19 JAN 2021

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week Summit discusses ways to achieve a sustainable post-COVID-19 recovery

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, January 19, 2021: In the presence of His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week Summit got underway this morning as part of ADSW 2021, the global platform for accelerating the pace of sustainable development. Hosted by Masdar, the event is being held virtually this year due to restriction in place to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.
His Highness welcomed the leaders, officials and experts participating in the sessions of this year’s summit to discuss how to enact a ‘green recovery’ to help economies rebound from the pandemic and build a more sustainable future for all.

His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan emphasized that the UAE is continuing its efforts under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and with the support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to stimulate sustainable development, and said that ADSW is particularly relevant this year as it represents a global platform for dialogue and setting the sustainable development agenda based on the principles of the green recovery.

His Highness said: "In light of the exceptional circumstances that the world is experiencing, there is an urgent need to take practical steps and initiatives that contribute to accelerating the application of the principles and foundations of sustainable development, with the need to take proactive steps, plan for a more flexible future and strengthen capabilities in order to efficiently face the existing and emerging challenges.
“The Emirati initiatives, present to the world a practical model on the economic feasibility of renewable energy, stressing the importance of cooperation and joint work to achieve tangible progress in the field of reducing the repercussions of climate change”.

His Highness said that Abu Dhabi continues, year after year, to consolidate its position and pivotal role as a platform that brings together the international community to discuss key issues in sustainability. He said that he hoped that this year’s ADSW would be the starting point for constructive global dialogue on building a secure and stable future for current and future generations.

H.S.H. Prince Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, delivered the Summit’s keynote speech, thanked Abu Dhabi for hosting this event under these circumstances and said: “I believe the crisis we are experiencing is urging us to reinvent the ways we live, produce and travel in a more radical manner. It is urging us to rethink our relationship with nature and to reevaluate our priorities. In this respect, the coming year will be full of opportunities which we need to grasp.”

His Excellency Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Special Envoy for Climate Change and Chairman of Masdar, delivered a speech in which he welcomed the guests and participants of the Summit, praising the wise leadership's support for sustainable development.

His Excellency said that the COVID-19 pandemic was a wake-up call to humanity as a whole, and that it demonstrated the importance of sustainability in its broadest sense, and revealed the interdependence between health and food and resource security. His Excellency explained how efforts made by the UAE  to face the pandemic, through proactive measures enacted by the wise leadership,  focused on enhancing resource security and supporting vital supply chains.
His Excellency stressed the concept of cooperation and building bridges of dialogue and communication, noting that the country will host the Dubai Expo later this year, with sustainability and the future as the main themes of this event.
His Excellency touched on the Zayed Sustainability Prize and its role in promoting global sustainability efforts, as it has achieved a positive impact on more than 350 million people around the world. He said that the award has a special place among the UAE’s leadership because it embodies the values and principles of the founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and especially his commitment to sustainable progress. His Excellency explained that the award will return in its usual form next year, with a focus on aspects of innovation and recovery for the post-COVID period.

The ADSW Summit comprises three sessions of two hours each, and focuses on three topics: restoring the circle of life (Live & Move), enhancing responsibility and interaction (Care & Engage), and doing business and investment (Work & Invest). Each topic addresses the main issues and topics that would open the way for the many social, economic and technological opportunities to achieve a post-pandemic green recovery.
As well as the Summit, ADSW, which runs from January 18-21, hosts a series of high-level virtual activities, including the General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Abu Dhabi Forum for Sustainable Finance, and the Global Energy Forum of the Atlantic Council. the virtual forum for the "Youth for Sustainability" platform, and the World Future Energy Summit forums.

