COP28 | Director Zhao Xiaolei of UNIDO ITPO Shanghai Delivers a Keynote Speech at the Joint Meeting of WUSME, EpE, and RCREEE


The United Nations Climate Change Conference is a large annual government-level meeting with climate action as its main theme. It serves as the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The 28th COP, hosted by the United Arab Emirates, took place from November 30 to December 12, 2023, in Dubai's Expo City. The theme of COP28 was "Unit, Act, Deliver" where 198 sovereign countries, the contracting parties, showcased the latest achievements and development directions in mitigating and addressing climate change, emphasizing environmental protection, sustainable development, carbon neutrality, and more.


On December 3rd, during Peace Day at the COP28, a tripartite joint meeting was organized by the World Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (WUSME), the French Business Environmental Association (EpE), and the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE) in the Blue Zone of the Dubai Global Climate Action Summit. Shanghai ITPO Director Zhao Xiaolei participated in the meeting and delivered a keynote speech.


The conference focused on "MSMEs' facing energy transition: Innovative solutions in finance & technology for value chains" It gathered important partners and renowned opinion leaders to discuss industrial technological solutions and financial solutions for SMEs in the context of green transformation. 


The joint meeting was chaired by Mr. Michel Fossaert, member of the WUSME Board of Directors. The opening remarks were delivered by Ms. Barbara Terenzi, President of WUSME, Mr. Ken Guiltaux, Climate Change Affairs Manager at EpE, and Mr. Jauad El Kharraz, Executive Director of RCREEE. The inaugural speeches also included contributions from Mr. Bertrand Piccard, Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation, Ms. Xiaolei Zhao, Head of UNIDO Shanghai ITPO, Dr. Jauad El Kharraz of RCREEE, Ms. Julia Maris, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Engie Group, Dr. J.S. Juneja, member of the WUSME Board of Directors, Mr. Pierre-Yves Pouliquen, Director of Sustainable Development at Veolia, Dr. Lee G. Lam, member of the WUSME Board of Directors, and Mr. Arthur Minsat, Senior Economist and Head of the AEME Department at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The keynote speeches were insightful and impactful, featuring memorable quotes. Below are selected excerpts from the speeches of the invited guests.


Excerpts from the speech by Bertrand Piccard, Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation:
"Combating climate change is not only an urgent need but also a key to economic development."
"Technological progress and efficiency improvement are shortcuts to achieving economic prosperity."

Excerpts from the speech by ZHAO Xiaolei, Head of UNIDO ITPO Shanghai:

"Investment promotion and technology cooperation are feasible measures to help SMEs cope with regulatory, technological, and financial challenges."

"We call for strengthened collaboration between governments and businesses to create an inclusive environment for SMEs."

Excerpts from the speech by J.S. Juneja, Member of Board of Directors of WUSME:

"An important step India is taking to fulfill its energy transition commitment is increasing attention to the energy needs of micro, small, and medium enterprises."

"To achieve the goal of keeping global warming below 1.5% by 2050, global cooperation is crucial!"

Excerpts from the speech by Jauad El Kharraz, Executive Director of RCREEE:

"Regulatory frameworks, financing, and technological development are necessary conditions for achieving the global plan to increase renewable energy capacity."

"Awareness of technological innovation and financial opportunities for SMEs should be increased to promote sustainable development."

Excerpts from the speech by Julia Maris, Deputy Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at ENGIE:

"The ENGIE-created alliance 'PMEs' project with the French government is dedicated to helping SMEs achieve decarbonization more quickly and forcefully."

"The logic of cooperation between large companies and SMEs is complementary and mutually beneficial."

Excerpts from the speech by Pierre-Yves Pouliquen, Sustainable Development Director at Veolia:

"Collaboration between large companies and local SMEs is crucial, with each playing its role in facing common challenges."

"The innovation of SMEs enhances the quality of technological cooperation."

Excerpts from the speech by Arthur Minsat, Senior Economist and Head of the AEME Department at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):

"The African continent has enormous potential in entrepreneurship and innovation."

"I urge everyone to work together to create a prosperous future for SMEs."

Excerpts from the speech by Lee G. Lam, Member of the Board of Directors of WUSME:

"Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles should be considered a core part of modern risk management."

"Digital technology is key for businesses to seize ESG opportunities."

The joint meeting gathered a group of experts, with participants focusing on the energy transition of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Drawing on practical experiences from various countries, they proposed measures and recommendations, envisioning future trends. On the international platform of COP28, they put forth feasible solutions and forward-looking guidance for the sustainable development of SMEs worldwide. Key areas of attention included addressing SME financing issues, advocating for the collaboration between public and private sectors in investments, and strengthening international platform cooperation.


The urgent need for attention to SME financing issues was emphasized, particularly calling for governments worldwide to establish relevant legal frameworks to ensure smooth channels for SMEs to access new energy technologies and effective financing. It's acknowledged as a challenging journey, and perseverance from all stakeholders is crucial.


The imperative to maintain a combination of investments from both the public and private sectors was highlighted. Drawing on existing precedents in this field, the hope is to continue promoting and gaining government attention and support. Financial institutions can allocate funds to specific businesses in the private sector that may not receive immediate investment. Over two decades of development have demonstrated the necessity and success of collaboration between public and private sectors in energy investment and project development. Such collaboration creates more business opportunities and is a necessary condition for achieving sustainable development goals and energy transition.


There is a call for international cooperation platforms to further strengthen their focus on energy investments. Through closer international collaboration, countries can share experiences, resources, and best practices, collectively addressing global energy challenges. This collaboration aims to drive innovation and sustainable development in the energy sector, providing SMEs with broader development opportunities.


Hosts of the Joint Side Event






WUSME aims to contribute to a new paradigm of growth based on SMEs as a driving force for each country and society to reach substantial, inclusive, and sustainable social progress. WUSME works for the promotion of a system of knowledge, research, and innovation that puts the entrepreneur and the ability to create welfare through enterprise at the center, in which traditional knowledge is to be integrated with new digital technologies.






Entreprises pour l’Environnement(EpE), created in 1992, gathers some 60 French and international large companies from all sectors of the economy, committed to the ecological transition. Its purpose, a single planet and a thriving world, sums up the will of its members to lead their own ecological transition and that of society and to build, together and with their stakeholders, an economic development compatible with the planetary boundaries, socially accepted and even desired. The association is the French partner of the WBCSD.





The Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE) is an intergovernmental organization with diplomatic status that aims to enable and increase the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency practices across pan-Arab countries. RCREEE is the official technical arm institution of both the League of Arab States – Energy Department and the Arab Ministerial Council for Electricity (AMCE).