As world leaders gathered in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly, over 80 top officials representing a diverse range of organisations convened to launch the Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) Initiative. Founded by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, and the Zayed Future Energy Prize, WiSER aims to empower and inspire women to be catalysts of innovation and the drivers of commercial solutions that will address climate change and secure access to food, energy and water.
“As vital members of society, women are essential to building stronger and healthier economies. Nowhere is this need more important than in achieving a sustainable economic, environmental and energy future,” said Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, United Arab Emirates Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar. “WiSER aims to be both a platform for dialogue, new thinking and thought-provoking ideas, as well as a pathway for women to gain real-world experience and to build the skills necessary to be leaders of industry, and drivers of commercial solutions.”
During the launch event, leadership from Masdar and the Zayed Future Energy Prize unveiled key elements of the WiSER initiative designed to promote the role women play in industries related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). WiSER also announced that the group will convene regularly in cities around the world to encourage participation in these fields.
“The WiSER initiative plays a critical role in connecting networks and building relationships across different communities to improve decision-making for sustainable development,” said H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD). “To meet the challenges facing the global economy, women must occupy more decision making roles in government, engineering and science in order to meet our needs.”
WiSER intends to partner with academic and research institutions, women’s networking groups and corporate interests in order to create education and training opportunities, which will enable young women of all ages to develop the necessary hands-on industry experience to contribute to these industries. WiSER leadership views education and training as the fundamental building blocks to be competitive in the marketplace and to succeed in creating real-world solutions.
“I applaud the WiSER Initiative and I am pleased to see a group dedicated solely to establishing opportunities for women at the global level,” said Dymphna Van der Lans, CEO of the Clinton Climate Initiative. “These education and training opportunities will help women from all over the world gain hands-on industry experience across disciplines they might not have thought of pursuing before.”
As part of the launch event, Masdar and the Zayed Future Energy Prize also announced the members of the WiSER Advisory Council, who will oversee the implementation of the programmes under the WiSER Initiative. The Advisory Council will serve as a global reference for the initiative on women’s leadership and careers in sustainability, particularly related to energy, water and climate change.
“I am excited to serve on the Advisory Council to the Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy Initiative,” said Rachel Kyte, Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change. “We know billions of women around the world make decisions every day that influence carbon emissions and there are countless examples where empowering women to exercise leadership within their communities contributes to climate resilience. Supporting women to play leadership roles, at all ages, will make the difference for them and for the planet.”
“I served a key role in the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative, which engages top-level leadership from more than 85 different countries in all sectors of society to make sustainable energy a reality for everybody at the global level,” said Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, former Special Representative of the Secretary-General for SE4All. “WiSER builds on this same idea by helping women develop themselves professionally in order to serve in roles that will help make that a reality, so I am happy to support this important cause.”
“WiSER will serve as a network that connects aspiring engineers, recent graduates and those looking for employment opportunities with real-world projects and companies operating in the energy, technology or sustainability sector, and it’s one that I am proud to support,” said Deb Frodl, Global Executive Director of Ecomagination at GE.
“WiSER is poised to be a valuable networking and knowledge-sharing platform to engage women of all ages around the world, who are interested in pursuing careers in renewable energy and sustainability,” said Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). “It will give them access and valuable insight on what is required to succeed in industries related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which in turn will help encourage greater adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy in both developed and developing nations.”
Members of the Advisory Council include:
Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State UAE & Chairman of Masdar;
Razan Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD);
Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology;
Dr. Thani Al-Zeyoudi, Director of Energy and Climate Change, Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA);
Kathy Calvin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation;
Deb Frodl, Global Executive Director, Ecomagination, GE;
Margery Kraus, Founder & Executive Chairman of APCO Worldwide;
Rachel Kyte, Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change, World Bank Group;
Michael Liebreich, Chairman of the Advisory Board, Bloomberg New Energy Finance;
Marie-Jose Nadeau, Chair, World Energy Council & Executive Vice President - Corporate Affairs and Secretary General Hydro-Quebec;
Lana Nusseibeh, UAE Ambassador to the United Nations;
Dymphna Van der Lans, CEO of the Clinton Climate Initiative;
Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, former Special Representative of the Secretary-General for SE4All.