Last week, the US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry was again flying around the world in support of President Biden’s determination to restore America’s leading credentials in the fight to combat climate change.  Last week, he visited the UAE as part of a wider trip that included stops in the UK and Bangladesh.

Ahead of this year’s major UN climate summit, COP 26, which is scheduled to take place in Glasgow, in November, the US and UAE announced their intention to work with other countries, including the UK, Denmark and Israel, to launch the Agriculture Innovation Mission (AIM) for Climate at COP26.  This is aimed at increasing and accelerating agricultural research and development over the next five years.

The UAE is not the only Gulf country that is acknowledging the challenges for the region posed by the fast-developing impacts of climate changes, including steady increases in mean temperatures and rise in sea levels.  Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have also indicated willingness to become more deeply involved as each of these Gulf countries publicly recognise that the Gulf region is becoming the most water-stressed region in the world.

The EU and GCC share many concerns in the face of the challenges posed by climate change.  As a response, experts have recommended that: “a further upgrading of EU-GCC cooperation is needed in terms of a higher level of coordination on environmental policies and positions and on setting up joint climate reduction projects/activities through the development of clean energy mechanisms.”

With John Kerry now taking a high-profile lead for the US ahead of COP26 later this year, it seems that the EU should also be looking towards the GCC for partnership, funding and shared climate R&D initiatives.  Brussels may be surprised by how far advanced Gulf thinking has progressed on this issue.  Wider European engagement with AIM for Climate appears to be one such vehicle that could deliver dividends for both regions.