At the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2023, Sultan Al Jaber, the president-designate of COP 28, emphasized the need for solidarity, game-changing alliances, and transformational collaboration to advance climate action for all.
While acknowledging the UAE’s track record of innovation in problem-solving, Al Jaber said, “The UAE has always risen to challenges by getting ahead of the future. And the transformational progress we have managed to achieve in only 50 years has been anchored by the principle and practice of genuine partnership. Balanced economic growth with environmental responsibility. And put climate action at the heart of our development strategy.”
“Before anyone in this region saw a future in renewables, the UAE saw them as the future. Before others were decarbonized, we embedded sustainability into our hydrocarbon operations. For us, sustainable development is about never settling for the now. It’s always about the next. Because next never stops,” he added.
Al Jaber pointed to the winners of this year’s Zayed Sustainability Prize as a source of inspiration, noting that driving inclusive progress is at the heart of the prize. “The Prize has been empowering positive change-makers for 15 years. Their initiatives are changing lives from Asia to Africa, from the Caribbean to the Pacific. So let us take inspiration and hope from them.”
In his closing remarks, Al Jaber said, “As we prepare to host COP 28 in November, I ask myself: can the world come together to meet the urgency of this moment? Can the world cut emissions in half in the next seven years? My answer is yes.”
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE president, presented awards to the ten winners of the 2023 Zayed Sustainability Prize.
“The UAE continues to lead on important global initiatives at the heart of our mission to create a better future for all, both within the UAE and beyond our nation’s borders. The bold ambition of the Zayed Sustainability Prize remains at the forefront of these efforts. It creates a pathway for delivering life-changing humanitarian aid and solutions to communities around the world,” the president said.
Sheikh Mohamed underscored how this year, which marks 15 years of the prize, will also be a historic year for the UAE as it prepares to host COP28. Against this backdrop, this year’s awards are an important reminder of the need for greater international collaboration to mobilize climate action and create sustainable economic and social development opportunities.
The $3 million prize is the UAE’s pioneering global award in sustainability that recognizes and rewards small and medium-sized enterprises, nonprofit organizations, and high schools worldwide that deliver impactful, innovative, and inspiring health, food, energy, and water solutions.