UAE Minister: COVID-19 pandemic is a 'wake up call to humanity'


Speaking at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week Summit (ADSW), Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Special Envoy for Climate Change and Chairman of Masdar, said the pandemic has shown the dependence between health, food and resource security.

Dr Al Jaber also praised the UAE leadership's support for sustainable development, and explained how efforts to deal with the crisis have focused on maintaining vital supply chains.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic was a wake-up call to humanity as a whole, and it demonstrated the importance of sustainability in its broadest sense,

Hosted by Masdar, the summit is being held virtually this year due to COVID-19 precautionary measures.

Delivering his keynote address, Monaco’s Head of State, Prince Albert II, thanked Abu Dhabi for holding the event under the present circumstances.

The Prince said the crisis has forced a re-evaluation of our relationship with the natural world "I believe the crisis we are experiencing is urging us to reinvent the ways we live, produce and travel in a more radical manner. It is urging us to rethink our relationship with nature and to re-evaluate our priorities. In this respect, the coming year will be full of opportunities which we need to grasp."

During his speech, His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council said the summit will set the sustainable development agenda for 2021.

Sheikh Hazza emphasised that the UAE is continuing its efforts under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and with the support of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to stimulate sustainable development.

His Highness noted that the summit is particularly relevant this year as it represents a global platform for dialogue and establishes the plans based on the principles of the green recovery.

Sheikh Hazza said "In light of the exceptional circumstances that the world is experiencing, there is an urgent need to take practical steps and initiatives that contribute to accelerating the application of the principles and foundations of sustainable development, with the need to take proactive steps, plan for a more flexible future and strengthen capabilities in order to efficiently face the existing and emerging challenges."

"The Emirati initiatives, present to the world a practical model on the economic feasibility of renewable energy, stressing the importance of cooperation and joint work to achieve tangible progress in the field of reducing the repercussions of climate change," he added.

Sheikh Hazza said Abu Dhabi continues, year after year, to consolidate its position and pivotal role as a platform bringing together the international community to discuss key issues in sustainability. He said he hoped that this year’s ADSW would be the starting point for constructive global dialogue on building a secure and stable future for current and future generations.

With regard to the Zayed Sustainability Prize, Dr Al Jaber said the award has a special place among the UAE’s leadership because it embodies the values and principles of the founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and especially his commitment to sustainable progress.

He explained that the prize will return in its usual form next year, with a focus on aspects of innovation and recovery for the post-COVID period.

More from Local News