18 MAY 2022

Decarbonizing Transportation is Key Sustainability Challenge, Costa Rican Minister tells ADSW Talks

In Masdar’s most recent episode of ADSW Talks, a recurring video series in which influential global sustainability figures share their perspectives, Her Excellency Paola Vega Castillo, Costa Rican Minister of Science, Technology, and Telecommunications, said transportation is one of the biggest issues facing Costa Rica in its decarbonization journey.

Like the UAE, Costa Rica is already considered a global sustainability leader, named the second-most sustainable country in the world by the World Energy Council in 2017, and ‘UN Champion of the Earth’ in 2019.

Today, “about 98 percent of the energy we produce comes from renewable resources,” HE Castillo said. “The problem is that, when it comes to transportation, we have strong carbon emissions that we want to decrease. That’s why decarbonization is very important for us as a country.”

Last November, Costa Rica joined the UAE in adopting its own plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. To do that, the Central American nation has prioritized “strong progress” in electrified transportation by the end of the decade to both dramatically reduce its carbon footprint and support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Innovation will remain critical, HE Castillo said: “By means of innovation, we must find ways to be more effective in terms of productive, in terms of consumption, and also think about the new product and services that will help us face our current challenges without taking from nature what is not necessary to take from it.”

In addition, HE Castillo emphasized the importance of global initiatives like Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which “are very important in order to, on the one hand, raise awareness of the consequences of our way of living, and also to provide these opportunities for networking—because we need all the knowledge and talent worldwide.”


26 APR 2023

“Action should have started yesterday”, HE Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN-HABITAT tells ADSW Talks

“When we talk about sustainability, we are broadly talking about what we do now, and how our actions will affect the resources of our future generations”, HE Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlements Program told ADSW Talks.

“We would like to see development that is not just economically viable, but also environmentally, socially and psychologically viable. These four factors are critical when we talk about about sustainable development.”

Ms Maimunah heads up the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), which is the United Nations program for human settlements and sustainable urban development. The twin goals of the Habitat Agenda are to achieve adequate shelter for all and the development of sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world.

When discussing the importance of how to approach sustainable development, Ms Maimunah said: “We only have one planet, so a ‘one ecosystem’ integrated [approach] to planning is very important’. In addition to “strategies, plans, and urban policies, financing is one of the key items of sustainable development.” Financing, “is not just important for implementation, but also for monitoring and evaluation.”

“We want to change the narrative that cities are the source of all problems, including climate change”, said Ms Maimunah. Cities are a “center of innovation, creativity, education, and health”, and they should be, “used as an accelerator to look for urban solutions to climate change.”

Ms Maimunah said her aspiration was for climate change to be tackled through “one ecosystem” and “not in compartments”. “My personal hope is that we need to find the roadmap, the solution and the action, and the “action should have started yesterday”. “The UAE is bringing inclusive stakeholders to COP28” and this will allow participants to learn, rethink and understand from a sharing of best practice, challenges and lessons learnt.”

When asked what her wish for the future was, Ms Maimunah said: “I wish a better world for my grandchildren and for my great grandchildren”. We have to make the cities right, and this starts with, “planning, implementation and management”.

The ADSW Talks series hosts influential figures from across the sustainability sector to share their perspectives on the most pressing sustainability challenges facing the world and the collective willpower and solutions needed to build a more sustainable future for all.


17 MAR 2023

Masdar Chairman’s Energy Experience an “Advantage” for COP28, says Dutch climate envoy

HE Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber’s experience across the energy sector and in government will put him at an “advantage” in leading climate negotiations at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) taking place in the UAE later this year, the Climate Envoy for the Netherlands told ADSW Talks.

As well as being the COP28 President-Delegate, Dr Al Jaber is the UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Group CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), and Chairman of Masdar, the UAE’s flagship renewable energy company.

“What we need is to get the companies to invest way more of their portfolio into making a shift away from fossil fuels and into more diverse energy sources,” HRH Jamie de Bourbon de Parme said on the latest edition of ADSW Talks. “I think he (Dr Al Jaber) has a great role to play because he actually understands the whole market. He could bring the oil and gas companies on board to greater commitments, and I think that’s a great opportunity at this COP which we haven’t had before.”

As the Netherlands’ Climate Envoy, Prince Jaime’s role entails fostering international cooperation on climate action. He said the UAE is playing “a great role” by hosting COP28.

The ADSW Talks series hosts influential figures from across the sustainability sector to share their perspectives on the most pressing sustainability challenges facing the world and the collective willpower and solutions needed to build a more sustainable future for all.

The Netherlands and the UAE could join forces to develop the green hydrogen supply chain Dutch Climate Envoy, HRH told ADSW Talks. Collaborating on port development and hydrogen shipping could help to wean the Netherlands off hydrocarbons, he added. “There is great potential for green hydrogen production in the UAE and we have the need to import green hydrogen, to overcome our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Prince Jaime. “The whole supply chain of green hydrogen will have to be developed; port development, green energy development, hydrogen shipping, and all the way to the customers. The supply chain is what we can work with the UAE on.”

Prince Jaime added that the two countries could also work together in developing “sustainable aviation fuels and many other derivatives of hydrogen”.

As the Netherlands is a low-lying nation it has been “battling” water for centuries, said Prince Jaime. The country plans to expand its offshore wind capacity by 20 gigawatts to 70 gigawatts by 2050, he said. The father-of-two added that he hoped that humanity would start seeing nature as a “partner” rather than a commodity. “We need to let nature regenerate and give it space so that my children will have space to enjoy nature also,” he said.


13 FEB 2023

UAE’s focus on sustainability led to COP28 hosting, Dr Al Jaber tells ADSW Talks

The UAE leadership’s early focus on sustainable development set it on a progressive path for climate action that contributed to its selection as host for the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in 2023, Masdar’s Chairman told ADSW Talks.

“His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates, wanted to build on his father’s legacy of sustainable development,” Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, UAE Special Envoy for Climate, and Chairman of Masdar, said on the latest edition of the web series. “And long before anyone in this region saw a future in renewables, His Highness saw renewables and sustainable development as the future.”

Dr Al Jaber, who has played a key role at over ten COPs, including the Paris COP21 in 2015, said the UAE recognized that sustainability was about progress and innovation. “For us, sustainable development is about never settling for the now, it is always about the next, about building on previous breakthroughs building new partnerships, staying one step ahead, never hitting the pause button because next never stops,” he said.

The UAE is ready now to take its focus on ambitious and progressive sustainable development into its role as host of COP28, to ensure its success and impact.

“This is the mindset that makes us optimistic about hosting COP28, where we will convene all stakeholders to drive transformational progress across mitigation, adaptation, climate finance, loss and damage. The UAE has been built on the principle of partnership and we will apply this to COP28 to make sure it is a COP for action and a COP for all,” Dr Al Jaber said.

The ADSW Talks series hosts influential figures from across the sustainability sector to share their perspectives on the most pressing sustainability challenges facing the world and the collective willpower and solutions needed to build a more sustainable future for all.