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Sustainable Communities and Climate Change Summit Tackles Global Sustainability Challenges

The Sustainable Communities and Climate Change Summit (SCCCS) was held today, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, to provide a dedicated platform to discuss major regional and international issues in relation to climate change and other sustainability challenges facing the global community. The SCCCS was organized by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), in partnership with Dubai Land Department (DLD) and Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai.

Over 250 decision makers and professionals from different cities, national governments, non-governmental organizations, UN bodies, and the private sector attended the summit.

In the keynote address, His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “Coinciding with Earth Day 2018, the SCCCS is held under the theme ‘UAE Earth Day’ to highlight the UAE’s achievements in sustainable development and share our best practices with the world. Today, we are reaffirming our commitment to sustainable development in the face of significant challenges: the growing population, expanding economy and increasing demand on energy, water, food, infrastructure, and waste management, as well as the impacts of climate change, pollution and biodiversity losses.”

His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi noted that these challenges are bound to become more acute in the light of the rapid urbanization. He added that it is estimated that more than 50 percent of the global population live in cities and this figure is expected to exceed 5 billion by 2030.

His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi said, “This year, the UAE is celebrating the Year of Zayed, commemorating our founding father, the late His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was a visionary on environmental sustainability. His legacy continues to this day through the commitment of our wise leaders to devising national strategies and adopting innovative measures and processes to ensure the ecological footprint in urban areas and cities is effectively reduced, given the population growth, economic development and the changing production and consumption patterns.”  

Dr Al Zeyoudi stressed that the UAE exerts tremendous efforts locally and internationally to mitigate climate change effects and boost sustainability. On the policy front, the UAE has long-term national strategies including Vision 2021, the UAE Centennial 2071, the National Green Growth Strategy, Green Agenda 2030, National Climate Change Plan 2050 - a first of its kind in the region, the National Energy Strategy 2050, and the policy of diversification of energy sources. These strategies and policies guide the country’s transition into a climate resilient green economy capable of boosting climate change effects mitigation and adaptation.

His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi added, “Our priority is not just about domestic affairs. We are firmly committed to meeting the global common objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We are the proud host of the International Renewable Energy Agency and have committed close to 1 billion US Dollars to support renewable energy deployment in developing countries.”

During the SCCCS, His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi announced the establishment of the UAE / UN Environment sustainability partnership, aimed at enhancing cities’ resilience to climate change. This partnership will target educating and informing policy makers, the private sector, government officials, the civil society and the public to cultivate interest and support to sustainable communities. It will also promote research and facilitate innovation to enable sustainable communities, as well as empower policy makers and other stakeholder through developing policy tools.

Moreover, His Excellency Al Zeyoudi announced the establishment of the Green Carpet Award which will recognize industry players for their innovative contribution to sustainability.

His Excellency Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director General of DLD, said: “We exerted every effort to host this edition of the SCCCS in Dubai, not only to show the world our widely-acclaimed achievements, but also to tackle the global environmental challenges with greater transparency. We will rely on the most recent research findings to present decision makers around the world with a clearly-defined roadmap.”

His Excellency bin Mejren added, “The whole world agrees that climate change poses one of the most serious challenges of our times. It is incumbent upon us all, government entities, private companies and even individuals, to add to the momentum in addressing climate change, to mitigate its threats to our societies and environment. I would like to thank all our partners who supported us in every way and made this event a resounding success, most importantly the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. I would also like to applaud the private sector for their generous support.”

Her Excellency Majida Ali Rashid, Assistant Director General and Head of the Real Estate Investment Management and Promotion Center, the Investment arm of DLD, said: “The Dubai Land Department is proud to organize this Summit, whose outcomes will be made available to experts from around the world to capitalize on while forging an integrated strategy for protecting Earth and its various environments. We are proving once again that Dubai can deliver its climate vision to the world.”

Alain Bejjani, Chief Executive Officer at Majid Al Futtaim, said "Today, we reinforce our commitment to creating a better world for current and future generations. We have a responsibility to provide a way of life for a positive future by transforming the lives of our communities, empowering our people and cementing our aim to become one of the most environmentally considerate companies in the world by reaching our net positive goal in 2040".

The event also included a Ministerial Dialogue that addressed government responses to challenges and opportunities in relation to climate change and other sustainability issues facing global communities. Panelists at the dialogue session included: His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment; His Excellency Thoriq Ibrahim, Maldives Minister of Environment and Energy; His Excellency Nayef Al Fayez, Jordan Minister of Environment; and His Excellency Ahmed Buti Al Muhairbi, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Energy.

Moreover, the Sustainability Leaders Dialogue brought together Najeeb Al Ali, Executive Director of Dubai EXPO 2020 Bureau; Majida Ali Rashid, Assistant Director General at DLD; Daniel Zywietz, Founder and CEO of Enerwhere; and Khalifa Akzeraim Al Suwaidi, CEO of Emirates Real Estate Solutions, to showcase how sustainability can offer investment opportunities, share obstacles faced by those in the sustainability sector and give insight into what businesses can do to become more sustainable.

Another major highlight at the SCCCS was the “Youth Dialogue on Future Skills” session, which focused on the importance of “future” skills to prepare today’s youth for future jobs, as well as the importance of STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – for the coming generation. The Dialogue also addressed the topic of shaping the future for sustainable communities and climate change through the Vision 2021, UAE Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, UAE Green Growth Strategy 2030 and UAE Climate Change Plan 2050.

SCCCS 2018 provided a unique platform to showcase sustainability startups, allowing them to pitch their ideas in front of a wide network of supporters. It also provided an opportunity to launch key regional and global partnerships on sustainable communities and climate change.


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