Under H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Supreme Council of Energy, the second edition of the World Green Economy Summit (WGES) launched with over 2000 participants from 40 countries. The Summit is held from 22-23 April at Sheikh Maktoum Hall at the World Trade and Exhibition Centre in Dubai.
The event is being held under the patronage of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The Summit was attended yesterday by Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad Minister of Environment & Water Resources, Government of UAE, Mohammed Abdul Rahim Al Ali, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Defence, Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, Abdullah Al Shaibani, Secretary General of the Executive Council, Dr. Matar Hamed Al Neyadi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy of the United Arab Emirates, Nicolas Hulot, Special Envoy for Climate Change French Presidency, Dr. Adnan Z. Amin, Director General, IRENA, Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Saif Al Falasi, CEO of ENOC, and Ahmed Butti Al Muhairbi, Secretary General of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy.
A number of distinguished business leaders, government officials and reputable media individuals have also attended the opening ceremony yesterday.
In his opening speech, Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, outlined the ongoing drive and determination Dubai is applying to achieve status as the 'green economy capital of the world' in line with the UAE Vision 2021.
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer said, "At the beginning, we are pleased to welcome you at the opening ceremony of the World Green Economy Summit 2015 in its second edition, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, and under the theme "Global Partnerships for Sustainable Future".
The Summit is held this year to support the vision of Dubai to become the capital of the green economy by 2021. This vision can only be achieved with the support of partnerships between the public and private sectors in order to reach innovative and sustainable solutions encourage launching projects and develop solutions that overcome the challenges that face humanity and promote green economy globally. We have to do all efforts to educate the young generation to be future leaders in the green economy to continue this march towards the future with confidence."
He added, "Hosting the World Green Economy Summit for the second year after the great success of the first Summit and the issuance of the Dubai Declaration as a conclusion, comes as a continuation of our green journey which forms a pivotal part of the UAE vision 2021, and the initiative by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum "green economy for sustainable development", that sets Dubai as a platform to promote the green economy not only for our country but for the whole world by 2021."
Commenting on sustainability in the UAE, he said," The UAE has always been and remains proactive in looking forward to increasing the diversity of energy sources through the adoption of renewable energy solutions in pursuit of clean and green energy and a clean environment, and the exchange of expertise and experience with various countries, in order to achieve prosperity and happiness for all.
"Our country has always been characterised by its leadership in environmentally friendly activities in all aspects, which is leading the country to be the best place to live in. With this vision in mind, we have been working with a diligent dedication in order to make it a successful model of sustainability as a global hub of the green economy that enhances the competitiveness and growth to preserve the environment for future generations.
"The Supreme Council of Energy in Dubai has made the initiative in 2011 and announced the Integrated Energy Strategy 2030, which plans to reduce the energy demand by 30% by 2030, in order to preserve the natural resources by all possible means and overcomes all challenges that may stand as an obstacle in maintain the sustainable development.
"We can say that after more than five decades, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority presents a truly remarkable success story proven in its high efficiency in all its activities and projects. Allow me to tell you about some of the most important activities DEWA has done to achieve sustainable development, where green projects come on top of these activities. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is a clear proof that guided us towards a green economy which led us to decide to raise the capacity of production from 1000 MW to 3000 MW by 2030. DEWA has proudly obtained the cheapest price in the world estimated at 5.8US cent in the second project of the Park which works with an independent product system that puts the Emirate as a leader of solar energy industry.
Other green projects include, DEWA's sustainable building in the Al Quoz area, which is the largest government building in the world committed to the specifications of green buildings according to the American standards. There are also three other smart initiatives launched by DEWA, represented in smart counters and networks, and connecting solar energy in homes and buildings with DEWA 's network. Additionally, DEWA is building infrastructure and stations to charge electric cars will be a total of up to 100 charging stations by the end of 2015. This is in addition to research development and innovation centres built inside Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park.
"According to that and to the Council's strategy, DEWA has raised the target of the energy mix in Dubai from renewable energy to up to 7 per cent by 2020, and 15 per cent by the year 2030, reducing energy demand by 30 per cent by 2030, through major programmes including specifications and green building systems, rehabilitation of existing buildings, cooling areas, and raise standards and efficiency of equipment and lighting, as well as the efficiency of external lighting, load management and reprocessing of water for irrigation use."
Discussing the World Green Economy Summit, he said, "The most important topics that the World Green economy Summit will discuss today are best green practices at the regional and global levels and the best ways to implement these practices, in addition to discussion sessions on innovative green economy financing solutions, through new financial mechanisms, green funds, and bonds, Additionally, the Summit will discuss systems and legislation to strengthen the development of green economy.
"The World Green Economy Summit has strategic objectives, represented in supporting the initiatives and projects that were initiated at the Summit last year. It will also review the development of industry-leading innovations, as well as the integration of the younger generation in the discussions on climate change and the development of the green economy.
"What the UAE is looking forward to achieve is to increase the diversity of sources of energy and improve its leading role as a global centre for research and development in the field of renewable energy. This underlines the importance of continued research into alternative energy sources where we cooperate and share the world study and analysis of ways to achieve a bright future and sustainable development for all peoples living on this earth.