In addition to His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco; speakers at the summit include: His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Al-Waleed bin Talal Al Saud, Chairman of the Board of Directors of "KBW" Investment; His Excellency Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority, Group Chief Executive Officer, and Managing Director of Mubadala Investment; Grace Fu, Minister of Sustainability and Environment of the Government of Singapore; Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), and founder and CEO of Kalimat Group; His Excellency Engineer Aweidah Morshed Al Marar, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy; Francisco Lacamera, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA); Maymouna Mohamed Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat; Noel Quinn, CEO of HSBC Holding Group; Lawrence Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock; And Dr Lucas Juba, CEO of Environmental Practices at Microsoft,.

Through its various initiatives and events, ADSW advances the process of exchanging knowledge, implementing strategies, and developing realistic solutions to face the challenges of sustainability and climate change. As the first major global event in 2021, the year in which the UAE celebrates its 50th anniversary, the week contributes a pioneering role in enhancing cooperation between the public and private sectors in order to achieve the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Since the launch of its activities more than a decade ago, ADSW has grown to become one of the largest gatherings concerned with sustainability in the world. The 2020 edition of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week attracted more than 45,000 participants from more than 170 countries, and saw the participation of 10 heads of state, in addition to 160 ministers and ambassadors.
To view the full program of ADSW 2021, please visit www.abudhabisustainabilityweek.com

17 DEC 2016

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017 targets new technologies in meeting

Abu Dhabi, UAE, December 17, 2016 – Ground water scarcity exacerbated by increased water demand due to population growth and the effects of climate change – droughts, higher temperatures – is a critical sustainability challenge for many regions of the world. The Middle East & North Africa (MENA) is no exception.

As the gap between water demand and availability in the Arabian Gulf widens, the pressure on desalination technologies to meet water consumption needs inevitably grows.

At the next Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), taking place from January 12-21, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar will present technical data from an innovative pilot programme that could pave the way for the commercial adoption of seawater desalination powered by clean energy.

The programme, which last month completed one year of operations, was announced at the inaugural International Water Summit (IWS) – one of the co-located exhibitions at ADSW – in January 2013.

It started with four small-scale desalination plants testing innovative energy-efficient desalination technologies; a fifth was launched in October this year, run by the French engineering company Mascara.

“The Mascara project uses reverse osmosis technology and is a showcase of an off-grid solution,” said Dr Alexander Ritschel, Head of Applications Development at Masdar’s Clean Energy division. “It can be operated independently, off-grid; it’s a 100% photovoltaics-powered desalination system. It also works without batteries and chemicals, so it’s a solution for remote locations.”

Mascara’s new plant produces 30 cubic metres of desalinated seawater per day, bringing the combined daily output of all five pilot plants in Ghantoot, Abu Dhabi to 1,500 cubic metres. The other partners in the programme are Abengoa, Suez, Sidem (Veolia) and Trevi Systems.

Altogether, four companies are evaluating reverse osmosis technology, while the fifth is researching forward osmosis. Reverse osmosis is a more energy efficient alternative to the thermal technology currently used for large-scale seawater desalination across the Arabian Gulf.

Forward osmosis is still an emerging technology but could be a viable long-term solution for hard-to-treat water sources such as highly saline water (including certain groundwater sources in the UAE or the brine stream ejected by desalination plants) or water containing significant amounts of organic matter.

“The results of our pilot programme after one year are very encouraging; performance in terms of reliability has been very high,” added Dr Ritschel. “The programme is preparing the ground for the transition expected to take place over the next decade from integrated water-and-power-generation plants to standalone, membrane-based desalination facilities powered only by electricity.”

With many conventional desalination installations nearing the end of their operational life over the next few years, and with potable water consumption in MENA expected to increase from 42 cubic kilometres per year in 2012 today to 200 cubic kilometres by 2050, the opportunities to deploy more energy-efficient alternatives, commercially and at scale, are increasingly coming under the spotlight.

The technologies being tested in Masdar’s Renewable Energy Desalination Programme are up to 40%-less energy intensive than thermal seawater desalination, according to Dr Ritschel.

The practical steps needed to advance clean-energy desalination will be a key topic at the next International Water Summit in January, which will focus on the needs of the MENA region. Other issues on the conference agenda include water project financing, waste water strategies and recycling, smart infrastructure, and water in the urban environment.

