Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2018, hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, came to a successful conclusion on 20 January after further cementing its role as the world’s most inclusive sustainability gathering. The event brought together more than 38,000 attendees representing 175 countries, ranging from Heads of State and leaders of industry to students and local communities.
Under the theme of ‘Driving the Global Energy Transformation’, this year’s edition of ADSW addressed key global trends which are impacting the shift to sustainable energy, including climate change, urbanisation, and digitisation. Youth were a key focus throughout the week, with a series of high profile events aimed at ensuring young people are equipped to be future sustainability leaders.
ADSW 2018 began on 13-14 January with the sixth General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency. The Opening Ceremony took place on 15 January in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces. Also present were HE Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the President of Mauritania, Danny Faure, the President of Seychelles, and His Royal Highness Prince Al-Hussein Bin Abdullah II, Crown Prince of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, as well 500 senior business executives from 150 countries, representing a 20% increase on 2017.
HH Sheikh Mohammed announced the focus on youth at the Opening Ceremony, and a series of youth-focused events took place throughout the week, including a dedicated Youth Panel, a Youth Circle and the Student Exclusive. This year’s Student Exclusive was held over three days, and was integrated as part of the first Climate Innovation Exchange (CLIX), in order to inspire and enthuse young people about new sustainable technologies and the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation.
As part of the World Future Energy Summit, under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, CLIX proved to be huge success, achieving its aim of providing emerging entrepreneurs with a platform to forge partnerships and secure funding from leading global investors. In total, a quarter of the 27 semi-finalists for CLIX were from the UAE, demonstrating the strong potential for home-grown entrepreneurs to help drive industry innovation.
Throughout the week of ADSW, 22 global events were held including eight exhibitions and special zones; five conferences; six leadership and policy events; and three community events. Commercial deals worth more than US$ 15 billion were announced, while more than 10,000 business meetings were organised, cementing ADSW’s reputation, both as a catalyst for clean-tech innovation and a global platform for business development and industry growth.
This was further demonstrated by the participation at ADSW of major delegations from Asia, including more than 30 companies from China, as well as strong representation from India and Japan. For the second successive year, the week also attracted strong participation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with more than 18 companies and organisations represented.
As host of ADSW, Masdar played a prominent role throughout the week, underlining its position as a global industry leader which is supporting UAE’s drive to establish a resilient, knowledge-based economy. The company’s executives announced multiple business deals and memorandums of understanding, while its experts shared their knowledge and thought leadership across the conference and event programmes.
The World Future Energy Summit (WFES), the anchor event of ADSW, celebrated its 11th edition this year from 15-18 January. This took place alongside the sixth International Water Summit which is held in strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority and the fifth EcoWaste exhibition, held in partnership with TADWEER – Centre of Waste Management, Abu Dhabi. International pavilions were hosted within the exhibitions from 20 different countries.
The tenth edition of the Awards Ceremony for the Zayed Future Energy Prize took place alongside the Opening Ceremony, honouring the achievements of winners from across the world for their leadership in renewable energy and sustainability. Once again, this important event attracted significant media attention, particularly in the countries of the nine winners.
Held for the third consecutive year, ADSW also hosted the Women in Sustainability, Environment & Renewable Energy (WiSER) conference, which advocates the role of women in building a sustainable future. To round off a very busy and successful week, the Festival at Masdar City attracted thousands of attendees to enjoy fun, food and live entertainment for the whole community.