19 JAN 2017

WiSER calls on women to be the drivers of innovation

UAE-founded initiative welcomes global experts to its second annual conference during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week

18 January, Abu Dhabi: Leaders from government, business and academia yesterday convened in Abu Dhabi for the second annual Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) conference under the theme ‘Practical steps towards sustainable innovation.’ The event was organised by Masdar in partnership with the Zayed Future Energy Prize.

The conference, a key event at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, sought to discuss the collaborative role that governments and businesses can play in fostering sustainable innovation, and the critical importance of including women in this dialogue.

Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, WiSER Programme Director, Executive Director of Sustainability and Brand at Masdar, and Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, said: “At WiSER, we seek to ensure that women are the drivers of change for a sustainable future, enabling them to positively impact innovation and breakthroughs in policy, technology and business. Today’s event helps us understand the way forward to achieving this goal.”

“With greater mentoring and collaborative opportunities, our knowledge of the issues that uniquely impact women can be harnessed to deliver sustainable growth and innumerable societal benefits. Innovation in sustainability is critical to our future prosperity, and women have a central role to play in this regard,” Dr Al-Hosany continued.

Established in 2015, WiSER is an initiative that comes at critical point for women’s participation in renewable energy and sustainability. Women account for just 35% of the workforce in the renewable energy sector, according to the latest IRENA Renewable Energy Jobs Review 2016. The report concluded that while sector has seen a rise in the number of women employed, female labour force participation is still lower than the general economy average experienced by OECD countries (40-45 per cent).

WiSER partners with academic and research institutions, women’s networking groups and corporate interests in order to create education and training opportunities for women of all ages. Since its launch on the side lines of the 70th United Nations General Assembly, WiSER has been active in developing partnerships with a number of strategic organisations.

Recently, WiSER held a high-level event with Momentum for Change at the UN Climate Conference in Marrekech, COP22. The event came under a joint “Momentum for Change: Women for Results” and WiSER partnership, a key pillar of the Momentum for Change Lighthouse initiative, and recognised activities that demonstrate the critical leadership and participation of women in addressing climate change. The collaboration is designed to further the role of women in sustainability, with a focus on knowledge exchange.

Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute: “Creating opportunities for women in sustainability will allow us to unleash a wealth of knowledge and creativity within this industry. Particularly through our partnerships with private companies, Masdar Institute remains dedicated to nurturing the next generation of women to become sustainability leaders. Our public-private partnerships allow more women to gain the hands-on experience they need to join the ranks of innovators. With women playing an equitable role in the industry we can continue the momentum behind our transformation towards a fairer, more secure, and more sustainable future.”

The event in Abu Dhabi was designed as a platform so that participants could learn from experts who have dedicated their life to sustainability and furthering women’s participation in innovation. Speakers included: Graciela Chicilnisky, CEO and Co-Founder, Global Thermostat; Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office; Dr Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute; Neha Misra, Co-founder and Chief Collaboration Officer, Solar Sisters; Dr Arwa Y. Al-Aama, Director, Smart Solutions Consulting; Jonathon Porritt, Founding Director, Forum for the Future; Dr Joao Carlos, Secretary of Energy and Mining, Sao Paulo; Maher Ezzeddine, Chairman and President, Harvard Business School Aerospace Alumni Group; Dr Barbara Buchner, Executive Director, Climate Finance, Climate Policy Initiative; Jamila Bargach, Director, Dar Si Hmad; Moza Al Naimi, Masdar Institute Phd student, and Dr Laura Stachel, Executive Director and Co-Founder of We Care Solar.

In the UAE, there has been an emphasis placed on education and training as a way to ensure more women are working in sustainability. In the fall enrollment of students at Masdar Institute, 68 per cent of the UAE nationals were women. Over 70 per cent of the UAE government university students are now women and among post-graduates, UAE National women account for 62 per cent in government universities.

Dr. Arwa Y. Al-Aama, Director, Smart Solutions Consulting: “Initiatives such as WiSER are critical if we want women to have access to the skills needed to be future leaders of innovation and sustainability. They also underline the leading role the UAE is playing in establishing platforms that place an emphasis on knowledge exchange and learning.”

Founded by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, and the Zayed Future Energy Prize, WiSER aims to empower and inspire women to be catalysts of innovation and the drivers of commercial solutions that will address climate change and secure access to food, energy and water.