"One of the most important principles we seek to achieve in order to reach green economy, is to create new economic and social opportunities based on the practices of green and innovative programmes, with an emphasis on goods and services, supporting innovation and development, research and technology transfer. We work to encourage entrepreneurship and training opportunities, and to establish permanent green life. All of this will promote low-carbon activities, create new jobs and allow new opportunities for economic growth, making Dubai a distinct financial and business, trade and tourism global hub."
His comments were followed by key note speeches from Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, Nicolas Hulot, Special Envoy for Climate Change, French Presidency, Dr. Adnan Z. Amin, Director General, IRENA.
Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad said, "I have emphasised in my address to the previous session of the Summit that the transition to a green economy is no longer an option, but became an urgent response to the challenges facing us today, and for this I reiterate the need for concerted international efforts to facilitate the process of transition towards green on global scale and focus more on issues related to corporate, technology transfer and mobilisation of financial giant necessary issues which will have without doubt a great deal of discussion at this summit. "
Bin Fahad continued, "We are proud that the UAE has been able through this summit and other similar meetings and conferences to establish itself as an important international platform for gathering the elite of businessmen, policy-makers and decision-makers to open a global dialogue to find innovative solutions to help achieve sustainable development at the global level."
"The UAE is taking major strides towards transferring our economy to a low carbon-emission economy, and we are implanting green standards across all urban planning. The transportation sector in particular has seen significant developments in terms of sustainability, with the metro and newly-introduced tram, and the public and private sectors have played a major role in the implementation of green and sustainability strategies.
"The UAE Council for Green Development will monitor the steps towards a green economy and provide tools to facilitate this transformation, and through conferences such as WGES as well as collaboration and partnerships with the international community, including UNIDO, continues to facilitate the journey towards a global green economy."
At the conclusion of his speech, Dr. Bin Fahad continued and thanked the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and its partners for organising this summit, and provided the means and facilities that made it a successful event."
Dr. Matar Hamed Al Neyadi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy said in his speech, "It is my pleasure to participate for the second time in the opening of this important event, which is looking at the green economy and sustainable development, especially that the Summit is held at a time when everyone is busy preparing for COP 21 Paris France Sustainable Innovation Forum 2015."
"The UAE Vision 2021 is a driving force for our country to become one of the best countries in the world, by giving importance to sustainable development of our economy. The Summit today builds on the great success achieved by the inaugural summit last year. The summit kicks off in time when the world is looking forward to the shift towards a low-carbon economy. It provides a platform to that combines business leaders, government agencies and private sector to open a dialogue with all concerned parties and discuss innovation on all technical levels, and explore the green regulatory legislation, governance and financial models worldwide."
Nicolas Hulot commented, "The climate change issues that we are facing today require a transition and transformation towards a green economy. This presents a real opportunity for the international community to unite in a common vision for a more sustainable future, and address the problem now, not tomorrow.
"The UAE is on the path to creating a new model of energy away from fossil fuels and towards a more sustainable future, and the solar sector here is very promising. Together, we are going to write a new chapter in the economy, and the year 2015 is a year of truth, action and ambition."
"We rely on the UAE and the GCC region to help facilitate this challenge we are facing and support the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Dubai is leading the way in renewable energy filed through Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park and other initiatives and projects. There's a strong commitment in the country towards green economy and sustainable development."
Dr. Adnan Z. Amin said, "Dubai has an indescribable buzz and it is this which is seeking to address the problems of urbanisation and globalisation. Our cities account for three quarter of global CO2 emission, and if we are to maintain decent standards of living reliant on fossil fuel energy, we will irreversibly change our climate.
"The UAE is at the centre of the global energy transition and has made boosting the use of renewable energy in the power sector a cornerstone of its vision for a greener economy. DEWA raised its targets for integrating renewables into the existent energy mix by 7 per cent by 2020, and Dubai has proved that with the right framework, deployment of renewable power can be achieved at a low cost. It is possible for renewable energy to be more cost-efficient than fossil fuels, and the UAE is taking advantage of this opportunity through the development of solar plants and rooftop solar panels.
"Dubai is sending a clear and positive message to the rest of the world, and the emirate has become increasingly determined to address the problems associated with a growing population and urbanisation. The World Green Economy Summit sends a clear message that we can create partnerships for a more sustainable future, and I am confident that we will have joint success in Paris at the COP21."
Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nationals shared an insightful video message with the audience, commenting: "I commend His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his visionary leadership, and His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer for empowering youth. The world has its largest generation of youth in history, and young people around the world can help us realise our goals for our people and planet."
At the end of the opening ceremony, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum received the Dubai system integrated sustainable energy model in 2030 by Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman, Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, which represents the efforts from all institutions, that has a significant impact on the green and sustainable development and transforming the key pillars of this strategy into key initiatives and projects.
H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum also awarded the first graduates of the Carbon Ambassadors at the end of the opening ceremony.