Dubai, Jan 18 (IANS): The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was and continues to be one of the pioneering countries in the fields of climate action, said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, during the opening ceremony of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) -- the global platform for accelerating sustainability hosted by Masdar.
The ADSW summit is being convened amidst presence of more than 80 global leaders, including heads of state, policy makers, and international business leaders, as the United Arab Emirates aims to take the agenda global sustainability forward and accelerate pathways to net zero.
The opening event was also attended by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
The Prime Minister on Monday welcomed the leaders and experts meeting in the UAE to discuss issues related to sustainability and intensify collaborative efforts to find solutions for moving the world towards a more sustainable future.
Highlighting the importance of ADSW, the first global gathering of its kind after COP26, Sheikh Mohammed said: "Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week lays a pathway for COP28 when the UAE will welcome the world in 2023. The continued success of ADSW, which every year sets the sustainability agenda for the year to come, fully reflects our nation's leadership in the field of climate action.
"This year's convening of ADSW as part of Expo 2020 Dubai provides an opportunity for the convergence of global expertise to stimulate constructive dialogue and push efforts towards implementing innovative solutions.
"The UAE, guided by the vision of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was and continues to be one of the pioneering countries in the fields of climate action, energy transformation and the adoption of renewable energy as a solution for addressing environmental issues and their impact on people's lives and the health of the planet. The UAE has continued to express this commitment by developing a group of the world's largest and most innovative clean energy projects.
"These efforts culminated in the launch of the Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative, which reflects our commitment to create a future free of emissions."
The opening ceremony, held at the Dubai Exhibition Centre at Expo 2020 Dubai, was also attended by Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council; Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, and a number of senior officials.
The opening ceremony began with the UAE national anthem followed by a short film centred on international cooperation to confront global challenges, especially those related to climate change and sustainable development.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in thanked the UAE for welcoming him to the country and inviting him to participate in the opening ceremony of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
In his keynote speech, he said: "As the first event of its kind since COP26, Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is a kick start to carbon neutrality this year, offering strength through unity. This event holds great significance with the UAE hosting COP28 in 2023 -- a milestone for the country's journey over the next 50 years.
"The UAE is a powerhouse of sustainable development for the Middle East and beyond, with pathways showing the way for the rest of the world."
The objectives of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week are in line with the 'Principles of the 50', the 10 principles that represent the UAE's strategic path in a new era and reflect the country's vision and determination to promote development efforts in various economic, political and social fields.
As one of the largest gatherings concerned with discussing sustainability issues, ADSW provides a global platform for cooperation, knowledge exchange, investment and innovation, as it attracts more than 45,000 participants annually representing more than 170 countries and hosts nearly 1,000 international companies.