Energy, water security 'crucial for development'
Abu Dhabi, January 20, 2014
Long-term energy and water security is crucial for sustainable development, said Abu Dhabi Crown Prince General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan today.
He was speaking after inaugurating the seventh World Future Energy Summit (WFES) and second International Water Summit being held as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).
Attracting more than 30,000 people, ADSW is the Middle East’s largest gathering focused on addressing the interconnected challenges affecting energy, water and sustainable development.
The opening ceremony’s theme focused on Africa’s energy challenges and how they impede the region’s economic development. The topic of Africa – and its potential to ‘leapfrog’ technologies and grow its economy – was highlighted during a panel discussion in which Macky Sall, President of Senegal; Ernest Bai Koroma, President of Sierra Leone; and Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, parcipated.
Sheikh Mohammed emphasised Africa’s tremendous opportunity to adopt sustainable development as a pathway to grow its economy, while protecting its natural resources.
He also underscored that the UAE is committed to delivering energy – new and traditional – as a fundamental pillar to ensuring global economic growth and security.
Sheikh Mohammed said energy – the backbone of economic growth – plays an even more important role in arid climates where water security is dependent on energy-intensive desalination.
The UAE will also continue to diversify its own energy sources, while advancing viable clean technologies, in an effort to improve energy security and achieve sustainable development, he added.
The focus on sub-Saharan Africa’s energy and economic challenges during the opening ceremony aligns with the international agenda for 2014. The United Nations’ “Decade of Sustainable Energy for All” began this year and calls upon member states to ensure universal access to more sustainable sources of energy are a priority for national policies. The declaration also calls upon governments, companies and civil society to work together to achieve universal energy access, double the global energy efficient rate and double the share of renewables in the global energy mix.
“With six of the 10 fastest growing economies of the past decade located in sub-Saharan Africa the development opportunities in this region are tremendous,” said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and CEO of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company. “But these economies are also hampered by energy industries beset by high costs, poor reliability and often limited or no access to the grid.
The World Future Energy Summit is the world’s foremost event dedicated to the advancement of renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology. The conference programme and exhibition will engage political, business, finance, academic and industry leaders on the deployment of renewable energy, the business opportunities within the renewables sector and the need to continue to drive innovation and investment in order to diversify the global energy mix.
More than 650 companies have registered to showcase their products and services during the event. – TradeArabia News Service