Galleries guide viewers through the ancient and modern ways the UAE has championed sustainability Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The UAE House of Sustainability, located in the Green Zone at COP28 is all set to open to public from December 3 to 12, 2023 at the Expo City Dubai. The space will welcome both residents and visitors who will be in the UAE for COP28.

Handmade household wares created from parts of date palm trees are among the exhibits on display Image Credit: Anjana Kumar/Gulf News

UAE House of Sustainability will have a nearby programming space called the Actionists Hub. The Actionists Hub in the Green Zone will host programming with climate actionists, public and private sector representatives, NGOs, and Blue Zone accredited guests, as well as all the people who call the UAE home, to inspire collective action.

The UAE House of Sustainability and Actionists Hub in the Green Zone will be open to the public and all COP28 guests from December 3 to 12.

What’s inside the House?

The House of Sustainability features three main areas: Sustainability Oasis, Our Journey of Collective Progress, and Our Future of Sustainable Flourishing. The space hosts a “multisensory guest experience that will showcase the UAE’s journey towards a net zero future”.

An exclusive media tour on Thursday revealed real sand dunes dressed as a backdrop for showcasing UAE’s growth to sustainability. Stories of the past dating back to 7,000 years revealed the progress of this land along with several interactive installations led the tone of the tour.

Guests at the venue Image Credit: Supplied

Traditional Emirati sustainable living

Traditional Emirati sustainable living was also featured such as weaving, the use of palm fronds, dates harvesting and more revealed UAE’s love for sustainable living at the House of Sustainability.

Multi-sensory experience

The House of Sustainability will present a multisensory guest experience that will showcase UAE’s journey towards a net zero future.

Much to learn from the past

Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Commissioner-General of the UAE Pavilions at COP28, said: “There is much we can learn for the future from the past and the natural world around us. The UAE House of Sustainability will be a space that celebrates these ideas and sparks conversations. When delegates and the public come to the UAE House of Sustainability at COP28 will be inspired by the steps we have taken to date to tackle climate change and have a clear sense of our vision for the future.”

Interactive storytelling

The space offers an interactive storytelling experience for delegates and guests of COP28, the private sector, NGOs and the general public. It has three main areas: Sustainability Oasis, Our Journey of Collective Progress, and Our Future of Sustainable Flourishing.

House of Sustainability

During a media tour of the House on Thursday, Meera Abdulla Almutawwa, Strategy and Guest Experience Lead at UAE House of Sustainability, said: “Our story begins with our ancestors and their resilience, resourcefulness, and optimism, values that our stewards and changemakers channel as we work towards a net zero future. Through a series of poetic interventions, guests will learn about the UAE’s journey of collective progress through our history, our past 50 years of transformation, and immerse in our current transformation as we journey to a future of sustainable flourishing.”

She said the UAE House of Sustainability story will be brought to life through cultural programming and PopCOPS. “We will also host dynamic programming at our dedicated Actionists Hub, which will feature thematic workshops and presentations to encourage thoughtful conversations as we gather together at COP28.”

Hosting sessions

The House of Sustainability will host public activations during COP28, including PopCOP sessions that will be located in the Sustainability Oasis. A series of climate action workshops will allow registered participants to take part in immersive activities and meditative experiences, conduct a personal stock take of their sustainable behaviours, and learn design principles and application methods to achieve climate impact.

Participants will be able to share their reflections, along with their hopes for the future with the climate leaders and negotiators at COP28.

President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had announced 2023 as the Year of Sustainability, a nationwide initiative encouraging residents to adopt sustainable practices at the individual and community level.

Multi-sensory guest experience

The House has key elements – The Sustainability Oasis, Our Journey of Collective Progress

The Sustainability Oasis is an experiential, free-flowing waiting area with engaging activities about nature, cultural heritage and life in the UAE.

“Guests can explore and rest in the Sustainability Oasis that features the nation’s historic irrigation system Al Falaj, along with adaptive plants and trees found that thrive across the UAE,” said Almutawwa.

