Juergen Becker, State Secretary, German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety Image Credit: Supplied

The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety oversees Germany’s environment and conservation policies. Here State Secretary Juergen Becker talks about the potential of the UAE’s renewable energy sector.

“About 800 businesses, many of them from the renewables sector, are represented in the UAE, which is an excellent location for the German renewable energy sector and research institutes. 370,000 were employed in this sector in Germany in 2010. The renewables sector has considerable potential for fostering green growth in the UAE, and this will certainly be a focus of German business activities in the region. Masdar PV has been manufacturing thin-film solar panels near Ichtershausen in Thuringia since 2009, with a total investment of about $500 million (Dh1.83 billion). As a member of the solar valley — which is what we call this region in Germany — Masdar PV is part of a network of many pioneering companies from the solar sector, and benefits from the unique spirit in the valley, which boosts innovation and entrepreneurship. Masdar’s presence underlines the quality of the cooperation between our two countries in the area of renewable energy.

“We hope that our good bilateral cooperation on the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) will help to advance the expansion of renewable energies worldwide, which is a political priority for both countries. The UAE and Germany cooperate on the Multilateral Working Group on Wind and Solar Technologies, which Germany chairs together with Spain and Denmark under the Clean Energy Ministerial process. The UAE brings its expertise on resource measurement and assessments of renewable energy potential into the Working Group’s project of developing a global wind and solar atlas.

“Just over a year from now, the UAE will hold the Abu Dhabi International Renewable Energy Conference 2013. This series of conferences was launched with Renewables 2004 in Bonn, and Germany has been engaged in the follow-up process. The decision taken by the UAE to place a strong focus on renewable energy as a technology for the future, like Germany, lays a sound foundation for our close bilateral cooperation in this area.”

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The German Near and Middle East Association (NUMOV) is Germany’s oldest and largest service provider in promoting economic relations between Germany and the Near and Middle East. Former German Chancellor and Honorary Chairman Gerard Schroeder highlights the importance of Germany and the UAE’s deep and historic friendship.

“Germany has and continues to contribute to the diversification of the UAE’s economy through the realisation of urban development, an array of infrastructure projects and industrial development, among others. The expansion of airports and seaports, railways and subways, roads and bridges, is one among many sectors that exemplifies our mutual partnership.

“Germany’s foreign direct investment in the UAE totalled €1.18 billion (Dh6.07 billion) in 2009 alone with the UAE’s investment to Germany doubling from €136 million in 2008 to €242 million in 2009. Our mission is to promote trade and investment ties by identifying and addressing key areas of development, business opportunities and knowledge exchanges.

“The Emirati German Friendship Society was established to promote relations particularly in culture, science and education. Through a broadened perspective that combines research, culture, politics and economy, the society provides not only the understanding for complex development growth but also the opportunity to jointly initiate adequate concepts and projects.

“With the UAE’s far-reaching development plans and Germany’s know-how and high-quality products, both nations can make a valuable contribution in areas such as research, education and economy, especially through joint ventures.

“Germany and the UAE share a reliable and trustful relationship that reflects the positive and huge potential for growth in both countries.”

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The German Technical Cooperation now known as Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) supports the German government in achieving international cooperation for sustainable development. GIZ’s international services wing (GIZ IS) mainly focuses on three sectors: water, education and infrastructure. Regional Director for the Gulf Jeurgen Koch talks about GIZ’s role in helping the UAE boost its energy and infrastructure sector.

“Since 1995, we have been actively partnering with the UAE Ministry of Education in researching, developing, restructuring and implementing vocational workshops, managing and staffing key institutes, and teaching based on German standards in vocational education.

“In the energy and infrastructural sector, we are currently implementing an artificial recharge water project for Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority. Jointly executed with Dornier Consulting, it offers the opportunity to develop a reliable and sustainable large-scale fresh groundwater reservoir in a desert and is considered a milestone for securing the water supply of Abu Dhabi for the indefinite future. Once implemented, this project will represent a benchmark for water management in deserts, capable of redefining international standards. Additionally, GIZ and Dornier Consulting are erecting the first wind energy plant in Abu Dhabi, the first of its kind on the whole Arabian Peninsula.

“Recently, we conducted an Energy Efficiency Round Table in association with Konrad Adenauer Foundation under the umbrella of the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi. Experts from the Environment Agency, the Department of Municipal Affairs, Abu Dhabi Municipality and the Urban Planning Council presented their respective initiatives aimed at improving energy efficiency. The German Technical University also offered solutions on a new energy efficiency prototype for social housing.”

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Deutsche Bahn AG (DBAG) or the German National Railway Company is the second-largest transport firm in the world and the largest railway operator in Europe.
CEO Dr Ruediger Grube highlights DBAG’s partnership with the UAE to develop sustainable transport networks for the future.

“Deutsche Bahn has been active in the Middle East with a number of projects for modernisation/conception and design of new railway systems. Our focus areas are the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. This region bears an outstanding growth potential and will generate an important stimulus for the world economy.

“Our interest is to support the UAE in building a comprehensive and efficient transport network, which can provide a safe, efficient, competitive, economical and environmentally sustainable transport alternative to help cater to expected growth and traffic demands.

“We are involved in the development of a new, 1,200-km railway network; we advise the Emirates on the best possible operational concept, combination of locomotives and cars together with stations and cargo terminals.

“We have also been asked to study the technical and economical feasibility of a metro network in Abu Dhabi. We were also involved in designing the Light Rail Transit System Project for Al Raha Beach, close to Abu Dhabi International Airport.

“Transportation and mobility systems are crucial factors for economic growth. In ecological terms too, rail is certainly the most efficient mode of transport.

“The UAE has recognised this at a very early stage with corresponding support in promoting these projects. Our interest in the UAE is of a strategic nature and we look forward to becoming a strong, successful and trusting partner in the region.”

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The school is one of the best international schools in the UAE with institutions in Dubai and Sharjah. GISAD Director, Gerald Miebs, talks about its role in the Emirates.

“GISAD’s bilingual course of study in German and English is an internationally accepted qualification allowing graduates to study at renowned universities all over the world. We pay special attention to the international origins of our students. Intercultural education is a firm component of our educational theory. Our affinity to technical and scientific knowledge is reflected in our programme, as well as our partnership with TU 9, the association of the nine important technical universities in Germany.”

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DAFG advocates understanding, trust and cooperation between Germany and the Arab world. President Dr Otto Weisheu explains DAFG’s activities.

“One of DAFG’s first big events involved the official visit of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to Germany in February 2008, underlining the importance given to German-Emirati relations.

“The DAFG also supports the potential of economic co-operation between Germany and the UAE by initiating companies and business associations to meet and foster contacts and collaboration.”