Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week begins with message from China's Xi Jinping

China's leader calls Gulf states 'natural allies' in the battle to achieve development while protecting the environment

The Year of Zayed icon is lit up by solar lanterns in Abu Dhabi for the Zayed Sustainabiity Prize. Courtesy: Zayed Future Energy Prize
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The UAE’s leaders watched on as Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week officially got under way on Monday with a message of support from the president of China.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, arrived alongside Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to watch the opening ceremony in person.

In a video featuring Sir Richard Branson, the British entrepreneur and founder of Virgin Group, water security and technology were highlighted as key themes for this year's event.

And a message from President Xi Jinping, China’s leader, was delivered by Yang Jiechi, his special representative.

He described China and the Gulf states as “natural allies” in the battle to achieve development while protecting the environment.

“China will work with the UAE and others to build a clean and beautiful world,” he said. “Let us work together on global development and make it more sustainable the word over.

“For today’s China, green, low-carbon sustainable development has become an important part of a successful economic transformation.

“China highly commends the UAE for its efforts to protect the environment and promote sustainable development.”

In his opening remarks, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, minister of state and chairman of Masdar, which develops renewable energy projects, said this year would be crucial for sustainable development.

He noted the significant increase in the use of wind and solar power over the last decade, as well as a reduction in its cost, but made it clear that further action was needed.

“Today it is clear that the UAE has become a key convener of the global sustainability conversation,” he said. “We have injected confidence in renewable energy within our region and beyond our borders.

“We are building bridges across borders after bringing the public and private sectors together around a single common cause.

"As the world’s population grows… the mission of sustainable development becomes all the more imperative.”


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The event, held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, is the largest sustainability gathering in the Middle East.

It is focused on developing the understanding of social, economic and environmental issues linked to sustainable development.

Previous conferences attracted speakers such as Prince Charles of the UK and Queen Rania of Jordan.

It follows the International Renewable Energy Agency's general assembly, which was held in Abu Dhabi over the weekend.