Global pioneers focus on clean energy solutions
Over the last decade, the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week has developed in size, representing 175 countries.
UAE leaders on Monday inaugurated the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) that focuses on finding effective, clean and renewable energy solutions to create a better future for the world.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, attended the opening ceremony.
The event, considered the largest sustainability gathering in the Middle East, is focused on developing the world's understanding of social, economic and environmental issues linked to sustainable development. It is set to run until January 19.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said on Twitter: "Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is a platform that brings together experts from across the world to the UAE to discuss innovative ideas and find a sustainable approach aimed at building a sustainable world that will provide the future generations with clean energy, water and food.
"We look forward to working with our partners around the world to find suitable solutions that will help achieve happiness and comfort of the people to ensure their future and that of the future generations around the world."
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed also tweeted: "The UAE, under the leadership of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, supports global efforts to achieve the goals of the 'Global Sustainability Agenda' and continues to play a leading role in stimulating various initiatives that serve humanity and achieve stability and prosperity for countries and societies. This is in line with the approach of the UAE founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan."
In his opening remarks, Dr Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and chairman of Masdar, said this year would be crucial for sustainable development globally.
"Over the last decade, the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week has developed in size, representing 175 countries. Today, it is clear that the UAE has become a key convener of the global sustainability conversation," he said.
Al Jaber added: "The UAE has injected confidence in renewable energy and strengthened diversified solar energy projects within the region and beyond our borders. "We are building bridges across borders after bringing the public and private sectors together around a single common cause."
Message from China
Delivering a message from Chinese President Xi Jinping, his special representative Yang Jiechi said China and the Gulf states are allies in ensuring environmental protection and promoting sustainable development.
"Countries need to work together on global development and make it more sustainable. With combined efforts, we shall meet the 2030 sustainability goals set by the United Nations," said Jiechi.
"China will always work with the UAE and others to ensure a clean and beautiful world."
He added: "For today's China, green, low-carbon sustainable development has taken greater strides and has become an important part of a successful economic transformation."
According to Jiechi, the ADSW is an incubator of new developmental ideas that can drive global progress.
This year's ADSW edition is held under the theme 'Industry Convergence: Accelerating Sustainable Development'. It is set to explore how industries are responding to the digital transformation in the global economy, which in turn is giving rise to new opportunities to address sustainability challenges.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed presented awards to the 10 winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize in five categories including health, food, water, energy and global high schools.
They will be given Dh2.2 million each to promote their sustainability projects.
The winners of Zayed Sustainability Prize
>Food category: Sanku
It's an organisation based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which reaches out to communities that are vulnerable to malnutrition. It equips and incentivise small-scale local millers to fortify their flour with innovative technology. With 150 fortification machines installed in flour mills across five East African countries, Sanku is now impacting the lives of almost one million people.
ECOSOFTT provides access to safe and affordable drinking water to homes, schools and communities in Asian countries with technologies that help them harvest spring water and recycle waste water for sustainability. It has implemented over 50 projects in five countries, allowing more than 500,000 people access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene.
>Health: We Care Solar
It is a project that provides solar suitcases tailored for childbirth and related medical services in developing countries in Africa. The company has helped 1.8 million people with solar suitcases to assist midwives and medical professionals in foetal monitoring while also acting as a communication device. We Care Solar has also developed partnerships with 45 organisations, including Unicef and WHO, as well as ministries across Africa, all of which supported the launch of its 2017 "Light Every Birth" initiative.
> Energy: BBOXX
BBOXX is a fast-growing company that has successfully deployed a plug and play solar device across a number of African countries, offering their customers an on-grid experience in an off-grid setting.
The BBOXX model has already connected over 675,000 people with clean, affordable electricity for the first time, and enabled $2.4 million in energy cost savings. BBOXX is reportedly connecting 3,000 new people daily and displacing nearly 87,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Global High Schools:
Americas - The Impact School, Guatemala
The school won in the for its work empowering women by providing schooling for Mayan girls and developing a sustainable farming learning environment.
Europe and Central Asia - Gymnasium Goethe, Tajikistan
The school was selected for its plans to use solar power to raise awareness of alternatives to hydro-electric power. The school already uses solar energy on four lamps, one TV projector and an e-board.
The Middle East and North Africa - American School of Dubai
The UAE school won the prize for its proposal to instal a biodigester for organic waste, use beehives to teach about biodiversity and beekeeping, instal a data dashboard that monitors energy, water and waste and instal automatic timers for air conditioners for faculty housing.
Sub-Saharan Africa - The African Leadership Academy, South Africa
A water treatment machine called The Living Machine, which treats grey water brought the school the prize. It is also looking to implement solar power that will cut electricity costs and increase savings to fund additional renewable energy projects, across the continent.
South Asia - SECMOL, India
The school won the prize for its project work using solar power and sustainable energy to provide power to poor people in the community.
With an existing sustainable campus, the school looks to further invest in solar energy, food gardens and hydroponics, with the aim of making the school fully self-sustainable in kitchen fuel, electricity, and water.
East Asia and Pacific - The Muntinlupa National High School, The Philippines
The school has set its sustainability goals to help the community, which helped it to win the prize.
KT NANO EDIT
For a clean earth
The fact that we humans use about 40 per cent more resources each year than we can put back to nature is alarming. Hence it is important to balance the way we live and ways to protect the environment. For, sustainability is not just about the environment, it's also about our health. And as a society it is imperative that we leave a clean earth for future generations.
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