The Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), His Excellency Jamal Abdulla Al Suwaidi, embarked on a significant diplomatic mission recently, paying a courtesy call on Prime Minister Hon. James Marape. This meeting followed the presentation of his credentials to Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae at Government House, Konedobu, marking a pivotal moment in bilateral relations.
H.E. Al Suwaidi’s unique position as concurrently accredited to Papua New Guinea from Singapore signifies the deepening of UAE’s engagement with the Pacific region. During the courtesy call, Ambassador Al Suwaidi delivered the Official Letter of Invitation from the UAE Government for Prime Minister Marape’s attendance at the 28th Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) World Leaders’ Summit, scheduled to take place in Dubai from December 1-2, 2023.
Prime Minister Marape graciously accepted the invitation, recognising the importance of global cooperation in addressing climate change. He outlined his intention to lead a delegation to Dubai for COP28, accompanied by the Ministers for Environment Conservation and Climate Change, International Trade and Investment, and Forestry. In the forestry sector, he aims to establish an arrangement for direct trade of timber products to the UAE market.
Recognising the global imperative to reduce carbon emissions, Prime Minister Marape emphasised the importance of partnering with the UAE in managing carbon footprints as both countries transition toward greener economies. He reaffirmed PNG’s commitment to conservation and reforestation, with 30 per cent of its forests dedicated to preserving and restoring the environment for future generations.
Prime Minister Marape pledged to amplify these concerns at the forthcoming COP28 meeting in Dubai, advocating for compensation for Pacific Island Forum (PIF) member countries affected by global warming. He also emphasised the need to safeguard oceans and marine ecosystems.
Prime Minister Marape shared his initial hesitation to attend the conference, rooted in concerns expressed at the One Forest Summit in Gabon earlier this year. However, he realised the importance of collective voices shedding light on the impacts of climate change, particularly on the people of Papua New Guinea and the greater Pacific.
Prime Minister Marape conveyed sincere gratitude to the UAE Government for successfully hosting the World Exposition in 2022 and for generously funding and providing the PNG Pavilion. This support elevated Papua New Guinea’s international standing as a business, investment, and tourist destination, showcasing its rich cultural heritage and traditions.
In a parallel initiative, the UAE will also provide a PNG Pavilion at COP28, offering a platform to promote PNG’s diverse cultures, traditions, and abundant natural resources.
Regarding the current bilateral relations, Prime Minister Marape expressed his satisfaction with the significant progress made over the years. To further enhance cooperation, he announced plans to convene a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of COP28 with the President of the UAE, focusing on potential and emerging areas of collaboration.
The discussions with Ambassador Al Suwaidi also touched on strengthening ties through the negotiation of an air service agreement, increasing trade and investment in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, oil and gas sectors, and fostering cooperation in solar energy, skills development, and capacity building.
Ambassador Al Suwaidi, in response, expressed his appreciation for the warm hospitality of the people of Papua New Guinea and recognized the vast potential for enduring economic trade and investment cooperation, climate change resilience, and environmental partnership between the UAE and Papua New Guinea.
This diplomatic encounter between Ambassador Al Suwaidi and Prime Minister Marape underscores the mutual commitment to deepening relations and addressing global challenges collaboratively.