Ban Ki-moon and Razzan Al Mubarak during their discussion at ‘The Future Sustainability Summit’ at Adnec on Tuesday. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Ban Ki-moon, the former UN Secretary General, has called upon the youth to challenge political and business leaders to manage the world in a sustainable way.

“Our challenges are enormous. You look at the weather pattern. Each one of us has to work together. Nothing can be done alone. The youth should challenge the political and business leaders [and tell them] this world should be managed in a sustainable way,” he said on Tuesday at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).

Ban was having a conversation with Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, secretary-general of the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi, about “Sustainable Development Goals in practice,” at the Future Sustainability Summit.

The former UN chief appreciated the UAE’s sustainability initiatives: “Many countries should emulate what the UAE is doing. Its leadership is investing wisely in the nation’s resources as well as addressing climate change and achieving sustainable development”.

He specifically highlighted the UAE’s waste-to-energy projects.

Ban said no country alone could overcome the existing challenges of climate change. “We are all in this together and we have to work united to address it.”

Al Mubarak said sometimes people need less information and more inspiration [to adopt sustainability]. Ban said world leaders have adopted certain inspiring and tangible initiatives during the last the UN conference on climate change.

However, he said the governments have spent more money on climate change mitigation and very marginal funds for climate change adaptation. There should be enough focus on adaptation, he said.

Some other global leaders also addressed the ADSW on Tuesday. Three African leaders shared their thoughts about ‘the Future of Africa’ in Global Leaders Panel Discussion.

Ebrahim Keita, President of Mali, said: “Today we have the full intention to make sure the international community will not regret to have supported Africa in such a strong way.”

João Lourenço, President Republic of Angola, said: “I see the future of Africa optimistically because this dream of a sustainable future is achievable”. João Lourenço, President Republic of Angola, also attended the session.