Look: House of Sustainability at COP28 takes visitors through UAE's past, present and future

The house offers glimpses into the sustainability practices of Emiratis that have been handed down generations

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Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Thu 30 Nov 2023, 7:39 PM

Last updated: Thu 30 Nov 2023, 7:40 PM

As COP28 kicked off today, the UAE House of Sustainability was unveiled at the Expo City on Thursday. Previously known as the UAE Pavilion, it offers a multisensory experience showcasing the length and breadth of the UAE’s journey towards a net zero future.

Introducing visitors to the history and culture of the UAE, the house offers glimpses into the sustainability practices of Emiratis that have been handed down generations while also painting a picture of how the future will look like for the country. Here are some of the highlights of the house:

Cultural Experience

Photo: Shihab/Khaleej Times
Photo: Shihab/Khaleej Times

Outside the house, there is an area where visitors can get an experience of the UAE culture. From sipping the traditional coffee (qahwa) to watching dried palm leaves being woven into household items to posing with falcons, there is plenty to explore here.

Al Falaj Irrigation

Photo: Shihab/Khaleej Times
Photo: Shihab/Khaleej Times

A traditional irrigation method used to redirect water from the mountains to the farmlands, this method was championed by the late founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to turn UAE into a green oasis.

Sand dunes of resilience

Photo: Shihab/Khaleej Times
Photo: Shihab/Khaleej Times

Inside the house, there are sand dunes that reflect the past of the UAE. Made from sand gathered from all over the country, these sand dunes tell the story of how ancestors used the heat and the arid sands to their benefit and built sustainable ecosystems.

Climate change champions

Photo: Shihab/Khaleej Times
Photo: Shihab/Khaleej Times

The house pays homage to Emirati climate change champions for their work. One of the families featured here is the Alshareef family who has been continuing the beekeeping profession of their ancestors With more than 500 beehives, they produce five types of Emirati honey such as Samar and Sidr.

Touching Communities

Photo: Shihab/Khaleej Times
Photo: Shihab/Khaleej Times

The Zayed Sustainability Prize has transformed the lives of of 378 million people in 151 countries since it was established in 2008. From a community air quality project in Columbia to an urban farm in Ireland, some real life examples of how the prize has impacted communities around the world are shared here.

Changemakers

Photo: Nasreen Abdulla/Khaleej Times
Photo: Nasreen Abdulla/Khaleej Times

At the sustainable future section, changemakers in the country are recognised. From the founder first UAE-made electric bike Sulmi, Rashid Sulmi, to the brain behind sustainable architecture pioneer Mula, Abdalla Almulla, several local entrepreneurs and change makers are introduced.

Dinner at 2050

Photo: Shihab/Khaleej Times
Photo: Shihab/Khaleej Times

An artificial intelligence-powered dining experience, this activation gets visitors to share their favorite food. The experiential plate gives suggestions on what to substitute in the dish to make it more sustainable. A request for chicken biryani was met with a suggestion to replace chicken with oyster mushrooms as they can be more easily grown in vertical farms.

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