Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is fostering potentially planet-saving innovations

The UAE's commitment to sustainability is a a foundational principle, as ADSW demonstrates

On Wednesday, three researchers were awarded a grant of $5 million for their work on rain enhancement.   Chris Whiteoak / The National
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This country's commitment to "sustainable practices" and "reducing its environment footprint" is not a recent undertaking. It is, in fact, as Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, told the attendees at last year's Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), a foundational principle of this country. The ADSW has emerged as a leading forum for the exchange of ideas and the development of solutions in the pursuit of sustainable development.

This year's session of the ADSW has drawn experts from virtually every corner of the world; there will be innovations down the years that will directly be traceable to this year's gathering. Subjects that have long been neglected have been thrown into sharp relief. The International Water Summit on Wednesday addressed water security. Diminishing water resources, one of the most overlooked topics in discussions about climate change, is perhaps the greatest threat facing tens of millions of people in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. As freshwater becomes scarce, competition for what remains intensifies and the possibility of conflict grows. Averting such a crisis ought to be a top priority for policymakers everywhere.


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On Wednesday, three researchers were awarded a grant of $5 million for their work on rain enhancement. The trio – comprising professor Eric Frew of the University of Colarado, who is researching the use of drones to seed clouds; Dr Lulin Xue of Beijing's HuaXin ChuangZhi Science and Technology Centre, who is trying to broaden our understanding of rain enhancement; and professor Ali Abhashev of the Rain Suppression Research Centre in Nalchik, Russiaa, who is studying the creation of artificial updrafts in crowds – who were selected from a pool of more than 200 competitors for the grant will now collaborate and share their research with global institutions. By rewarding and empowering researchers directly, the ADSW is accelerating the search for workable solutions. In this quest, as Sheikh Mohammed said last year, sustainability week and the UAE are honouring the "legacy of promoting sustainability left behind by the late Sheikh Zayed".

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