UAE’s founding father the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
UAE’s founding father the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan appears before world leaders in a hologram video Image Credit: COP28

Dubai: On the eve of its 52nd Union Day, the UAE chose a unique and innovative approach to welcome the world leaders to COP28, by bringing alive the country’s Founding Father the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan using a 3D hologram.

The COP28 Presidency featured Sheikh Zayed, who is widely respected for his vision and efforts in developing sustainable practices, to underscore the gravity of the environmental challenges and the shared duty of world leaders to take decisive action.

The holographic video in which Sheikh Zayed appears to walk on to the stage from amidst the world leaders at the World Climate Action Summit, was beamed soon after his son and the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan delivered his inaugural address in which he paid rich tributes to the Founding Father.

Sheikh Mohammed said Sheikh Zayed was a pioneer who believed in protecting nature and worked hand in hand with his people and valued the true wealth of a nation—the people. He said Sheikh Zayed shaped the past, present and future of this land. “Sheikh Zayed’s leadership set the foundation for our brighter future,” he said.

Welcome to second homeland

Sheikh Zayed welcomed the world leaders to the UAE, describing it as their “second homeland.”

He praised Allah for the gift of this land and said: “For us in the UAE, conserving and preserving the environment is not a slogan or a logo. It's actually part and parcel of who we are as our history, our culture and legacy. We've been and we will always remain committed to the coexistence between the nature and human beings.”

“Our forefathers have lived on this land. They coexisted with their surroundings whether in the land or the sea. They acknowledged the importance of preserving this nature. They took only what was needed for their survival and left for the coming generations a source of goodness and abundance.”

He said those who live in this land of goodness now are responsible for taking care of our environment and our nature.

“This is our responsibility. We have to be faithful and loyal to our forefathers and to our coming generations who will live in a world that is very different from what we have experienced and what we have become accustomed to. This is why we have to prepare ourselves and our people and our children for the New World.”

COP28 in UAE

Governments must act

Preserving the environment and conserving is our responsibility, not only as people or as groups, but also as governments, he said.

“The governments should be the ones who take initiatives and I call upon you and encourage you today that you work for achieving one goal to work for the coming generations and achieve what is good for their future.”

“I also call upon the entire world to take this opportunity in this meeting in the land of peace and coexistence and tolerance to forfeit to forsake any feuds or any quarrels and build bridges of love and understanding in order to work hand in hand together towards the future. We have to build the land; we have to cultivate it. Our destiny is one…Our interest is one. Our happiness, our joy is one. We all aim to achieve the same goal. Best of luck in achieving this. Peace be upon you all.”