The UAE renewed its commitment in finding innovative solutions to minimise the impacts of climate change and save the planet.
The UAE leadership announced far-reaching initiatives during the recently-concluded Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which included the Irena General Assembly, the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum, the Future Sustainability Summit, the World Future Energy Summit, and the Zayed Sustainability Prize.
The highlight of the week was the declaration by Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Adnoc Group CEO, who sets high targets for the next decade.
“We have grown our renewable energy portfolio by over 400 per cent in the last 10 years, and we are well on track to double it again in the next 10. In short, the UAE not only talks the talk, but walks the walk, when it comes to delivering sustainable, clean energy. We do this because it is right, and it makes perfect economic sense,” he said.
The minister also said that the UAE will become the first country in the region this year to deliver safe, commercial and peaceful nuclear power.
The announcement by Al Jaber came a day after a passionate call made to the world by Irena director-general Francesco La Camera on the need for doubling the share of renewables in global power.
The world has invested $3 trillion in renewables. In 2018, $329 billion was invested with 90 per cent financed by private sector. La Camera seeks $737 billion investment by 2030 to for global energy transformation.
Playing its role as the national entity for economic development aid, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) allotted $105 million for renewable energy projects in eight countries. Since its launch in 2014, the Fund has approved $350 million for 32 projects impacting 26 countries.
“In its efforts to boost the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goals 6, 7, 11, 12, and 13, ADFD-funded projects over the seven cycles of the facility have led to the widespread adoption of scalable, clean, and sustainable energy alternatives in 26 countries,” Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, director-general of ADFD, said.
Empowering youth and the world
The UAE also showed how the leadership plans to achieve its ambitious future targets with Youth 4 Sustainability – the platform launched by Masdar. The global platform aims to empower youth with the skills needed to pursue careers in the sustainability industry. It seeks to directly engage 50,000 youngsters across the world by 2030.
“The UAE government places great importance on the role and empowerment of the youth, who hold the responsibility of ensuring the welfare of our future. Through structured programmes such as Youth 4 Sustainability, we can prepare them so they are able to tackle the challenges that our world currently faces,” said Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office.
‘Sustainable future for all’
The week capped with the big bang launch of the Abu Dhabi Climate Initiative – the region’s first platform dedicated to fast tracking research and development in water and climate technology. The initiative sees the collaboration of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Abu Dhabi Global Market, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and Hub71.
“The Abu Dhabi Climate Initiative is the first platform in the region dedicated to accelerating the research and development of climate and water technologies and to supporting the shift towards a climate-resilient economy,” Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said.
With major investments, agreements, partnerships with local and global entities at the start of the year, the UAE has shown the way for other countries to follow in coming months.