19 JAN 2017

Second annual Student Exclusive gives youth a voice on sustainability

UAE and international students gather for talks, performances and presentations at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; January 19, 2017 – More than 600 students from the UAE and countries around the world took part in the second annual “Student Exclusive” at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) on Wednesday. Now a signature event of ADSW, the Student Exclusive is focused on empowering young people to think and act sustainably.

His Excellency Dr Ahmed Belhoul, Minister of State for Higher Education, delivered the event’s keynote address, describing the Student Exclusive as integral to the success of ADSW.

“The culture of the UAE is based on sustainability. If you go back 100 years, people only consumed what they required; they only used what they needed. But today, we are all guilty of consumption that is not very responsible. The government is trying to help us by raising awareness, and by investing in renewable energy resources. But regardless of what we do as the government, a culture of sustainability needs to be embedded in you, our young people. You are the future, and sustainability starts with you.”

“When Masdar was established a decade ago, the UAE leadership wanted to create a company that would invest in renewable energy, but we cannot do that without human resources,” HE Dr Belhoul added. “So we took the decision to establish a holistic ecosystem, by not only creating Masdar but also the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. We are proud today to see the achievements of both Masdar and Masdar Institute, which are empowering our best young talent.”

Commenting on the success of the Student Exclusive, Dr Nawal Al Hosany, Executive Director of Sustainability and Brand at Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, also stressed the need for young people to take responsibility.

“The Student Exclusive is a platform that puts youth opinions at its core,” she said. “If we can empower young people to see how sustainability affects every aspect of their lives, then we can also empower them to be future advocates of sustainability.”

This year’s Student Exclusive was held on the theme “Creating a sustainable future by empowering young minds”.

“The culture of the UAE is based on sustainability. If you go back 100 years, people only consumed what they required; they only used what they needed. But today, we are all guilty of consumption that is not very responsible. The government is trying to help us by raising awareness, and by investing in renewable energy resources. But regardless of what we do as the government, a culture of sustainability needs to be embedded in you, our young people. You are the future, and sustainability starts with you.”

“When Masdar was established a decade ago, the UAE leadership wanted to create a company that would invest in renewable energy, but we cannot do that without human resources,” HE Dr Belhoul added. “So we took the decision to establish a holistic ecosystem by not only creating Masdar but also the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. We are proud today to see the achievements of both Masdar and Masdar Institute, which are empowering our best young talent.”

Moderated by Khalid Al Ameri, a prominent UAE national journalist and social media influencer, and fellow Emirati Waheeda Al Hadhrami, Creative Talent Developer at TwoFour54, this year’s event hosted a diversity of young talent, who shared their own distinct perspective on adopting sustainable behaviour.

The Student Exclusive welcomed calligrapher Diaa Allam, pianist Mona Alhashmi, futurist Lina Nahhas, musicians “G-beat”, parkour coach Amal Murad, artist Hessa Al Ajmani, and singer Khalifa Nasser.

Hasan Al Redaini, the UAE’s representative to Solar Impulse 2, the first aircraft to circumnavigate the world powered only by solar energy, and two previous student winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize – from Cashmere High School in New Zealand and the Korean Science Academy of KAIST – also presented to the Student Exclusive audience.

The Student Exclusive also featured a presentation by Fatema Al Mulla, Marketing Executive at Masdar, on the findings of The Masdar Gen Z Global Sustainability Survey, the first global study of youth attitudes towards sustainability, renewable energy and climate change; a talk by Dr Majid Al Qassimi, Director of the Animal Health & Development Department at the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment on “The natural world and sustainability”; and a presentation on the sustainability narrative of Expo 2020 by Alya Al-Ali, Director for Youth, Expo 2020.

The final community awareness event of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week will be The Festival at Masdar City on January 20-21. Open to the public, The Festival will host sustainability-themed games and activities, live entertainment and food stalls.

21 JAN 2017

The Festival at Masdar City takes sustainability into the community for fourth straight year

Abu Dhabi, UAE; January 21, 2017 – The Festival at Masdar City attracted its biggest crowds ever as this year’s Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week drew to a successful close this weekend.

Visitors enjoyed a fun-packed weekend of family-themed games, activities and live entertainment, as well as stalls selling arts, handicrafts and souvenirs, and delicious food and treats.

A sustainability message ran through all the attractions, and this year’s Festival also celebrated 2017 as the UAE’s “Year of Giving”.

Launched in 2014, the Festival at Masdar City promotes community awareness of sustainability and the adoption of more sustainable behaviour.

