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"Through the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, we are providing numerous platforms of dialogue that will address sustainable development. ADSW will be held in continuation of the commendable efforts of the Brazilian government at Rio+20 and in response to the UN Secretary-General's call for significant commitments to action in support of his International Year of Sustainable Energy for All," said Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Assistant Minister and UAESpecial Envoy of Foreign Affairs for Energy and Climate Change and Chief Executive Officer of Masdar.
The announcement of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week made by Dr. Al Jaber took place at a reception honouring UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in recognition of his Sustainable Energy for All initiative.
The reception, which took place as part of the Rio+20, was attended by various ministers, heads of states and business leaders including United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; President of the Republic of South Africa, Jakob Zuma; the Minister of Energy of the Republic of South Africa, Dipuo Peters; the Minister of Mines and Energy of Brazil, Edison Lobão; Former Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland; Director-General of UNIDO Kandeh Yumkella; Director General of IRENA, Adnan Amin; Chairman of Bank of America, Chad Holliday; Founder of Grameen Bank and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Dr. Muhammad Yunus; Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri; and President of the United Nations Foundation, Senator Timothy Wirth.
Guests from the UAE included head of the UAE delegation, HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister for Foreign Trade and HE Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, UAE Minister of Environment and Water.
During his remarks Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon emphasised how energy is the golden threat to advancing the sustainable development agenda.
"I thank the Government of the UAE and his Excellency Dr Sultan Al Jaber for co-hosting this reception with the Government of Brazil. Masdar's commitments and support for Sustainable Energy for All are an example of its ongoing leadership on clean energy," said Ban Ki-moon.
Thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other stakeholders will gather in Abu Dhabi next year during ADSW. The events which will be held during ADSW include: the Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA); the World Future Energy Summit (WFES); the International Renewable Energy Conference in Abu Dhabi (ADIREC); the International Water Summit (IWS); and the Awards Ceremony for the Zayed Future Energy Prize.
Dr. Al Jaber added, "Now is the time to address real-world challenges by adopting clear and focused practical measures for developing practical national energy strategies and implementing sustainable development. We are determined to achieve tangible results through our discussions today at the Earth Summit, at COP-18 later this year which is being held in the Middle East for the first time, and through Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January, 2013."
Following the launch of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All announced by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during WFES in January this year, the UAE has made significant commitments to meet global energy demands by providing assistance to developing countries, such as Tonga and Afghanistan to meet their energy needs from renewable energy sources.
"The legacy of sustainability which lies deep within the UAE's heritage was instilled in us by our Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who recognized the need to protect our environment and preserve our natural resources for future generations," said Dr. Al Jaber.