The 2019 edition of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week successfully concluded on January 19, with the region’s largest sustainability gathering once again achieving new milestones for attendance, participation and business deals.
To align more closely with the UAE Vision 2021 and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, ADSW 2019 took place under the theme “Industry Convergence: Advancing Sustainable Development” and on the six pillars of Energy & Climate Change, Water, Future Mobility, Space, Biotechnology and Tech for Good.
An estimated US$11 billion in project announcements and business partnerships were announced during the week, with a focus on opportunities in India.
Underlining the key role played by youth and entrepreneurship, two dozen clean-tech startups participating in the Climate Innovation Exchange (CLIX) also received investment pledges of US$53.9 million, more than double the amount committed at its first event last year. CLIX is hosted by the World Future Energy Summit, the anchor exhibition of ADSW, and supported by the Ministry of Climate Change & Environment.
No fewer than 13 heads of state attended ADSW 2019, which began with the general assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) from January 12-13 and concluded with the two-day Festival at Masdar City.
With 2019 declared the ‘Year of Tolerance’ in the UAE, ADSW provided a unique opportunity to promote the country’s inherent values of tolerance, acceptance and understanding, while carrying forward the late Sheikh Zayed’s rich legacy of inclusion.
By bringing 38,000 people together from 175 countries, representing a diversity of cultures and backgrounds, ADSW 2019 helped reinforce the UAE’s position as a haven of tolerance and a hub for opportunity and creativity.
Reflecting the critical importance of the developing world in mitigating climate change, ADSW this year welcomed the heads of state of Angola, Armenia, Comoros, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Montenegro, Namibia, Samoa and Tuvalu. IRENA bid farewell to its outgoing director general Adnan Amin, while welcoming his successor Francesco La Camera.
The President of China, Xi Jinping, was also represented by His Excellency Yang Jiechi, Special Envoy and Director of the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Communist Party of China.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, witnessed the Official Opening Ceremony of ADSW on January 14, together with the Awards Ceremony of the Zayed Sustainability Prize.
In keeping with the expanded mandate of ADSW beyond renewable energy, the Prize honoured winners in the five categories of health, food, water, energy and global high schools.
Since awarding the prize for the first time in 2009, its winners have had a direct and indirect impact on the lives of more than 307 million people around the world and have been able to contribute significantly towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 1 billion tons. They have also saved 1.2 billion megawatts of clean energy, while expanding access to energy to 27.5 million people in some of the poorest communities in Africa and Asia.
Now established as one of the world’s largest sustainability gatherings, ADSW hosted more than 850 exhibiting companies from 40 countries this year, as well as 180 government ministers and 300 conference speakers.
ADSW also welcomed several new and high-profile additions to its week-long programme, including the Future Sustainability Summit, the inaugural Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum, hosted by Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), and the WiSER Forum, a Masdar-led initiative dedicated to the advancement of women in the sustainability sector.
The Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum witnessed ADGM launch the Abu Dhabi Declaration on Sustainable Finance to position the MENA region as a hub for investment into the sector. The announcement was well timed with Saudi Arabia energy minister Khaled Al Falih announcing at ADSW that the Kingdom intends to deliver as much as 60 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030.
Once again, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (‘Masdar’) was proud to host Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. This year’s event coincided with a number of key business announcements, including the selection of the consortium led by EDF Renewables and Masdar to develop Saudi Arabia’s and the region’s largest wind energy project, the 400-megawatt Dumat Al Jandal wind farm.
Masdar also announced its entry into North America, with the acquisition of a stake in two wind projects in Texas and New Mexico, a strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi Power Corporation and Mubadala Investment Company related to new power and water infrastructure in Abu Dhabi, and the unveiling of the third cycle of development under the US$50 million Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund, the largest clean energy initiative in the Caribbean.