United Arab Emirates

الإمارات العربية المتحدة

Core analysis conducted in August 2021.

Overall NDC Equity Score



Emissions Reductions


The NDC’s emission reduction goal lacks ambition and a clear plan towards net zero, but does make an effort to increase renewable energy.


Gender Justice


The NDC briefly mentions initiatives taken to increase the engagement of women in climate governance but largely fails to mainstream gender across sectors.


Youth Inclusion


NDC makes a strong effort to achieve meaningful youth inclusion.


The UAE is not legally obligated to have binding emission reduction targets, however, as one of the world’s 6th largest exporter of oil in the world, the country plays a very important role in tackling the climate crisis. The UAE’s NDC aims for a decrease in emissions of 23.5% of 2016 levels by 2030. The UAE lacks a defined net-zero target and a long-term strategy for reaching emissions reductions, including no mention of the emissions reductions target in its 2017-2050 National Climate Plan. Though its 2050 Energy Strategy indicates a goal to achieve 50% renewable and nuclear energy, it clearly indicates a continued reliance on coal and natural-gas based energy systems. Even while serving as the 28th Presidency of the UNFCCC, the UAE did not raise ambition on its targets, goals, or national policies, indicating the country’s lack of commitment towards the Paris Agreement 1.5 degree Goal.


On gender mainstreaming, the NDC briefly mentions initiatives taken to increase the engagement of women in climate decision-making and governance. For example, one key initiative that the NDC mentions is the Mubadala’s Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER), which brings together women professionals in climate, energy, and sustainability, by facilitating growth for women professionals through training and networking opportunities. Additionally, the NDC elaborates on gender equity initiatives for the advancement of the 2030 Global Goals Agenda and highlights the formation of the Gender Balance Council that’s mandated to improve gender equality across the government sector. Despite positive recognition of the role of women, the NDC fails to recognize the unique vulnerabilities of women and girls to climate change or provide gender disaggregated data.


On youth inclusion, the UAE’s NDC is among the strongest in the world. With over half of the UAE’s population being under the age of 30, the NDC acknowledges the crucial need for youth involvement in climate action. Further, it mentions the need for continued investments in youth capacity-building for climate action and their engagement on climate issues, including through initiatives such as the Emirates Youth Climate Strategy in 2018, the Arab Youth Centre and Youth Council for Climate Change, Youth Circle events on climate and sustainability, and eco-tourism camps, and the Masdar Youth for Sustainability Platform, launched in 2020, that supports the UAE’s knowledge-economy transformation by enabling young people to become active environmental leaders through mentorship and engagement opportunities. Youth inclusion was also a fundamental pillar of their Presidency efforts in which they helped formalize a Youth Climate Champions position and brought over 100 youth from vulnerable countries to COP28.


  • Acknowledges the need to continue increasing capacity building initiatives to encourage young peoples' active participation
  • Clearly defines the role of young people in climate action
  • Outlines women empowerment initiatives and the strong role of women in the energy and climate industry
  • Indicates people with disabilities, young people's, and women's' disproportionate vulnerability to the climate crisis
  • Incorporates mitigation and adaptation priorities


  • Heavy focus on carbon capture and storage technologies rather than reducing fossil fuel use
  • Indicates a future reliant on fossil fuels
  • Fails to provide clear gender and youth disaggregated data
  • Lack of clear indicators for how young people's and women's' perspectives were included in the NDC
  • Lacks awareness of opportunities to strengthen inclusivity

Key Recommendations

The UAE’s NDC indicates a very strong and inclusive engagement process in the design of the NDC as well as a strong recognition of the role of both of these groups in climate action at all scales. However, considering that a majority of the COP Presidency team was composed of men and the apparent lack of gender and youth disaggregated data,

it’s unclear if the country is putting on a facade of inclusivity. Be that as it may, the NDC is a model of inclusivity that many other countries can learn from. The following are key recommendations for the improvement of future NDCs and other national climate plans:

For Gender Justice

  • Transparently indicate the extent of involvement of women in drafting the NDC
  • Provide data on how women and girls of the Emirates are vulnerable to the climate crisis
  • Indicate additional gaps and steps for improving gender equality as it relates to climate justice

For Youth Inclusion

  • Increase transparency of the process for youth delegates to attend international negotiations alongside policymakers
  • Highlight how UAE plans on implementing standardized Climate Change Education
  • Clearly indicate how the UAE will ensure credible and impartial climate science data is accessible, especially to young people
  • Provide data on how young people of the Emirates are vulnerable to the climate crisis
  • Indicate additional gaps and steps for improving youth inclusion as it relates to climate justice

NDC Ambassador - Author

Ayshka Najib

NDC Ambassador Ayshka Najib (she/her) is a UAE-based climate justice advocate working with the Fridays For Future (FFF) movement mainly in FFF MAPA (Most Affected People and Areas) and FFF Digital (FFFD). She is also a part of the Pass The Mic movement. A lot of her advocacy work revolves around amplifying the MAPA narrative and making the climate movement as well as activist spaces more accessible and inclusive. She also contributed as a delegate to the Mock COP and virtual Conference Of Youth (vCOY).

NDC Mentor

Sarah Alherthey

NDC Mentor Sarah Alherthey is a Business Development Manager for Renewable Energy in a private sector company and Climate Ambassador for the Global Youth Climate Network (GYCN) at the World Bank Group, a member of the global shapers in the World Economic Forum (WEF), a member of the International Youth Climate Movement  (YOUNGO) in the UNFCCC.

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Embracing Climate Equity to Shape an Equitable and Sustainable World

“2024 must be a year of ambitious emissions reduction and support for people facing the worsening effects of climate change. We need youth-led programs that grow understanding and accountability to build a livable future.”