The focus of attention in Dubai this week turns to the environment, as the emirate plays host to two major ecologically-focused events that will emphasise sustainability.
First is the 19th annual Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (Wetex), running from October 23 to 25 at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), swiftly followed by the 4th annual World Green Economy Summit (WGES).
WGES will run from October 24 to 25, at the same venue.
The two events are being held in conjunction with the 2nd edition of the Dubai Solar Show, as part of Dubai’s Green Week.
Wetex’s theme this year is ‘At the Forefront of Sustainability,’ as it seeks to bring together key industry players from around the world under one roof.
The event covers all aspects of water, from its treatment, to desalination plants and pipes of all kinds, to coolers and heaters, as well as other products and solutions.
Organised by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), this year’s event takes place amid a growing concern for the region’s water security.
In the UAE, for example, demand for water is estimated at 4.2 billion cubic metres per year, one of the highest in the world. Despite having some of the lowest available water resources anywhere in the world, in the UAE, water consumption amounts to 550 litres per capita.
This is compared with the average international water consumption of just 170-300 litres per day.
Given the UAE’s location in an arid area, it has only a small amount of underground water and relies heavily on other water resources, such as desalinated seawater.
Many of the technologies on display at Wetex this week will seek to answer the dilemma of how to provide sustainable water to such a thirsty country, located in such a dry place, experts predict.
Wetex will also have tools, equipment and accessories for digging technologies, pumps, valves, the latest advances in irrigation systems, agriculture and horticultural equipment and water extraction equipment. With a focus on water conservation, the event will include products for detecting and treating water leaks, reservoir lining, and various materials used in the water sector and for water transportation.
Later on in the week, Dubai will witness the return of WGES. This year’s summit will highlight three key issues facing the green economy, according to organiser Saeed Al Tayer, CEO of Dewa.
These are innovation and technology, finance and investment, and leadership and policy.
Organisers hope that stakeholders and policymakers will work together at the summit to tackle some of the challenges created by climate change.
On this point, Al Tayer told assembled media last week at a press conference that “the world today...is feeling the impact of climate change. We are in dire need of adapting to these changes.”
He said that people often mistook climate change for a merely environmental problem.
“Rising sea levels and so on are not the only impact [of climate change]. Climate change will impact the economy, reaching social and health organisations,” Al Tayer said.
“The private and public sectors must sit together looking to curb their carbon footprint,” he added.
The head of Dewa also confirmed that the government body had finalised funding for its Dh100 billion ($27 billion) green investment fund.
He said that the fund’s headline investors, and the amount so far raised, would be announced on the first day of WGES.
“The amount we will start the fund with will be announced … during the first day of the WGES,” said Al Tayer, adding: “We have finalised [deals] with some funds, both locally and externally.”
The fund was established in 2016 to offer loans to investors in the clean energy sector at reduced interest rates, whilst investing directly in to green companies.
Al Tayer confirmed that the fund’s intention was still to target Dh100 billion in investment, to be spent on “different types of projects, whether it is renewable, retro-fitting, or green projects, mostly related to efficiency … on the demand side and the supply side.”