Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week Convenes Stakeholders for Energy and Water Solutions
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week served as a global platform for several events on an array of issues, including the links among economic development, poverty eradication, energy security, water scarcity and climate change.

The Week included a Global Action Day, Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy, the Zayed Future Energy Prize and the UAE Programme for Rain Enhancement Science.

On business, the International Water Summit, Eco Waste and the World Future Energy Summit, a centerpiece of ADSW, convened.

21 January 2017: The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) brought together leaders from government, international organizations, business and civil society to discuss the future of energy and water management. From the General Assembly meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to the International Water Summit, the ASDW served as a platform fostering wide ranging discussions and showcasing innovative solutions.

Meeting from 12-21 January, 2017, in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the ADSW served as a global platform for several events on an array of issues, including the links among economic development, poverty eradication, energy security, water scarcity and climate change. Convening since 2008, ADSW remains the largest gathering on sustainability in the Middle East, growing from 87 participants in 2008 to over 35,000 in 2016. This year, the diverse programme promised to continue to attract a significant crowd. [Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week]

The programme centered around four themes. The first theme on policy was anchored by the 7th meeting of the IRENA General Assembly. On leadership, the Week included a Global Action Day, Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy, the Zayed Future Energy Prize and the UAE Programme for Rain Enhancement Science. On business, the International Water Summit, Eco Waste and the World Future Energy Summit, a centerpiece of ADSW, convened. Finally, the Student Exclusive and the Festival at Masdar City met under the theme of awareness. [Event Calendar]

During the opening ceremony, several world leaders conveyed both a sense of urgency and the complexities of achieving sustainable development and transitioning to clean energy. Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, opened the ADSW on an optimistic note, forecasting that countries and markets are “beyond the tipping point,” and soon renewable energy will be the conventional energy. President Filip Vujanovic, Montenegro, noted the twin challenges of needing energy while developing low-carbon development strategies for the future. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepal, called attention to the challenges that arise in the gap between commitments and on the ground delivery of energy projects. [Opening Ceremony]

During Global Action Day, delegates highlighted many concrete examples of opportunities and challenges, in line with UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa’s call to turn the Paris Agreement into actionable strategies.

The nine winners of the Zayeb Future Energy Prize are leaders who are making strides in achieving energy transitions and water security in the context of sustainable development. Among the winners, the jury recognized Li Junfeng, Director General of China’s National Center of Climate Strategy Research, with the Lifetime Achievement for his commitment to the adoption of renewable energy in China. [Zayeb Future Energy Prize]

During Global Action Day, delegates highlighted many concrete examples of opportunities and challenges, in line with UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa’s call to turn the Paris Agreement into actionable strategies. Khaled Al Faleh, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, Saudi Arabia, highlighted the need to use all available energy sources, particularly clean sources, to achieve sustainable development with a growing population and announced the future, massive programmes on renewable energy and potentially nuclear energy. Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota Chairman, characterized the move toward a hydrogen society as the big challenge for the next 100 years and announced a feasibility study to create a hydrogen society in the UAE in collaboration with Masdar, Al Futttaim and Air Liquide. Peter Thompson, President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), announced a high-level thematic debate on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change in April-May 2017, and another on sustainable finance in April. [Global Action Day Exhibitor Profile]

The IRENA General Assembly, held from 14-15 January 2017, brought together government representatives from over 150 countries, as well as delegates from the private sector, civil society and international organizations to engage in discussions of the Agency’s work and mandate. Two ministerial roundtables convened, on moving towards an economy fuelled by renewable power and innovation for the next stage of the power sector’s transformation, and on catalyzing off-grid renewable energy deployment toward universal electricity access and the attainment of the SDGs. [IRENA General Assembly] [ADSW Profile IRENA General Assembly]

Billed as the “centerpiece” of ADSW, the World Future Energy Summit showcased new solutions and business potential. Taking place from 16-19 January, the Summit brought together over 30,000 people, including 650 exhibiting companies from 32 countries to launch projects and forge partnerships on energy sources and efficiency, smart grid systems and carbon management and storage. [World Future Energy Summit]

While energy has been, and will continue to be, an engine of the economies of the Gulf, water holds particular importance for the arid region. The International Water Summit served as a global platform bringing together world leaders, field experts, academics and business innovators to share best practices and offering new solutions and opportunities to address the challenges of water waste, and access and security. [International Water Summit] [ADSW Profile International Water Summit]

 


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