In parallel with adopting more sustainable methods to produce drinking water, the UAE is rolling out initiatives to reduce water demand. Unveiled at IWS two years ago, the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi is implementing a “water budget” aimed at the more responsible management of the emirates’ finite water resources.

The “budget” is based on a combination of strategies including reducing waste, increasing the efficiency of irrigation technologies and methods (forestry, agriculture and landscaping alone consume more than 80% of Abu Dhabi’s water supply) and reducing utility subsidies for residential consumers.

“Abu Dhabi’s daily rate of domestic water consumption is about 563 litres per capita, still the highest in the world, and domestic water demand will more than double by 2030,” said Dr Mohammed Abdel Hamyd Dawoud, EAD Advisor for Water Resources, Environment Quality Sector. “The new tariff structure that has been introduced is helping to reduce this rate.”

“EAD is working with TRANSCO [Abu Dhabi Transmission & Despatch Company] in the Liwa strategic water reserve project [a five-billion-gallon aquifer made up of injected desalinated water], which will be completed this month,” added Dr Dawoud, who will address a panel on energy-efficient desalination in the Middle East at IWS 2017.

Today, Abu Dhabi’s available fresh groundwater resources stand at barely 0.5%, and water access is becoming increasingly stretched for around a quarter of the world’s population.

According to a World Bank report, the average person in the MENA region has only 1,000 cubic metres of fresh water available per year, compared with the global average of 7,000 cubic metres.

Concerns over water scarcity and the sustainability challenges associated with conventional seawater desalination methods are motivating greater collaboration to find workable, commercially viable solutions.

Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar was a co-founder of the Global Clean Water Desalination Alliance (GCWDA) at COP21 in Paris along with the French government and the International Desalination Association. Today, the Alliance has 141 members from dozens of countries.

At the COP22 international climate conference in Morocco last month, the GCWDA signed the Marrakech Declaration of Global Alliances for Water and Climate (GAWC) stipulating cooperation in three strategic areas: stakeholder mobilisation to secure a place for water in climate summits, negotiations and financial mechanisms; the exchange of lessons learned and existing best practices; and the identification and support for new actions.

Marking the one-year anniversary of the Alliance, His Excellency Michel Miraillet, the Ambassador of France to the UAE, said: “The Alliance is a benchmark for effective international cooperation, offering a multilateral platform for both government and the private sector to work together on policy and technical innovation.”

The Alliance will host its next board meeting at ADSW 2017.

27 APR 2021

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week releases “Work & Invest", the last in the series of white papers capturing the key takeaways of the 2021 ADSW Summit

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week has released the final white paper in a series, which capture the key takeaways from the 2021 ADSW Summit.

Each white paper features insights and quotes from global leaders across government, business and industry. To watch sessions from the ADSW Summit, please visit the ADSW YouTube channel.

The "Work & Invest" white paper examines how Covid-19 pandemic has greatly impacted and redirecting the way we conduct business, with companies increasingly focusing on sustainable investments. Sustainability has emerged at the top of business agenda, as research has revealed that Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investments outperformed non-ESG investments in almost every month from January to September 2020.


Download the white paper from here.

27 APR 2021

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week releases “Care & Engage", the second in the series of three white papers capturing the key takeaways of the 2021 ADSW Summit

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week has released the second in the series of three white papers, which capture the key takeaways from the 2021 ADSW Summit.

Each white paper will feature insights and quotes from global leaders across government, business and industry. To watch sessions from the ADSW Summit, please visit the ADSW YouTube channel.

The "Care & Engage" white paper examines how the measures put in place around the world to tackle the spread of Covid-19 have resulted in short-term benefits to the environment. Care & Engage goes on to highlight the technological solutions and political frameworks that will need to be adopted over the next decade to mitigate the challenges relating to climate change.


Download the white paper from here.