ABU DHABI, 15th January 2019 (WAM) – Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, today opened the Future Sustainability Week, which is held as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2019.
Present were President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali, President Joao Manuel of Angola, Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Industry, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, Khalid A. Al-Falih is Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia, Owaida Murshid Al Marrar, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Energy Department, decision makers, thinkers and innovators.
Delivering the keynote speech, Sheikh Nahyan welcomed the participants, saying Abu Dhabi has pledged to create a commercially viable city that offers the highest quality of life within the lowest environmental footprint. Masdar City is a major force in the progress of Abu Dhabi toward the goals of Environment Vision 2030 as set by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
“We, in the UAE, have come to understand the power of tolerance. Our teacher was the founder of our nation, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, whose birth centennial the country celebrated last year. Sheikh Zayed welcomed ambitious and talented people from around the world who contributed to the swift and peaceful development of the UAE. His tolerance enabled us all to build bridges among the diverse communities of our population. His Highness the President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, who embodies the tolerance of Sheikh Zayed, has extended the celebration of Sheikh Zayed’s example by declaring this year, 2019, the Year of Tolerance.”
Sheikh Zayed also was an innate conservationist. He realized that oil had the potential to provide social capital and wealth that would enable investment in the country’s people thereby empowering them with first rate education and health care. But he also understood that this wealth could and should be used to support the environment. Sheikh Zayed, a man of the desert, cherished his environment and, like you participants in Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, shouldered responsibility for it.
“To understand the link between tolerance and sustainability one may look no further than the United Nations. In September 2015, the General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Building on the principle of “leaving no one behind”, these goals emphasize a holistic approach to achieving sustainable development for all.
Goal 16 is the embodiment of tolerance. Goal 16 states explicitly and I quote: “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”. This is as clear and unequivocal a statement as possible emphasizing the key role that tolerance plays in enabling sustainable societies. Peaceful and inclusive societies are those that embrace and cherish diversity and difference in all its forms.”
Sheikh Nahyan said this Future Summit will be full of imaginative new ideas that you will prudently evaluate for their impact on productivity and sustainable economic growth.
“As the author and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman reminds us, most increases in productivity today result from education, research, and innovation those activities that mark high-imagination-enabling countries. Because everything we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment, we cannot afford to ignore imaginative ideas that may increase the chances for humans and nature to exist in productive harmony. Your tolerance will lead you to consider those imaginative ideas and to encourage policymakers, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, and academics to enable the imagination of their countrymen in every way possible. Business must proceed, but it cannot be business as usual. Our imaginations your imaginations today must create new and better ways to keep the environment sound and the economy going. I note that you will be discussing ways to avert water crises. Water is always a subject of intense interest in the UAE. Water is also the focus of Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”
Sheikh Nahyan referred to ecosystem in many regions of the world as fragile.
“Pollution, human activity, waste discharge, oil spills, and continuing degradation of resources are taking a heavy toll on those ecosystems and threaten their ability to support future generations. Pursuing a continuous theme of this summit, you will be open to innovative proposals for solving problems by capitalizing on current technology. Your toleration must also encourage you to bridge a way to civil discussions among all the different people who populate any ecosystem. The differences are myriad, to include political.”
He concluded by saying: “water challenge and every other challenge to sustainability examined by this Future Summit, you will, I am confident, meet fearlessly and imaginatively, having crossed all obstacles to productive cooperation on bridges of tolerance. Thank you for your noble aspirations and your tolerance.”