In the Presence of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Tuesday inaugurated the first Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) during the opening ceremony of the sixth World Future Energy Summit, the fifth International Renewable Energy Conference and the first International Water Summit. ADSW is among the largest sustainability gatherings in the world, and the largest in the Middle East.
Attracting over 30,000 participants from 150 countries, including world leaders, policy makers, thought leaders, decision-makers, experts, scientists, business leaders and academics, the significant platform for international dialogue and cooperation will tackle the world’s pressing issues in energy, water and environment, accelerate the global adoption of renewable energy, address water challenges in arid regions, elevate the water – energy nexus topics on the global agenda, and encourage the dialogue between broad industry stakeholders to strengthen strategic partnerships as well as stimulate investment in water, energy and environment projects and empower the young generations and entrepreneurs.
Organised under the patronage of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed and hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, ASDW and its participating events will run until January 17 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
In his opening remarks, General Shaikh Mohamed bin Zayed said: “Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is an important platform, as the world must work together to address energy and water access, food security and tackle the consequences of climate change. The United Arab Emirates is committed to face this challenge and is pushing forward to accelerate clean energy and adopt sustainable development.
“Since its inception, the UAE has been dedicated to sustainable practices and to reducing its environmental footprint,” said Gen. Shaikh Mohammed. “Backed by the wise vision of the President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, we continue to cherish the legacy of promoting sustainability left behind by the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of the UAE.
“Delivering the world with important supplies of hydrocarbons for almost half a century, it’s natural for the UAE to invest and play an active role in diversifying the energy mix to include renewable sources of energy,” he continued. “Through initiatives like Masdar and hosting global platforms, the UAE is encouraging the collaboration, strategic partnerships and practical solutions necessary to seriously address the energy and climate challenge.
ADSW builds on the success of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES), the world’s foremost annual event dedicated to advancing future energy, energy efficiency and clean technologies. WFES has been hosted by Masdar since 2008.
This year’s opening ceremony included keynote speeches from Francois Hollande, the President of France, and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the President of Argentina.
Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan also took the stage and urged for more collaboration between Arab nations.
“By being here today, you’re already a part of the global solution to our energy crisis,” Queen Rania said. “Thank you, General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for your leadership. Your’s is a bold and courageous leadership that we need on this issue. Thank you, Masdar, and thank you Abu Dhabi for bringing us all together. I cannot think of a better place for us to gather. Abu Dhabi’s bold vision for sustainable energy is transforming this nation and inspiring our region. No one can predict the future, but this much is true: Energy requirements will play a vital role in determining it.”
Francois Hollande, the President of France, praised the UAE’s sustainability efforts, and highlighted the fact that Abu Dhabi hosts the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency: “I had seen this also by visiting the future city, the one you are building at the moment in Masdar City. We commend the country. We have to have confidence to invest in the new energy. We can act together to create this world of renewable energy. It’s an architectural challenge, an urban challenge and an economic challenge. It’s our economic duty to promote these kinds of energies like the ones we are promoting today, and we are obliged to make our planet livable for the next generation. We can see the demonstration of this here in the United Arab Emirates.”
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the president of Argentina, stressed the need to provide energy access to the poor.
“It is important to eradicate poverty,” she said. “We are trying to achieve universal access to energy for the year 2030. This is the energy of the future as we are all gathering today and we are talking about sustainable energy. It is very important to use renewable energy. We have an obligation to the quality of life. We are all responsible, but of course some of us have more responsibility than others.”
Expanding on the successes of the World Future Energy Summit, this year includes the inaugural International Water Summit, a global platform organized to address the water-energy nexus as well as water security. A natural extension of the UAE’s commitment to sustainability, the summit will bring together the critical leaders necessary to tackle critical water issues.
In his welcome message, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar, said:
“Together we share the responsibility to address the intricate balance between our rising economies, our growing societies and our limited resources. A balance that is crucial to achieving a sustainable future. And a balance that rests on two critical and deeply linked elements: energy and water. Without access to both, economic growth and human development cannot thrive, and poverty and conflict cannot be prevented.
The inaugural Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week brings together government leaders, unites the water and energy industry, and engages academic and financial institutions. This is our opportunity to work together, to commit to real action, to innovate, and to strike the balance crucial to build a sustainable future.
“The Abu Dhabi Sustainability week is the perfect setting to identify ways Masdar,and the UAE can work with the world to find practical solutions to our energy, water and sustainability challenges.”
The opening ceremony was also attended by: Shaikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Eastern Region, Shaikh Suroor bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Shaikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor, Shaikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation, Lt. General Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Shaikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, Shaikh Omar bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Charitable and Humanitarian Foundation, Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Public Works, Shaikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, Ahmed Juma Al Zaabi, Deputy Minister of Presidential Affairs, Lt. General Misbah Rashid Al Fattan, Director of the Office of the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and a number of Shaikhs, dignitaries, ministers, senior officials and heads of diplomatic missions in the country.
Through Masdar and global platforms like ADSW, Abu Dhabi has emerged as an international energy hub, promoting the adoption of sustainable development, renewable energy and raising awareness to the growing challenge of water security. Abu Dhabi unites the key industry players, including policy makers, thought leaders, private sector experts and scientific scholars, necessary for action. Abu Dhabi is also the proud headquarters to the International Renewable Energy Agency, the world’s first intergovernmental organisation fully dedicated to renewable energy.
ADSW consists of five integrated events: the sixth World Future Energy Summit; the International Renewable Energy Conference; the International Water Summit; and the fifth Zayed Future Energy Prize Awards Ceremony. Other events also taking place during ADSW include the first energy ministerial of South American and Arab countries (ASPA) and the Global Green Growth Institute Council meeting.