This year’s event also marked the launch of Masdar Park, an outdoor dining destination with outlets housed inside recycled shipping containers powered by solar panels. Open until April, the Park features a recycled musical instrument wall and a bicycle-powered cinema – it is also the starting point for a new 2.6km-long cycle and running track.

Activities at The Festival this year were divided into 10 different zones reflecting the 10th anniversary of Masdar in 2016 (and the 10th world future energy summit).

“It was a pleasure to see so many UAE residents join us for the fourth Festival at Masdar City; without doubt, it was the biggest yet,” said Dr Nawal Al Hosany, Executive Director for Sustainability & Brand at Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company.

“Each year the Festival proves that sustainability can be fun, and that it is easy to incorporate into our everyday lives,” she added. “Masdar City is the ideal venue to take the sustainability message into the community. And with the Masdar Park now up and running, we hope to welcome even more visitors to Masdar City in the months ahead.”

The Festival marks the end of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017. This year’s event featured the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum, the seventh General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) the ninth Zayed Future Energy Prize and the tenth World Future Energy Summit. A global platform for renewable energy policy and business, ADSW 2017 saw a 35% increase in exhibitors and a 19% rise in attendees compared to last year.

19 JAN 2017

Masdar and Bee’ah to build 300,000 tonne waste-to-energy plant in Sharjah

Cutting-edge facility will produce 30MW of total energy from municipal solid waste 

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; January 18, 2017: Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, is to develop a cutting-edge waste-to-energy plant in Sharjah in partnership with Bee’ah, the Middle East’s leading and award-winning environmental management company, it was announced today at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017.

Diverting as much as 300,000 tonnes of solid waste from landfill each year, the project will help Sharjah reach its “zero waste-to-landfill” target by 2020 – and the UAE deliver on its 2021 goal of diverting 75 per cent of solid waste from landfills.

Masdar and Bee’ah signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on the development of new energy projects at ADSW 2016. The facility will incinerate up to 37.5 tonnes of solid waste per hour to generate 30 megawatts (MW) of energy. This will add more power to what is produced by Bee’ah’s auxiliary waste-to-energy project, which will eventually produce a total of 90 MW supplied to the Sharjah electricity grid.

Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of Bee’ah, said: “Today marks the first venture in the realisation of the partnership that we announced with Masdar last year. The cutting-edge waste-to-energy plant in Sharjah is a concrete example of what this strategic partnership will deliver to the UAE and the communities that we serve. We, at Bee’ah, have always been driven by our mission to make the UAE an icon of environmental best practices, and this plant will help us achieve our ambitious environmental goals for the Emirate.

“The agreement signed today will lead to more projects and bold initiatives that will help the partnership to ensure a sustainable and green future for the UAE.”

Established in 2007, Bee’ah collects approximately 2.3 million tonnes of waste from nearly one million households in Sharjah each year, diverting around 70 per cent of its collected waste to its recycling waste management facilities from landfill.

“As one of the leading renewable energy developers in the Middle East and North Africa, we are proud to enter into a partnership with Bee’ah that will both diversify our clean energy portfolio and help commercialise sustainable solutions to Sharjah’s and the UAE’s waste management challenges,” said Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar.

“With GCC countries having among the highest rates of per-capita waste production in the world, sustainable waste management solutions are both critically important and a clear business opportunity. Masdar will combine its proven expertise in renewable energy project development over the last ten years with Bee’ah’s track record in environmentally responsible waste management, to deliver a project that will catalyse further investment in waste-to-energy infrastructure in the UAE and beyond.”

Masdar’s Clean Energy division is a leading developer and owner of utility-scale, grid-connected projects; remote applications providing energy access to communities away from the electricity grid; and carbon abatement projects. Since 2006, Masdar has invested in renewable energy projects with a combined value of US$8.5 billion; Masdar’s share of these projects is US$2.7 billion.

Masdar’s renewable energy projects span the UAE, Jordan, Mauritania, Egypt, Morocco, the UK, Serbia and Spain. The electricity generating capacity of these projects, which are either fully developed or under development, is 2.7 gigawatts (GW) gross.

Elsewhere in the UAE, Masdar is adopting waste management best practices in the development of Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, one of the world’s most sustainable urban developments. Its on-site construction waste management demonstration project reuses and recycles waste building materials from the City’s construction, including metal, plastic, wood and construction aggregate.