Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald :  Tomorrow (16 January, 2016), global policy and business leaders will convene in the capital of the United Arab Emirates for the first official day of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2016 (ADSW), the largest gathering on sustainability in the history of the Middle East. Attracting more than 33,000 delegates, including over 80 government ministers and visitors from 170 countries, ADSW – hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company – addresses the interconnected challenges of energy and water security, climate change and sustainable development. ADSW 2016 is anchored on four key pillars: policy, business, leadership and awareness/research.

The week officially begins Saturday (16 January) with the 6th General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), a key event in the policy pillar. Permanent Representative of the UAE to IRENA H.E. Dr Thani Al-Zeyoudi, said: “The global community took important steps in 2015 to advance sustainability issues with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Today, global leaders arrive in the UAE for Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week to take the next step in moving the sustainable development agenda forward.”

Today (15 January, 2016), IRENA hosted the Legislators Forum 2016 as the first event of its kind. It facilitated dialogue between legislators on the deployment of renewables and critical elements of the energy transformation underway in countries around the world.

On Monday, 18 January, ADSW will host its Joint Opening Ceremony, followed immediately by the Awards Ceremony of the 8th edition of the Zayed Future Energy Prize. Monday will also feature Abu Dhabi Global Action Day. This conference is aimed at turning the ambitious goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development into practical and innovative policy, investment, technology and partnership solutions, with a focus on identifying actions that can be taken by both the public and private sectors.

Dr Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar, commented: “Masdar is proud to once again host Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. While there is no silver bullet to the challenges of sustainable development, these challenges represent a compelling economic opportunity – leading to more jobs, innovation and prosperity. ADSW 2016 will represent an important platform for the business community to cement the partnerships and collaborative initiatives that will promote sustainable development and the adoption of renewable energy.”

ADSW will also host the World Future Energy Summit, the International Water Summit and the EcoWaste Summit.

In addition to these time-honoured events, ADSW will convene a series of new events unveiled to mark an important year in which global consensus on the importance of sustainable development was reached.

The new events at ADSW 2016 include:

Future Cities Forum: With 75 per cent of the global population expected to be urban by 2050, the way that cities look, feel and operate will determine the success of regional, national and global economies. Masdar’s Future Cities Forum – in partnership with IRENA and UN Habitat –  will address the challenges faced by urban policymakers as they shape the path to tomorrow’s sustainable communities.

Egypt’s Future Energy Forum: Egypt’s Future Energy & Environment Forum will assess the emerging opportunities for international companies in MENA’s most populous country. It will focus on the latest developments in Egypt’s power, water, gas, solar, wind and waste sectors, and provide a useful guide to the progress and potential of the county’s energy industry over the decade ahead.

Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy Conference: The first full-day conference for the UAE-led WiSER initiative will be held on January 20. WiSER is a bold, action-oriented initiative that seeks to mentor, empower and inspire women to be catalysts of innovation, industry leaders and drivers of commercial solutions. The conference will explore topics such as climate resilience, the Sustainable Development Goals, and opportunities for renewable energy implementation.

Blue Economy Summit: The Seychelles and the United Arab Emirates, in partnership with UNESCO-Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, will host the second Blue Economy Summit on January 19. This high-level meeting will build upon the outcomes of the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015 and UNFCCC COP 21. The summit will investigate options for practical implementation of the Blue Economy paradigm to support these global environmental imperatives.

Global Clean Water Desalination Alliance: The first meeting of the Global Clean Water Desalination Alliance will take place during ADSW. Masdar joined with 80 other signatories to launch the Global Clean Water Desalination Alliance – H2O minus CO2, in Paris, in December 2015. The Alliance’s goal is to seek solutions that will substantially reduce the projected increase in CO2 emissions from the desalination process, as global demand for drinking water continues to grow.

WFES Solar Expo: The WFES Solar Expo will showcase the latest innovations in photovoltaic, concentrated solar power and other cutting-edge solar technologies. The Solar Expo will provide access to a unique audience of solar experts, suppliers and innovators.

WFES Sustainable Transport Zone: A hub for energy-efficient mass transit, the WFES Sustainable Transport Zone will feature a range of zero and low emission cars and the latest developments in sustainable vehicle design, as well as radical new technologies and power sources – from natural gas and hydrogen to efficient batteries and pedal power.

Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science: The winners of the first awards to be made under the UAE’s Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science will be announced on January 19. The programme was launched in 2015 with the ultimate goal of expanding global water security options by stimulating and supporting the international scientific best practice and collaboration in rain enhancement research. The winners will share US$5 million in grants to support their work.