COPs: Aligning International Climate Diplomacy’ townhall.
On the sidelines of the conference, Almheiri attended the High-level Investors Roundtable at the Angermayer Policy & Innovation Forum, hosted by German serial entrepreneur and investor Christian Angermayer. The event brought together a group of high-profile international investors with political decision makers to discuss geopolitical developments and investment opportunities in an off-record setting. In her introductory statement, the Minister shed light on the UAE’s growing appeal as an investment destination, and invited the audience to benefit from the wealth of FDI opportunities in the country.
During the conference, Almheiri met with Wolfgang Schmidt, German Federal Minister for Special Affairs and Head of the Chancellery, and Omid Nouripour, Co-Chairman of The Greens. In addition, she joined Dr Anna Lührmann, Minister of State for Europe and Climate at the German Federal Foreign Office, and Jennifer Morgan, soon-to-be Special Envoy for International Climate Policy of the German Government, for a dinner discussion under the theme ‘Climate, Peace and Stability: Building a better climate for peace’.
The Minister also met with Dr Christian Bruch, President and CEO of Siemens Energy, and Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. They discussed the role of the private sector in advancing sustainable development, as well as the significant contributions of the two multinational conglomerates to this goal.
The trip concluded with a meeting with John Kerry and Cindy McCain, Permanent Representative of the US to the UN Agencies in Rome, and a separate meeting with Cem Özdemir.
The UAE and Germany enjoy long-standing strong ties that were taken to new heights with the signing of a joint strategic partnership statement in 2019. In May 2022, the two countries will celebrate the golden jubilee of their diplomatic relations.
The UAE is Germany’s biggest trading partner in the Arab region and the third most important re-exporter of German products in the world. In 2020, total non-oil trade volume between the two countries amounted to US$8.589 billion.