UAE: Senior officials, business community hail President’s announcement on Year of Sustainability

They are pleased with the strong commitment made by the leadership towards achieving a sustainable future for all residents

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed during a tour of a vertical farm. — Wam file
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed during a tour of a vertical farm. — Wam file

Nandini Sircar

Published: Fri 20 Jan 2023, 5:02 PM

Last updated: Fri 20 Jan 2023, 8:02 PM

Senior officials and prominent representatives of the country’s business community have hailed the UAE President’s declaration of 2023 being the Year of Sustainability in the country.

The President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, made the announcement on Friday as the country gears up for the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 28) global climate summit, which is set to be held at Expo City Dubai this year from November 30 to December 12.

The Year of Sustainability, with all its initiatives, draws upon the UAE’s rich heritage to inspire sustainable practices — and all those who call the UAE home to work towards a more sustainable and prosperous future.

COP28 President-Designate, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, on Friday, issued a statement on the Declaration of 2023 as the ‘Year of Sustainability.’ He said “The declaration reflects the UAE’s commitment to promote sustainability in all fields and sectors, and paves the way for the country’s efforts to accelerate global climate action ahead of COP28.”

He added, “the UAE has long maintained that the principles of sustainability must be incorporated into every sector of the economy. The country’s commitment to sustainability was led by its founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and this commitment remains a guiding light for the current leadership.”

The ‘Year of Sustainability’ will culminate in the most important climate event of the year, COP28 UAE, which will take place at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12, 2023.

Dr. Sultan said “The UAE will strive to make COP28 one of solidarity and action. It will listen, engage, and build partnerships with all parties who seek to play a constructive role in the clean energy transition. It will bridge the global north and south and include public and private sectors, scientists and civil society, women and youth. And it will raise ambitions and move from goals to concrete action.”

He concluded, “The “Year of Sustainability” offers a reminder of the need for innovation across all sectors to drive inclusive and transformational development—and of the important role that the UAE must play to create this future.”

Hala Badri, director-general of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, said: “The announcement by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed declaring 2023 as the ‘Year of Sustainability’ cements the country’s ambitions to improve the quality of life by ensuring sustainability of our sectors and resources. The country’s hosting of the COP28 summit embodies its visions, approaches and goals related to sustainability in order to ensure a better future for future generations.

"At Dubai Culture, we are keen on supporting the UAE’s agenda of achieving the global sustainable development goals and on promoting them in all cultural and creative industries, making sustainability a way of life," she added.

Sultan Butti bin Mejren, director-general of Dubai Land Department, said: “His Highness Sheikh Mohamed declared 2023 the ‘Year of Sustainability’, affirming the UAE’s commitment to promoting sustainable practices in various fields and sectors towards a more prosperous future and enhancing the country’s global position as a major contributor to the creation of innovative and sustainable solutions for the various challenges facing our world. Choosing the slogan ‘Today for tomorrow’ is an invitation from His Highness to participate in this pioneering approach and contribute to building a better tomorrow for our country and upcoming generations."

"As custodians of the real estate sector and its development in Dubai, we at DLD will work to establish a sustainable real estate model that supports the visions and strategies of our wise leadership towards achieving their goals," he added.

Dan Chumley master tailor Ross Carrington Bespoke Middle East LLC, said: “The UAE has always been at the forefront of sustainability initiatives and the announcement is indeed timely, especially, as the UAE will host the COP 28 later this year. Design Thinking Process to create innovative solutions for some of the most pressing local and global issues is imperative. At a personal level, in my enterprise, I have started using more sustainable fabrics in my bespoke tailoring business such as pure bamboo. Businesses need to be at center of decision-making, recognizing themselves as key influencers in addressing the compelling and complex social, economic, and environmental global challenges that affect the planet Earth.”

Dr Karen Remo, founder and CEO, New Perspective Media Group, said:"We are excited to support the UAE national theme for 2023, which has just been announced by the President. This announcement not only demonstrates the deep-rooted legacy of the UAE's founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, on preserving the country’s natural resources, but it also demonstrates the country's commitment to fostering global collaboration, as amplified in the country hosting of the COP28."

She added: "We are delighted to be a part of this national movement as a media and marketing firm, and we are devoted to promoting and creating awareness about sustainable practices and the need of environmental protection."

Business leaders also highlighted how sustainability is increasingly taking a core position in framing business strategy.

Suliman Al Zaben, director of Hyundai and Genesis UAE, explained: “Sustainability has been a fundamental pillar for us that has helped us empower our internal structures and employees and drive the roll-out of electric vehicles and charging stations to align with national strategies and measures."

"On behalf of us all at the establishment, we are proud and privileged to be active members of this great nation and will continue to support its further growth and transition to the future," he added.

Kamal Vachani, partner and group director of Al Maya Group, said: “The Year of Sustainability announcement is truly inspirational. This declaration, coinciding with the UAE’s hosting of the COP28 summit, is a testament to this great nation’s vision for a planet for all of us. The UAE has continued to make strides in the fight against climate change, such as through the upcoming nationwide plastic ban in 2024, among many others."

"My team and I at the Al Maya Group are looking to eliminate plastics as well as reduce carbon emissions across our operations. We are also aiming to become more energy efficient by reducing our power consumption. Our group is also currently in talks with consultants to minimise food wastage,” he added.

Farhad Azizi, CEO of Azizi Developments, said: “We eagerly welcome the announcement of Sheikh Mohamed pertaining to the ‘Year of Sustainability.’ We at Azizi Developments strive to create an exemplary model of sustainable development through our projects, and as one of the leading developers in the Emirates, it is our duty to ensure that our developments reflect the latest global trends in green construction."

"This is a win-win for all stakeholders, as sustainable development helps our residents and us save costs and preserve the world. We will continue to add value, developing environmentally low-impact buildings to live, work and play in," he added.

Dr Mostafa AlGuezeri, managing director, Hitachi Energy for the UAE, Gulf, Near East and Pakistan, said: "The declaration of 2023 as the Year of Sustainability and (the UAE's) role as host of COP28 reminds us of the importance of coming together and working to accomplish a common goal in the fight against climate change. This is in addition to the country having already taken major steps towards achieving a net-zero goal with the ‘2050 Net-Zero Initiative.

"We have had the privilege to collaborate with the UAE government on their journey to carbon neutrality with numerous utility, industry and infrastructure sector projects to provide innovative solutions and services across the value chain."


More news from UAE