Abu Dhabi: Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, reiterated the importance of youth empowerment in the UAE’s energy transition on Friday.
The minister made his comments at the Youth Forum of the 10th Session of the International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA, Assembly, which kicked off on Friday at the start of the 13th Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week that runs until January 12 in the capital.
With young people forming a key pillar of the ambitious UAE Energy Strategy 2050, the forum, which is the first youth platform hosted at the IRENA Assembly, explored the ways in which future generations can take up the fight against climate change and leverage innovation to embrace a clean energy future.
Joining the UAE minister were Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, and Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, the President of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Al Zeyoudi said, “In the UAE, we realised early on that our young people are the backbone of the environmental sustainability movement. They are the ultimate renewable power that, when properly invested, can fuel the way to a sustainable future.
“To ensure that they are fully engaged in climate negotiations, and prepared to handle the responsibilities ahead, we have launched multiple initiatives to bridge the gap between the youth and policymakers.”
Addressing the young attendees, he said, “Under the guidance of our wise leadership, we are committed to helping you protect your future and the future of generations to come.”
As part of day one of the Assembly, Dr. Al Zeyoudi also participated in the 5th IRENA Legislators Forum, where he pointed out that legislators have the power to accelerate and advance a cleaner global energy mix.
“In the last 10 years, thanks to stronger policies and regulations to support the growth of renewable energy, global capacity has grown by more than 100 percent, from 1.1 million megawatts in 2009 to 2.35 million megawatts, according to statistics provided by IRENA for 2019,” he said.
The minister added, “Closer to home in the GCC region, over the last five years, regional lawmakers have proactively implemented robust policies that have resulted in a more than 300 percent growth in renewables capacity. The UAE has played a key role in driving this growth, and today, the country accounts for 70 percent of the GCC region’s total renewable energy capacity.