Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: The UAE leaders Monday reiterated their commitment and support to the global efforts for sustainable development during the official opening ceremony of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), one of the world’s largest sustainability gatherings.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, welcomed leaders and experts at the opening of the ninth edition of the ADSW on Monday at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec).

They said the discussions and deliberations at the event would address challenges surrounding sustainability and intensify efforts to develop solutions to create a more sustainable future.

The Rulers also expressed their hope that such fruitful meetings will find the best ways and effective solutions to generate energy from clean and sustainable sources with a view to underpin development and achieve a better life for people around the world, according to a statement carried by the official news agency WAM.

Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid said that sustainability is a cornerstone in the UAE, based on the legacy of the late founding father Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. “We are, in the UAE, guided by and following this approach. It was included in the top goals of the UAE Centennial 2071 as one of the essential foundations for making our country the best in the world,” he said.

“Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is a platform that brings together the whole world to the UAE to dedicate for a sustainable approach. The UAE has become a top destination for responsible and serious efforts and innovative ideas aimed at building a sustainable world that will ensure a stable and secure source of energy, water and food for future generations. We, in the UAE, are very keen to make and support all efforts to achieve tangible practical steps to ensure sustainability goals,” the Vice President said.

“We are looking forward to working with our partners around the world to find exemplary solutions that will help us achieve the happiness and well-being of our people and ensure a better future for them and coming generations. This is to provide our peoples and friendly and brotherly peoples around the world with growth and prosperity. Sustainability remains one of the most important ways to reach that end. We are fully confident that the UAE’s people are keen to play an effective role in this regard, as our country is witnessing continuous progress in the field of sustainability,” Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid said.

For his part, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed said: “The UAE, under the leadership of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, supports global efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals and continues to play a leading role in stimulating various initiatives that serve humanity and achieve stability and prosperity for countries and societies. This is to further bolster the approach of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who established principles of cooperation, openness and tolerance, and laid the foundation for the distinguished status of the UAE as an active participant in global development efforts”.

Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed stressed the UAE’s role in developing human capital, establishing a culture of sustainability in the society, empowering women and training young people to continue the process of development witnessed by the UAE. “The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week has become a platform for spreading and establishing this culture, locally and internationally, reaffirming the UAE’s commitment to the sustainability efforts and to speed it up across all sectors and on all levels,” he said.

Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed received on Monday global and corporate leaders attending the ADSW at the Adnec. He met with President Ebrahim Mohammad Solih of the Maldives, President Milo Đukanovićof Montenegro, and President Hage Geingob of Namibia.

The leaders exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern and discussed topics being addressed at the ADSW, especially in the World Future Energy Summit.

They reviewed the core initiatives being undertaken by governments and international organisations on energy, water, the environment and sustainable development solutions to address future challenges, said a WAM report.

Themed ‘Industry Convergence: Accelerating Sustainable Development’, the ADSW has attracted participants from 175 nations, including heads of states and governments, senior ministers, business leaders and experts.

The event began with the ninth Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) that was held from Friday to Sunday and would end with the two-day festival at Masdar City on January 18 and 19.

UAE leads decade-long progress in renewable energy

The UAE played a significant role in tremendous growth of renewable energy during the past decade that witnessed manifold increase in installation of clean energy projects, a top official said here on Monday.

“In 2009 there were less than 14 gigawatts [GW] of installed solar capacity around the world. Today, there are nearly 400GW — representing a 28-fold increase,” said Dr Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, in his opening remarks at the official opening ceremony of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).

Meanwhile, wind power has demonstrated similar growth, expanding from 121 to 539 gigawatts. With wind and solar both becoming increasingly price-competitive, each is on a path to break one thousand gigawatts of power within the next five years, he said.

“As early adopters and developers of some of the largest solar power plants in the world, from Shams 1 to the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the UAE has injected confidence in the renewable energy industry within our region, and far beyond our borders,” the minister said.

He said this progress was achieved after the establishment of International Renewable Energy Agency [Irena] with its headquarters in Abu Dhabi around ten years ago.

Detailing the UAE’s renewable energy projects across the world, he added: “I am pleased to share that last week, Masdar, along with a consortium of partners, won the bid to build the first utility scale wind farm in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the breakthrough price of 2 cents per kilowatt hour. This 400MW project, in Dumat Al Jandal, represents the largest wind farm in the region.”

This and many other projects, will accelerate the most significant renewable energy market in the Middle East and will set in motion the Kingdom’s ambitious 58GW target, representing a key component of Saudi Vision 2030, Al Jaber said.