At the “Our Journey of Collective Progress” visitors will see UAE’s sustainability journey. With towering sand dunes as a backdrop, dynamic musical compositions and bespoke scents – all contribute to the multisensory storytelling, and a beautiful cinematic experience, entitled Alyazia’s Story, awaits guests in a 300-degree dome theatre featuring wide-angled projection and spatial audio.”

At the “Our Future of Sustainable Flourishing”, visitors get to explore three interactive explorations, each of which demonstrates the UAE’s sustainability journey towards a net zero future: Solving with Nature, Dinner in 2050, and Our Journey to Net Zero.

Solving with Nature features the importance of halophytic plants – salt tolerant plants that thrive in the UAE’s environment. The installation celebrates the people of the UAE who study, protect and innovate with these plants.

Another interesting concept inside is “Dinner in 2050 highlights how sustainable choices today can strengthen food resiliency. The installation uses AI

technology to reimagine what our favourite meals would look like in the future, and explores how small ingredient changes can make for a healthier and more sustainable meal; and Our Journey to Net Zero offers a glimpse into the science, policies, innovations, and change makers that are guiding us towards a brighter, cleaner, and healthier future, as we journey to a net zero future.

The Actionists’ Hub

The UAE House of Sustainability will engage visitors during COP28 through dynamic activations and cultural programming in collaboration with local organisations. Another space that will see major activations is the Actionists’ Hub, located across from the UAE House of Sustainability. It will host Changemakers’ Majlis, Fireside chats alongside presentations, workshops, and documentaries.

Open to actionists

These activities are open to climate actionists, public and private sector representatives, NGOs, Blue Zone guests, and people who call the UAE home to inspire collective action and co-create a flourishing, sustainable future for people and the planet.

UAE Pavilion

The UAE Pavilion in the Blue Zone will be open to government leaders, experts, and those accredited by the UN from December 1 to 12. The UAE Pavilion will serve as a platform to showcase the country’s dedicated initiatives towards achieving Net Zero by 2050 and accelerate climate action. Through more than 80 curated programmes run by UAE government entities, civil society, and private sector

Sustainable design

The UAE Pavilion, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, is inspired by the UAE’s national bird, the falcon. It is shaped like the wings of a falcon in flight. It features 28 carbon fibre wings that can open and has built-in solar panels.

Highlighting the importance of inclusive, collective action to address climate change, Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Commissioner-General of the UAE Pavilions at COP28, said: “At the heart of the COP28 Presidency is the spirit of dialogue, collaboration, and inclusivity. With the world convening in Dubai to address the impact of climate change, we believe in serving as a beacon of hope and serving as a model on how we can accelerate climate action by engaging all stakeholders. This is embodied in our new Net Zero 2050 Strategy, which sets sector-wide targets through nation-wide initiatives.”

She added: “At COP28, we are underlining our climate action track-record, built on the legacy of our founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, whose environmental stewardship continues to inspire us. The Pavilion at COP28 will celebrate our national achievements, spark innovative solutions and drive climate action on our collective journey to achieving a net zero future. We look forward to working together with delegates to facilitate the connections and foster the collaborations to co-create solutions that leave no one behind.”


The pavilion features an informative exhibition that presents the UAE’s sustainability story from past, present, to our net zero future. The interactive installations cover several pillars:

● Heritage - providing an insightful look into the UAE’s heritage and celebrating early approaches to survive in an environment of extreme heat and saline soil during the 1960s and 1970s

● Modernisation - a deep dive into the UAE’s inspiring development story, and the leadership’s commitment to enhancing the well-being of people through transformational initiatives and successes across education, health, and infrastructure, in addition to sustainability and environmental stewardship for the benefit of all

● Net Zero 2050 - focusing on the ongoing sustainability initiatives, the changemakers driving innovative decarbonization efforts, and strategies to reduce carbon emissions across key emitting sectors: power, water, industry, building, transportation, and waste & agriculture; and,

● International Partnerships - sharing dedicated UAE-led efforts to forge strong partnerships worldwide to facilitate collaboration, co-creation, and action to guide the country toward a brighter, cleaner, and healthier tomorrow for all.