Shaikh Mohammad, Shaikh Hamdan and Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer look at a model of Dewa’s solar-powered headquarters at the Wetex show in Dubai yesterday. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE’s first World Green Economy Organisation (Wgeo) was launched on Wednesday to bolster a culture of green economy in the country, the region and around the world, said organisers.

The Dubai-based organisation was launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at the third edition of the two-day World Green Economy Summit that began on Wednesday at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Singer Akon addresses delegates at the summit. Photo: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

The organisation will provide consultations and technical, financial and moral support in the field of green economy.

It also aims to be a primary reference for green sector parties doing research related to clean energy, the environment and human protection.

The Wgeo has been established through an initiative and support of Dubai government in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme.

Shaikh Mohammad expressed his confidence that the Wgeo will receive support from various countries and international organisations as well as impressive turnout to apply for membership.

Helen Clark, administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said in an address to the summit that the UAE serves as an example for other countries.

“We need leadership like this in every country in the world,” she said.

Thani Ahmad Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, lauded the summit in an address and said the ministry is working to reach 27 per cent renewable energy levels by 2021 to meet the UAE’s commitment to the Paris Agreement.

“The establishment of a green economy is a critical element to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030, and the Paris Climate Agreement. Ensuring a coordinated international effort is key to facilitating this transition to a green economy on a global scale, and we are confident that the World Green Economy Summit will enable this,” Al Zeyoudi said in his address to the summit.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, vice-chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, managing director and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), lauded Shaikh Mohammad for creating the green economy organisation and for providing the vision to help “enhance Dubai’s position as the global capital of the green economy”.

The summit is an initiative of Dewa.

Under the theme “Driving the Global Green Economy,” the summit hailed the UAE’s commitment to the Paris Agreement to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degree Celsius.

“This year’s summit is held under the theme ‘Driving Global Green Economy’ to promote Dubai’s leading position as a global capital of green economy and a model to follow in terms of achieving the highest standards of energy efficiency and increasing the renewable energy share for the common good of all nations of the world, and to keep pace with the best global sustainable practices,” Al Tayer said.

Al Tayer also noted that Dubai continues to work on the Dubai Declaration delivered in the first green economy summit in 2015 to help promote the emirate’s position as a global capital of green economy and sustainable development; to raise the profile of key issues such as clean energy.

Al Tayer told the large audience that efforts are under way through initiatives such as the Mohammad Bin Rashid Solar Park to meet the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 which calls for seven per cent of Dubai’s energy from clean energy sources by 2020, 25 per cent by 2030 and 75 per cent by 2050.

Adnan Z. Amin, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), said the world welcomes strong, dedicated green plans such as those advanced by Dubai that will meet rising global demand for energy in the years to come.

“The UAE has been a pioneer in this trend,” Amin said, noting that Dubai had set a record for lowest-priced solar energy production per kilowatt hour this year which is helping to discourage future use of fossil fuels.

Celebrities encourage students

Dubai: Keynote speakers urged hundreds of students attending the World Green Economy Summit to do what they can to protect and preserve the environment given it is the only option we have.

Former Nasa astronaut Donald Thomas told the summit in an address that after four missions and 44 days in space, that he realised how fragile the earth was given that it is protected only by a “paper-thin layer” of atmosphere.

From 300 kilometres orbiting above earth, Thomas said he saw the devastating damage humans were doing to the earth and urged people to adopt more environment-friendly attitudes and actions.

International musician Akon also took to the stage on Wednesday to the delight of hundreds of students in the crowd calling Dubai the “heaven on earth” while encouraging young people to get involved in projects such as his efforts to help fellow Africans have a better life.

He told the audience that Akon Lighting Africa has in three years grown to 15 countries in the bid to help an estimated 600 million Africans who still don’t have electricity.

Support from around the world “gave us the confidence to say we can do (it in) 48 countries”, Akon said.