Abu Dhabi: A global event to address the challenges of climate change and accelerate sustainable development was opened in the capital on Monday in the presence of top officials.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE, attended the opening ceremony of the ninth edition of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), one of the world’s largest sustainability gatherings.

“Over the last decade, Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week has doubled in size, representing 175 countries. And today, it is evident that the UAE has become a key convener for the global sustainability conversation,” said Dr Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, at the opening ceremony and the award ceremony of the Zayed Sustainability Prize.

“The UAE’s pursuit of renewables is a natural extension of our existing energy leadership and commitment to sustainability. It is a reflection of our leaders’ dedication to addressing global challenges, in close partnership with the global community,” Al Jaber said.

“We are building bridges across borders and bringing the public and private sector together around a single common cause. As the world’s population grows to 10 billion by 2050, and drives demand for energy and resources, the mission of sustainable development will become all the more critical,” he pointed out.

“This imperative is embedded in the UAE’s Vision 2071. A vision that seeks to leverage disruptive technology and breakthrough innovation, to advance our energy leadership, further diversify our economy and truly achieve sustainable development,” Al Jaber said.

“As we enter the fourth industrial age, the artificial intelligence, big data and internet of things are multiplying efficiencies and redefining possibilities across each and every industry. This era of industrial convergence has the potential to completely transform the sustainability landscape,” he said.

“And at this year’s ADSW we are focusing on the symbiotic relationship between sectors to create lasting and tangible impact across every facet of sustainability: environmental, social and economic,” the minister said.

Themed ‘Industry Convergence: Accelerating Sustainable Development’, the event at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) has attracted participants from 175 nations, including heads of states and governments, senior ministers, business leaders and experts.

Under the patronage of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the event began with the ninth Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) that held from Friday to Sunday and would end with the two-day festival at Masdar City on January 18 and 19.