Hilary Clinton (left) at the event on Monday Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi and the UAE are well-positioned to create the future that the world needs, and can make some real progress in enabling real-world solutions for global problems and disputes, former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said in the capital on Monday.

The former US presidential candidate also commended the UAE for its progress since 2011, when she last visited the country as US Secretary of State.

“Everything that has happened since 2012 is a strong indication of how well-positioned Abu Dhabi and the UAE are for the future that we must create together. When I was last here, [the Abu Dhabi Global Market] did not exist, and it is quite a stunning accomplishment… Some innovative, rather unique steps have been taken with respect to the common law courts system, the resolution of disputes, and the commitment to try to move to clean energy,” Clinton said during a fireside chat at the Resolve 2023 International Dispute Resolution Forum in Abu Dhabi.

On climate action and women

She was referring to the strides the UAE has made towards a clean energy future, evident in its role as COP28 host, and its transformation of women’s rights. In fact, since her last visit, the UAE has mandated that women must be a part of the board in government agencies and corporations, among other things, and the American politician and lawyer said she was “proud and grateful” for these changes.

Clinton however urged the UAE to continue demonstrating real-life action to the world.

“[From] those who have done so much already, much is expected, because you have made the commitment to a future that looks different from your past,” she said at Resolve 2023, the second edition of an annual forum that focuses on developing solutions for international disputes and global challenges.

Legal innovation

The one-day event was organised by the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Abu Dhabi’s financial centre, and saw delegates and speakers explore challenges and trends in sustainability, artificial intelligence and the Web, finance terrorism and sanctions, and UAE infrastructure.

The ADGM Courts recently announced the first initiative to globally enforce commercial judgements through the use of blockchain technology. The unique solution publishes judgments to the blockchain, enabling enforcing commercial courts to verify the authenticity of judgments, and thus revolutionising the enforcement process. In addition, the ADGM Arbitration Centre is also developing the first “Mediation in the Metaverse” service, which reimagines the delivery of mediation across the globe.

Clinton commended the moves, calling them ‘extraordinary’, and called for more such real-world action to address other matters of international concern, such as climate change.

“I wish that there were more of what you are doing here with Resolve happening on the climate level, not to impose sanctions or costs, but to come up with ideas. Maybe at COP28, that could be one thing that UAE does, which would make a real difference: a problem-solving electronic platform where people could provide information about what they are facing, and look for solutions from people who have done it, or have new regulations or laws to address the problem,” she said.

Enabling change

According to the politician, who is now also a doting grandmother to three, these solutions empower people who want to make a difference, but feel helpless in the absence of crucial elements like financing.

Clinton herself works closely to enable climate action, especially through the Clinton Climate Initiative founded by her husband, former US president Bill Clinton. She discussed some of the solutions that had recently been implemented in island nations, stressing the they had reinforced for her the power of human contact and discussion in driving positive change.

Legal opportunities

Clinton, who is a lawyer by profession, further touched upon the opportunities for lawyers to legislate in a way that can be positive for a world undergoing massive transformations in its systems and its environment. She urged lawyers to be aware of the important role they play, and to help people understand how they too can take real action, even in issues that seem as dense as climate change.

“I would hope that lawyers, particularly those based here, have an understanding of the role they can play in encouraging and protecting clients who want to do more on climate, and other matters that at the end of the day will be good for business and good for society,” she said.