Abu Dhabi, UAE, January 16, 2018 – His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, today stated that His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed, President of the UAE, has always guided the UAE towards educating young people on the principles of sustainable development, in line with the vision and approach of the UAE’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
HH Sheikh Mohammed stressed this as he attended the Opening Ceremony of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), which is being held this year under the theme ‘Driving the Global Energy Transformation’. ADSW 2018 will include government ministers, representatives of international organisations and industry experts, among more than 35,000 participants representing 175 countries.
HH Sheikh Mohammed welcomed policy and business leaders from across the world as they came together to discuss global sustainability challenges, to engage in constructive dialogue and agree viable and effective strategies for a more sustainable future. The ceremony was witnessed by HE Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the President of Mauritania, Danny Faure, the President of Seychelles, and His Royal Highness Prince Al-Hussein Bin Abdullah II, Crown Prince of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, as well representatives of other countries.
HH Sheikh Mohammed pointed out that the focus of this year's ADSW on youth confirms the UAE’s confidence and belief in the role of young people as the cornerstone for maintaining the momentum of sustainable development. He stressed that the future cannot be discussed without ensuring an effective role for young people, including investment in developing their talents and equipping them with the skills to be sustainability leaders.
He stressed that Abu Dhabi is committed to continuing its pioneering efforts to ensure energy security through a diverse mix that includes hydrocarbons and clean and renewable resources, while the provision of strategic platforms such as the World Future Energy Summit and the International Water Summit, which is focused on water and food security, enables key stakeholders to discuss the issues defining the sustainability agenda.
The ceremony began with the national anthem of the UAE and included the participation of UAE student Alia Al Mansouri, winner of the 'Genes in Space' competition, as an outstanding example of how talented UAE youth are actively helping to deliver practical solutions to sustainability challenges.
Delivering the welcome address to the ADSW Opening Ceremony, His Excellency Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, said:
“As scientific breakthroughs become every-day reality, we must take full advantage of the energy, ingenuity and optimism of our young people. Investing in youth is always imperative, but this generation, the first to be digitally native, is very special. They are uniquely equipped to adapt to the rapid advances of this era.
This year’s ADSW is therefore intentionally focused on “generation next”. Their outlook is not defined by the limits of the past, but liberated by the possibilities of the future.”
“Today we have the means and the technology to achieve even greater progress on the three fundamental pillars of sustainability: Economic, Social and Environmental,” Dr. Sultan added. “First and foremost, Artificial Intelligence is beginning to rival human intelligence, increasing productivity and stimulating smart growth. Ultra high speed internet is collapsing distances, linking businesses, connecting families and building virtual communities. And big predictive data is beginning to transform the energy sector, enhancing efficiency and optimizing resource use.”
The event included a recorded video address by renowned physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who stressed the importance of engaging and supporting future sustainability leaders. This was followed by a diverse international Youth Panel in which representatives from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, China, the USA and South Korea discussed their ideas about climate, energy and economic development. Despite their different cultures and backgrounds, they were united by a shared ambition to help create a more sustainable future.
The Opening Ceremony was followed by a high level lunch hosted by senior UAE government and business leaders, providing a platform for around 150 of the world’s foremost sustainability leaders from government, business and academia to engage in networking and discussion, while agreeing on the actions needed to meet increasing global energy demand growth.
The afternoon programme included a series of high level panel discussions, beginning with an opening address from His Excellency Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and closed by H.E. Miroslav Lajčák, the 72nd President of the United Nations General Assembly and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Slovak Republic.
Industry and policy leaders who participated in the panel discussions included His Excellency Shri Singh, Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Republic of India, and His Excellency Adnan Z. Amin, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Addressing key global trends that are impacting the shift to sustainable energy, including climate change, urbanisation, and digitization, ADSW is this week hosting major delegations from China, India, Japan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as well as 650 exhibiting companies from 40 countries.
Numerous activities during the week are aimed at engaging young people, including the annual Student Exclusive, a Youth Circle, and the Student Ambassadors Programme. In addition, the Climate Innovation Exchange (CLIX), which is being held under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, will provide emerging entrepreneurs and innovators with the chance to forge partnerships with leading global investors.
ADSW 2018 began on January 13-14 with the sixth General Assembly of IRENA. The anchor event of ADSW, from January 16-18, is the 11th World Future Energy Summit (WFES), the world’s foremost exhibition and conference dedicated to the advancement of renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology. Other key events will include the 6th International Water Summit, the 5th EcoWaste exhibition and conference; the third UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science Awards ceremony; and The Festival at Masdar City.