Capital welcomes the world

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week will see 33,000 attendees from more than 170 countries turn out for what is set to be the biggest sustainability event in the Middle East, according to Masdar.

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Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week today opens its doors to welcome an expected 33,000 visitors from more than 170 countries at what promises to be the biggest event of its kind in the Middle East, according to Masdar.

World leaders and businesses at the event are expected to take steps to identify and implement answers to the world’s most pressing challenges in sustainable development.

Enrique Pena Nieto, president of Mexico, and Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, will deliver keynote addresses to global leaders at Monday’s opening ceremony in Abu Dhabi.

Mr Pena Nieto said Mexico understood the challenges of climate change as well as the economic benefits of investing in sustainable development.

“Mexico underscores the critical role that developing countries have to play in promoting sustainable economic and social development through adopting renewable energy and ensuring water security all the while focusing on keeping climate change in check,” he said.

Both he and Mr Ban earmarked the event as a chance for Abu Dhabi to showcase its aspirations in terms of domestic renewable energy investment and its role in the global community.

The week’s agenda will include annual meetings of several participant organisations.

The sixth assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency, Irena, will take place today and tomorrow.

Winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize will also be announced during sustainability week, on Monday, when the US$4 million (Dh14.7m) in prizes will be given out to recognise and reward excellence in renewable energy and sustainability.

The Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy initiative will host its first full-day conference on Wednesday, and will include the announcement of partnerships aimed at empowering women to become leaders in sustainability.

In addition, the Young Future Energy Leaders will gather local and international representatives at the World Future Energy Summit for conferences and other programmes.

Sustainability week will also be a place for heads of state – including leaders from the Pacific Island states, Morocco and Eastern Europe – to address the issue of growing energy and water needs, the challenges of urbanisation, and the priorities of climate change mitigation.

“There is no single solution to meeting the world’s growing energy needs. As a leading hydrocarbon exporter, we have long recognised the importance of investing in new technologies to maintain our energy leadership and ensure a diversified, secure energy future,” Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and chairman of Masdar.

He added that the UAE is progressing with its goal of trying to achieve long-term economic prosperity by diversifying its economy, particularly in renewable energy.

“Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is an important reflection of the UAE leadership’s economic and energy diversification goals, which are aimed at achieving sustainable development. Our experience shows that advancing these goals presents an unparalleled economic opportunity, one that will lead to more jobs, more innovation, and more prosperity,” said Dr Al Jaber.

Following the recently adopted Paris Agreement, sustainability week will serve as the first major international gathering aimed at mitigating climate change in 2016 with an entire day dedicated to following up on pledges made last year.

As part of ADSW, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ADFD, will unveil the results of its third cycle of funding for renewable energy projects in developing countries as part of the collaboration with the International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA.

As part of the initiative, ADFD provides loans worth US$50 million in each cycle to renewable energy projects including wind, solar, hybrid, organic materials, thermal and hydropower.

nalwasmi@thenational.ae