The new decade should be the start of ten years of action to enable the world to work together to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, UAE ministers and business leaders have declared ahead of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).
ADSW 2020, one of the largest sustainability gatherings in the world, is taking place in the UAE capital from January 11-18. The event will host heads of state, government ministers, policymakers, industry experts, innovators and future sustainability leaders.
The 17 SDGs were adopted by all UN member states as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the UN has called for a “decade of ambitious action” to deliver the Goals by 2030.
Achieving targets set under the SDGs could open up US$ 12trillion of market opportunities worldwide, and create 380 million jobs, according to estimates, with as many as 12.4 million jobs generated in the Middle East and North Africa region by 2030.
2020 will also mark a year of preparation for the UAE, as it prepares for its half centennial in 2021 and looks forward to the next 50 years of development.
Through its Vision 2021 agenda and Green Growth Strategy, the UAE has one of the most progressive sustainable development strategies in the region, and will achieve a number of key sustainability targets this year, including the completion of the 800 megawatt third phase of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.
Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week presents to the world a shining example of the UAE’s active involvement in tackling the challenges faced by the international community – an approach that reflects the visionary commitment of our leaders to spearheading the way to a cleaner and better tomorrow.”
Commenting on the role of energy in accelerating sustainable development, HE Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, said: “Energy is at the heart of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and this is why we are proud of our principal partnership with ADSW 2020.
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“This catalyst platform not only cements Abu Dhabi’s position as a global capital of sustainability, but it brings together all the different sectors and associated programmes to bind efforts and boost efficiencies in shaping a sustainable future,” said Al Marar.
“This year’s ADSW theme ‘accelerating sustainable development’ is timely and important as it emphasises the need to capitalise on digitisation and emerging technologies and to prioritise our actions to reduce environmental footprint,” the chairman added.
This year ADSW will feature six key pillars: Energy & Climate Change, Water & Food, the Future of Mobility, Space, Biotechnology in Health, and Technology for Good. Cutting across these pillars and all programmes throughout ADSW 2020 will be the themes of Artificial Intelligence, Community and Youth.
ADSW 2020 will feature the 10th Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), taking place on January 11–12. Delegates will reaffirm the global renewable energy agenda and examine the role renewables will play in alleviating climate change and increasing sustainability.
The week will also mark the second edition of the #WeAreCommitted campaign. Launched by ADSW and Masdar, #WeAreCommitted is a global call to action, providing everyone with a platform for sharing commitments to accelerate sustainable development. The campaign, which is being led by the UAE, has already engaged stakeholders from around the world, ranging from government ministers and business leaders to NGOs and members of the local community.
The anchor event of ADSW 2020 will be The Future Sustainability Summit, where senior policy makers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, academics, and others will examine how advances in technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data and the Internet of Things will accelerate sustainable development.
Returning to ADSW this year is the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum (ADSFF), which aims to drive dialogue on the adoption of sustainable financing and investing in activities with positive economic, social and environmental impacts.