Organized by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the award seeks to honour individuals whose actions and leadership have made a far-reaching positive impact on the environment. The award is a precursor to the United Arab Emirates’ participation at the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in June, during which governments and civil society will review progress and renew their commitment to global sustainability.
The award highlights Dr. Al Jaber’s achievements in advancing clean energy technologies to mitigate the threats of climate change through Masdar. Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company invests in clean technologies, deploys renewable energy projects and is building a city that adheres to the most rigorous sustainability standards. Masdar also invests in intellectual and human capital through the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.
On receiving the Award in the Entrepreneurial Vision category, Dr. Al Jaber said: “I am honoured to be a recipient of this prestigious award.”
“The UAE’s environmental stewardship was instilled by our nation’s founding father and president, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. In 2005 Sheikh Zayed received the Champions of the Earth award in recognition of his life-long efforts towards achieving sustainable development. The fact that the UAE has been recognized once again, seven years later, shows that we are moving steadily along the path drawn for us by our wise leadership to conserve our environment and preserve it for future generations. Today, safeguarding our environment and economic sustainability are at the core of the UAE’s development plans. It is a great honour for me, Masdar, and the people of the UAE to be recognized for our efforts in fulfilling Sheikh Zayed’s environmental legacy through this award.”
The designation of this award is yet another example of how the UAE is bringing to life action-oriented ideas and innovation that lead to a sustainable economy, environment and society.
In an effort to advance clean energy access and technology, Masdar is deploying pioneering renewable energy projects across the globe; including Shams One, a 100MW concentrated solar power plant in Abu Dhabi; London Array, a 1 GW offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom; and Gemasolar, a 20MW concentrated solar plant with innovative storage technology enabling perpetual energy supply to the grid.
Additionally, Masdar continues to make progress on its flagship project Masdar City, a low-carbon, low-energy clean technology cluster implementing cutting-edge energy efficiency technology and employing sustainable urban design and architecture. The City currently houses the Masdar Institute campus with additional building reaching completion in 2012. The City will be home to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) as well as the regional headquarters of companies, such as Siemens.
“The energy solutions the world needs today cannot be driven by one country alone. They will be stimulated by collaboration, and founded on public-private partnerships. As a global community, we have the responsibility to act collectively and address the challenges we face, particularly ensuring that future generations enjoy energy and water resources in a sustainable manner” added Dr. Al Jaber.
Under his capacity as the CEO of Masdar and as the UAE Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change, Dr. Al Jaber has championed climate change mitigation, sustainable energy access and energy security. As the UAE Special Envoy he is responsible for developing and advocating the UAE’s position on international climate negotiations.
Amongst his various activities, Dr. Al Jaber serves as a member of the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Sustainable Energy for All. The initiative aims to achieve universal energy access, double the global rate of energy efficiency and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030. He is also a member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change (AGECC).Through his various roles, Dr. Al Jaber has continuously promoted public and private sector collaboration and encouraged knowledge sharing as a means to securing a sustainable future for all.
As a nation, the UAE has demonstrated a firm commitment to addressing global challenges such as energy security, water security and sustainable development. To reaffirm this commitment, the UAE and Masdar will be actively involved at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable development to be held later this June in Brazil.
Instituted in 2005, the Champion of the Earth award is the United Nation’s flagship environmental award that honours outstanding visionaries and leaders in the fields of policy, science, entrepreneurship and civil society action.
Other recipients of the 2012 award include President of Mongolia, Tsakhia Elbegdorj in the Policy Leadership category, Sander Van der Leeuw from the Netherlands in the Science and Innovation category, Bertrand Piccard from Switzerland in the Inspiration and Action category and Samson Parashina from Kenya in the Special Category – Grassroot Leadership.
Past laureates have included Mikhail Gorbachev, Al Gore, Felipe Calderon, Mohamed Nasheed, Marina Silva, Vinod Khosla, and many other such exemplary leaders.