Leaders at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week to drive climate action

Forum brings together heads of state and other key stakeholders to further environmental initiatives

South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol delivers keynote speech during opening ceremony of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2023. Photo: ADSW
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The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2023 sets the stage for this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (Cop28) and drives forward decisive action to help deliver a net-zero future.

Established in 2008, ADSW is a global initiative championed by the UAE and clean energy powerhouse Masdar to accelerate sustainable development and advance economic, social and environmental progress.

Running from January 14 to 19, this year’s event is one of the most significant yet.

Under the theme “United on Climate Action Towards Cop28”, ADSW 2023 demonstrates the UAE’s commitment to practical and inclusive action to decarbonise industries and lead the green energy transition.

The event brings together heads of state, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, senior policymakers and youth to further sustainability initiatives and climate action globally.

Held under the patronage of President Sheikh Mohamed, ADSW 2023 provides a global platform for collaboration to transform sustainability pledges into practical solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

“There has never been a more critical time for global leaders to come together to advance our collective needs for climate action,” said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, President-designate of Cop28, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and chairman of Masdar.

“Through ADSW 2023 and hosting Cop28 later in the year, the UAE is honoured to serve as a meeting place to gather the global community to discuss the issues, partnerships and solutions needed to meaningfully advance net zero in support of a better future for all.

“I look forward to welcoming my international counterparts and colleagues at ADSW 2023, which is sure to be the most impactful ADSW ever and will help set the stage for a productive Cop28.”

The week will focus on four themes: Partnering for action, technology and innovation, people, planet and profit; and the global energy transition. It will also explore critical topics including food and water security, energy access, industrial decarbonisation, health and climate adaptation.

“Climate and the energy transition sit at the core of national plans, and as a responsible global investor, Mubadala is working with sovereign wealth funds and investment partners to progress climate action and deliver positive outcomes for people and society,” said Khaldoon Al Mubarak, managing director and group chief executive of Mubadala Investment Company.

“Through our partnership with ADSW and as an investor in the energy transition for over 15 years, we are committed to utilising our networks and working with partners to scale the energy transition and support climate goals.

“ADSW has also proven itself to be an enabler of climate and energy innovation and sustainable technologies, and we are committed to carrying that momentum into Cop28 later this year.”

ADSW will also be a pivotal, strategic milestone ahead of the coming Cop28 in the UAE, which is focused on accelerating climate action by leveraging the outcomes of the first global stocktake of the Paris Agreement.

“ADSW has witnessed remarkable growth and development over the past years to become one of the leading global think tanks,” Awaidha Al Marar, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE), said.

“It adds to Abu Dhabi's distinguished and proven record in hosting international events, attracting global leaders, experts, specialists and operators in the energy and industrial sectors, to re-examine and evaluate the continuing efforts to reduce the effects of climate change, and the expansion of the deployment and use of clean energy.

“Abu Dhabi has set an ambitious sustainability agenda over the past 15 years and has taken important measures in this regard.

“The emirate now accounts for nearly 70 per cent of all renewable energy projects in the region, as well as being the first in the region to use carbon capture technology on an industrial scale, and the first to use peaceful nuclear energy.

“Up to 25 per cent of the UAE's electricity needs are expected to be produced from nuclear energy, reducing the emission of up to 21 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year.”

Mr Al Marar said ASDW “provides an incentive and opportunity to launch this journey by showcasing our efforts to increase the share of clean energy in electricity generation”.

“It also showcases our innovations in promoting energy efficiency to contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change to support the UAE's strategic initiative for climate neutrality by 2050 and achieving the emirate's ambitions for sustainable economic growth,” he added.

Jasim Thabet, group chief executive and managing director at Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa), said that ADSW will serve as a platform for Abu Dhabi's low-carbon power and water champion to engage with other industry leaders on the challenges of accelerating the global development of renewable power and other low carbon energy sources.

“ADSW is an excellent platform for exchanging expertise and knowledge on the innovative and sustainable technologies essential for delivering solutions to help in our fight against climate change,” Mr Thabet said.

“To safeguard future water security and deliver cleaner, emission-free energy, the international community needs to accelerate efforts for the transition towards renewable resources in line with ESG principles and global best practices.”

Supporting the UAE’s ambitions to achieve net zero by 2050, Taqa recently announced its own environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy that includes interim greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

“We have committed to a 25 per cent reduction across the group, including a 33 per cent reduction within our UAE portfolio by 2030 en route to delivering net zero by 2050,” he said.

With Cop28 on the horizon, Taqa, as one of the largest integrated utility companies in the region, “will leverage its global expertise to help drive discussions around the practical steps needed to tackle climate change and to capture the opportunities that come from delivering an emissions-free future”, Mr Thabet said.

This year’s summit will also include for the first time a dedicated Green Hydrogen Summit, from January 17-18. Green hydrogen is of growing importance as an energy resource, especially for the so-called hard-to-abate industries.

The summit will discuss developments in hydrogen production, conversion, transport, storage and use, and help shape the future of this key emerging sector.

Key events of ADSW 2023 include the Annual General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) on January 14-15, the opening ceremony and Zayed Sustainability Prize ceremony on January 16 and the ADSW summit on January 16 and 17.

Others include the World Future Energy Summit and the Youth 4 Sustainability Hub on January 16-18, Innovate Initiative from January 16-19, the WISER Forum on January 17, the Green Hydrogen Summit on January 18, and the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum on January 19.

Sustainability legacy

Since its inception, ADSW has brought together global leaders to discuss, engage and debate climate action and innovation that will ensure a sustainable world. More than 60 heads of state have attended.

ADSW host Masdar is advancing the development and deployment of renewable energy and green hydrogen technologies to address global sustainability challenges.

Established in 2006, Masdar is active in more than 40 countries, helping them to achieve their clean energy objectives and advance sustainable development.

Masdar is jointly owned by Adnoc, Mubadala Investment Company and Taqa, and under this ownership, the company is targeting a renewable energy portfolio capacity of at least 100 gigawatts by 2030 and an annual green hydrogen production capacity of up to 1 million tonnes by the same year.

Updated: January 16, 2023, 7:56 AM