DUBAI, 5th October, 2016 (WAM) — The third edition of The World Green Economy Summit (WGES) was inaugurated on Wednesday under the patronage and in the presence of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Under the new theme “Driving Global Green Economy,” WGES 2016 will continue on Thursday, with various prominent speakers from the region and across the globe, at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibitions Centre in New Za’abeel, Hall 6.

In order to transform the national economy to a green, sustainable and low-carbon economy, the responsibility must rest not only upon the government, but also on the various segments of society, as well as public and private sectors, Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said in his speech at the opening ceremony.

“Our government institutions have been working to co-ordinate efforts in leading development and progress, and laying the foundations for the successful implementation. With that in mind, we have adopted a series of strategies and policies, and begun implementing them, all working towards raising awareness of the importance of green economy at all levels, in addition to capacity building, and the encouragement of sustainable production and consumption,” Dr. Al Zeyoudi added.

“The establishment of a green economy is a critical element to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030, and the Paris Climate Agreement. Ensuring a co-ordinated international effort is key to facilitating this transition to a green economy on a global scale, and we are confident that the World Green Economy Summit will enable this,” he added.

Delivering the keynote address, Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy in Dubai, Managing Director and CEO of DEWA, and Chairman of WGES, thanked Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid for the third World Green Economy Summit (WGES) and for his leadership.

“His vision is a roadmap and a beacon of guidance to all that will help achieve UAE Vision 2021 to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world by 2021,” Al Tayer said.

“This year’s summit is held under the theme ‘Driving Global Green Economy’ to promote Dubai’s leading position as a global capital of a green economy and a model to follow to achieve the highest standards of energy efficiency and increasing the renewable energy share for the common good of all nations of the world, while keeping pace with the best global sustainable practices,” he added.

Since its inception, the World Green Economy Summit has succeeded in establishing a platform for world and business leaders, decision-makers, experts, specialists and others in the green economy to gather and create partnerships between the public and private sector, and to launch green initiatives not only for Dubai, but for the whole world.

“As its ultimate goal, the Clean Energy Strategy aims to provide 7 percent of Dubai’s energy from clean energy sources by 2020, 25 percent by 2030 and 75 percent by 2050. The strategy is underpinned by a forecasted investment of more than US$13 billion in the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is the largest single-site solar park in the world, with a planned capacity of 5,00MW by 2030,” Al Tayer added.

The UAE’s efforts to support the transition to a green economy are underlined by its contribution and commitment to reducing carbon emissions, which formed the basis of the historic Paris Agreement, signed at the Paris Climate Conference 2015, he added.

The landmark signing, after 20 years of negotiations by the United Nations, saw the participation of 186 of 195 members, who reached a universal agreement on climate change, each committing to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to aim to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, he added.

Al Tayer referred to the vital role the UAE played in the negotiations that led to the Paris Agreement through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). These efforts reflect the UAE’s commitment to mitigating climate change, he added.

“The UAE also seeks to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals outlined in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and is committed to mobilising all efforts over the next 15 years to eradicate poverty in all its forms, continue the fight against inequality, and mitigate climate change,” he said.

“These are ambitious, but achievable goals. In addition, the success of the two previous editions of World Green Economy Summit has made us even more determined in our dedication to enhancing Dubai’s position as the global capital of green economy, and the strategic objectives of WGES 2016 reflect this ambition, and complement the key commitments laid out in the Dubai Declaration,” Al Tayer added.

These are to help promote Dubai’s position as a global capital of green economy and sustainable development, to raise the profile of key issues such as Clean Energy, the Green Fund and the development of a dedicated Green Business Zone, and to maintain WGES as the premier international platform for Green Economy.

Following Al Tayer’s address, Sheikh Mohammed, launched the World Green Economy Organisation, with the support of the Government of Dubai, and in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which will be based in Dubai. The organisation aims to promote co-operation between the countries in the field of green economy.

Helen Clark, Administrator, UNDP, thanked Sheikh Mohammed for his visionary leadership. She also commended Al Tayer for helping to chart the course towards a Green Economy, with the UNFCCC as its partner.

Adnan Amin, Director-General at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), said, “This summit has become an increasingly important platform for in-depth conversations on critical climate action and renewable energy as part of our sustainable future. IRENA is proud to be an event partner, and we look forward to joining discussions on the path-breaking initiatives driving the march towards a green economy future.”

While addressing the delegates, Donald Thomas, astronaut at The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), said, “As one of the nearly 600 astronauts to have travelled to space in the past 55 years, I have a strong appreciation for how fragile Planet Earth is. From the vantage point of space, 300km above the planet, it is striking how thin our atmosphere is. Like the oceans, it is not infinite as we once treated it.”

“I applaud the UAE for its leadership and efforts to go green to help protect our planet. There is only one Earth, and all of its inhabitants, regardless of country or continent, must all work together to take care of our planet and help insure its future survival. I am excited and proud to be participating in the World Green Economy Summit,” he added.

Also attending the launch were Abdulla Abdul Rahman Al Shaibani, Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Dubai; Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al Fadhli, Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and international musician Akon, Chairman of Akon Lighting Africa, in addition to a number of senior officials from the public and private sector, international institutions, experts and academics from the fields of green economy and renewable energy, as well as a number of local, regional and international representatives of the media.