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Inaugural Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week Starts Today

30,000 people expected to attend the Middle East’s largest gathering dedicated to renewable energy and sustainability


Abu Dhabi-UAE: 13 January, 2013 – Thousands of renewable energy and sustainability leaders are descending on Abu Dhabi today for the first day of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), the Middle East’s largest sustainability gathering, which will address the interconnected challenges affecting the global adoption of renewable energy, water security and sustainable development. 

ADSW will attract an estimated 30,000 policy makers, thought leaders, private sector experts and scientific scholars from more than 150 countries to take part in a series of high-level discussions, panels and events that advance the deployment of renewable energy and clean technology solutions. Hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, ADSW events will run through January 17. 

“Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is a testament to the legacy of sustainability instilled by our Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan,” said Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar. “Today, sustainability lies at the core of the UAE’s economic development and diversification plans. 

“The United Arab Emirates has always placed significant emphasis on addressing challenges we face as a global community. Through platforms like Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, we are driving collaboration, investment and the dialogue necessary to seriously address the challenges of energy and water security as well as sustainable development,” added Dr. Al Jaber. 

The opening ceremony of ADSW will take place on January 15 alongside the sixth World Future Energy Summit, the fifth International Renewable Energy Conference and inaugural International Water Summit. Notable speakers at the opening ceremony will include:

  • Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
  • François Hollande,  President of France,  
  • Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, President of Argentina 

An industry perspective will also be given by Siemens CEO Peter Löscher at the opening ceremony. Among the attendees are the President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Prime Minister of Serbia Ivica Dačić, Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic, and President of Mauritania Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

ADSW builds on the success of the World Future Energy Summit, the world’s foremost annual event dedicated to advancing future energy, energy efficiency and clean technologies that has been hosted by Masdar since 2008.

ADSW will include five integrated events: the third general assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA); the sixth World Future Energy Summit; the International Renewable Energy Conference; the International Water Summit; and the fifth Zayed Future Energy Prize Awards Ceremony. Other events also taking place during ADSW include the first energy ministerial of South American and Arab countries (ASPA) and the Global Green Growth Institute Council meeting.

The first event of the week is the third general assembly of IRENA. The world's first intergovernmental organisation dedicated to renewable energy, IRENA is headquartered in Abu Dhabi and counts 158 states as well as the EU among its members.The assembly takes place on January 13 and 14.

The sixth World Future Energy Summit, January 15-17, will bring together the most prominent industry leaders, government officials, ministers, technology experts and visitors to discuss the future of renewable energy in the region and beyond. The event will be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

A status report showcasing the policy trends and investment opportunities across the Gulf region will be released at the International Renewable Energy Conference, which takes place January 15-17. The conference, held every other year in cities around the world, this year has selected Abu Dhabi as its host city. Also located at ADNEC, the conference will gather leaders from government, business and civil society to share advancements and best practices in renewable energy policy, finance and business.

From January 15-17, government leaders, policy-makers and NGOs will also explore the nexus between water and energy during the first-ever International Water Summit. The summit, held at ADNEC, will gather influential water experts to discuss critical water issues in arid regions, how resources can be used more efficiently, and identify the policies needed to encourage water conservation and address scarcity.

Innovators who have made the latest breakthroughs in renewable energy and created meaningful impact on environmental sustainability will be recognised at the Awards Ceremony for the fifth Zayed Future Energy Prize, held at Emirates Palace on January 15.

The week will also be marked by the installation of “Wendy,” an award-winning art exhibit located on the Abu Dhabi corniche. Designed by HWKN (Matthias Hollwich and Marc Kushner) of New York, the nylon art installation is treated with a ground-breaking titania nanoparticle spray to actively clean the air by neutralising airborne pollutants. Powered by Masdar by using solar panels onsite, Wendy provides people an opportunity to interact with functional artwork, which also provides an environmental benefit.  

“This is a historic week in Abu Dhabi,” said Dr. Al Jaber. “The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week has brought together leaders from the public and private sectors from around the world. Together we will work towards identifying solutions to achieve sustainable development and ensure improved access to clean energy and water.

“Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is also about creating awareness and community participation,” added Dr. Al Jaber. “We encourage people to attend the exhibitions and conferences throughout the week and to engage on important global issues, such as energy access, water security and climate change.”