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17 NOV 2022

“Nature can be our ally in the fight against climate change,” H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak tells ASDW talks.

Climate change and biodiversity loss should be tackled together, said Her Excellency Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak.

For billions of years our planet, its climate and the fabric of life have evolved together, said H.E. Razan, President, International Union for Conservation of Nature.

But in the past 150 years this “rich tapestry of life” has started unravelling, she added in her ADSW talk about climate change and biodiversity loss.

“Nature, the foundation upon which life is based, is in a state of crisis,” she said. “We see it in the rapid decline of species and habitats, and this is happening at a time when we realize that we need nature now, more than ever.”

She called for urgent action to address climate change and biodiversity loss on a local and global scale.

H.E. Razan said that the UAE has long recognized the critical role that “natural capital” plays in the nation’s development and well-being.

That is why the UAE has committed to protecting 30 percent of its land and sea by 2030, by investing heavily in its fisheries and wildlife, she added.

“We need to protect our wild spaces, and restore our degraded habitats, so that nature can be our ally in our fight against climate change,” she said.

The UAE’s role as host of COP28 next year also presents an opportunity for the country to see climate change as a driver of its economic transformation.

H.E. Razan said Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which is in its 15th year, has demonstrated its capacity to convene, to communicate and to inspire collaboration on climate action issues and innovation.

 
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03 NOV 2023

UAE’s drive to establish ‘green certified’ schools will instill sustainability within younger generation, says country’s Minister of Education on ADSW Talks

Teaching the next generation about sustainability at an early age will help protect the planet’s future, says Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi on ADSW Talks.

With the global population forecast to reach 10 billion by 2050, it is vital that young people are equipped to drive the energy transition and lead sustainable lifestyles, he adds.

“We need to work on our students today because they will be the ones making the future 20 years from now,” says Dr Al Falasi.

“We are integrating sustainable behaviors at a very early stage to really make students aware of the impact that each of them has on their lives and on the globe.”

This is done inside and outside the classroom, he adds. For instance, students are encouraged to conduct experiments to help them appreciate the importance of sustainability.

Describing the UAE’s ‘Green Education Partnership’, Dr Al Falasi talks about four pillars, including ‘greening’ schools so they reduce their carbon footprints and train teachers to impart sustainability knowledge and encourage environmentally friendly practices.

“We want our schools to become anchors within the communities,” he says.

He adds that the UAE has targets for half of all schools to be ‘green certified’ and to train 2,800 educators and 1,400 school principals. The plan also involves supporting 70 students and teachers to spread the sustainability message globally.

The UN climate change conference COP28, to be hosted in the UAE in November and December, will be the first COP to have an ‘Education Pavilion’. Dr Al Falasi hopes this development will leave a positive legacy.

“We truly believe that a platform is required to convene educators, students, experts, policymakers, and government officials to really work together and integrate sustainability into education,” he says. “This will be a first, but we hope that this will be a consistent theme in all COPs going forward.”

He also shares his dream for future generations to live sustainably, following in their ancestors’ footsteps.

“My wish is that in years from now, my grandchildren and their grandchildren will live a very comfortable life and will go back to our DNA in the UAE,” he says. “We’ve always lived a sustainable life. I would love for us in the future to go back to that lifestyle. To really appreciate every resource that we have, whether it is water, whether it’s energy, whether it’s food and to create an environment where we collaborate for a brighter future.”

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28 JUL 2023

Sustainability is “the responsibility of everyone,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, HE Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, tells ADSW Talks

Only by working together and making sustainability the responsibility of everyone can we advance the sustainability agenda, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade told ADSW Talks.

Dr Al Zeyoudi’s comments come as the UAE celebrates the Year of Sustainability and prepares to host the upcoming COP28 where the world will undertake the first Global Stocktake (GST) to review progress on the Paris Agreement where countries agreed to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Sustainability is an integral part of the UAE’s economic growth targets alongside sustainable technology which will play a “major role” in maintaining water and food security as the UAE addresses the climate challenges ahead, he added.

“Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week has been an instrumental tool in pushing the agenda of renewable and clean energy forward, not just for the region but for the globe,” he said, “a platform where you can bring everyone on board.”

Commenting on the areas which investors need to consider around the sustainability profile of their capital, Dr Al Zeyoudi added, that whilst most investments are driven by sustainability or net zero, consumer demand and conservation, are equally important considerations.

Returning to the responsibility of everyone to support sustainability, and his personal and ministerial net-zero commitments ahead of COP28, Dr Al Zeyoudi says, that both at home and within the Ministry “we lead by example” to embed the best sustainability practices.

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07 JUL 2023

Clean energy is “the road to progress” and COP28 President-Designate has an “extraordinary track record”, says Iceland’s former president on ADSW Talks

Iceland stands as a “model of sustainable energy” because 100 percent of its electricity comes from clean sources, the country’s former President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, told ADSW Talks.

Mr Grímsson, who also described his hopes for COP28, said things hadn’t always been this way.

“Over 80 percent of our energy came from imported oil and coal,” he said. “We are now number one in the world in terms of clean energy transformation, we can offer constant energy prices 10, 20 years into the future.”

He said the core lesson from Iceland is that “a comprehensive clean energy transformation is good business, it’s the foundation of our prosperity, it’s the foundation of our economic success, it’s the foundation of our entrepreneurship.”

Mr Grímsson added, “sustainability is the road to progress through prosperity, to good health to good education, to food. We can create a good life for everybody and save the future of the planet.”

Speaking about the task ahead for HE Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Chairman of Masdar and COP28 President-Designate, he said “Even if he is the CEO of an oil company, people should not forget that he is one of a very small group of leaders in the clean energy transformation with an extraordinary track record… and what’s extraordinary about Dr Sultan’s appointment is that he is willing to let himself come forward and let the world test his leadership, that takes courage…” and a “strong vision.”

Commenting on the effects of climate change in the Arctic, he said, “The climate challenge is fundamentally all about ice, the reason why we have these extreme weather patterns all over the world and rising sea levels is that the glaciers on the ice are melting… It’s the interaction between the ice and the rest of the world, the reason why the monsoon system is now in disarray.”

He sees the role of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week as pivotal in bringing all parties to the table. He added that ADSW had developed into “the biggest annual gathering of the sustainability leadership in the entire world.” It’s success, he said, is tied to its inclusive approach through, “the political leadership, the environmentalists and the scientists, but also the businesses and the young people, which is in itself very important.”

Reflecting on Masdar’s progress since it was first formed in 2006, Mr Grímsson said, “It is a symbol of the 21st century… we don’t have to wait decades for the technologies to be creative… we can do it, we don’t have to wait for new technology that will solve all these problems.”