Abu Dhabi: The second edition of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) will focus on the interconnected challenges and opportunities of sustainable growth, with particular focus on the energy-water nexus and sustainable waste management.
ADSW and its participating conferences and exhibitions will take place in Abu Dhabi from January 18-24, the organiser of the event, Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, announced.
With the global population now exceeding seven billion, managing the world’s resources is critical for future generations, a Masdar press release said.
As one of the largest gatherings on sustainability in the world, the ADSW is driving progress on energy, water and waste issues. The international platform offers an opportunity for public and private sector decision makers, investors and innovators to address sustainable development. It also encourages investments related to the adoption of renewable energy, efficient water technologies and waste management solutions.
As global energy and political leaders continue to debate effective avenues for sustainable growth, the need to harmonise the defining factors of sustainability — environmental, social and economic — remains at the heart of the discussion.
“Over the past year, sustainable growth has been at the top of the global agenda. By 2030, as many as five billion people will live in cities which will require us to efficiently manage resources, such as water, energy and waste,” Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chief executive officer of Masdar, said.
Water, energy and waste are at the core of the discussions at ADSW. The United Nations has estimated that half of the world’s global citizens could face water shortages by 2030, when demand for water could exceed supplies by 40 per cent. With only three per cent of the world’s water suitable for human needs, more solutions — which could open the doors for innovations and businesses — are necessary to sustain a growing population.
Meanwhile, the world’s consumption of energy is set to increase 56 per cent by 2040, and countries must capitalise on all of their energy sources to create more balanced and resilient energy portfolios. In addition to water and energy, waste management has become a progressively important factor in sustainable growth, and is increasingly considered a path to additional economic opportunities. While some 3.5 billion people, half the world’s population, lack crucial waste management services, the global waste market, from collection to recycling, is estimated at $410 billion (Dh1.5 trillion) a year.
“Harmonising environmental, social and economic sustainability objectives are critical in supporting global development,” Dr Al Jaber said.
Dr Al Jaber added: “The UAE is a key contributor to the dialogue, and a recognised driver of innovation and sustainable technological development. We look forward to advancing the conversation and encouraging investments in the field of sustainability.”
ADSW will begin with the fourth Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena). The world’s first intergovernmental organisation dedicated to renewable energy, Irena is headquartered in Abu Dhabi and counts 163 states among its members. The assembly takes place from January 18-19.
The World Future Energy Summit (WFES), the International Water Summit (IWS) and the EcoWASTE exhibition will follow at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) from January 20-22, 2014.
WFES, now in its seventh year, is the world’s foremost event dedicated to the advancement of renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology. The conference programme and exhibition will engage political, business, financial, academic and industry figures on the deployment of renewable energy. It will also engage these leaders in business opportunities within the renewables sector, and will stress the need to continue driving innovation and investment to diversify the global energy mix. More than 650 companies have already registered to exhibit during WFES.
The second edition of the International Water Summit (IWS) will address the energy-water nexus, scarcity, sustainable growth and economic development in arid regions, and the future challenges of water availability. It will also promote international collaboration on water governance to address the water-energy nexus.
EcoWASTE, taking place during ADSW for the first time in partnership with Abu Dhabi’s Centre of Waste Management, will highlight progress in waste-to-energy technology, and discuss its wide-spread adoption as a viable, long-term contributor to a balanced energy approach.
Winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize will also be announced during ADSW, at an awards ceremony on January 20. The prize, worth $4 million, was established by the UAE leadership to recognise and reward excellence in renewable energy and sustainability across the globe.
Reinforcing Abu Dhabi’s role as a diversified energy leader, ADSW is expected to welcome over 30,000 delegates and visitors from more than 150 countries.