Speech by: H.E. Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State, ADNOC Group CEO and Chairman of Masdar, at the opening of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and the World Future Energy Summit, Abu Dhabi, January 15, 2018
Your Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.
Your Highnesses, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
This gathering marks a significant milestone, as we celebrate the centenary of our founding father and the tenth anniversary of the Zayed Future Energy Prize.
Over the last decade this platform, underpinned by the legacy of Sheikh Zayed and the vision of our leadership, has inspired governments and industries to work collectively, to reach for a better tomorrow and to safeguard the world for the next generation.
And today, we turn to this next generation.
It is their energy, imagination and drive that will ensure we remain on track toward sustainability, in a fast evolving world, where the pace of innovation is faster than at any time in human history.
So fast, in fact, it is stretching our ability to adapt.
And no one is more suited, more willing and more able to stay ahead of the curve than our positive young people, who are represented here, today, by over 400 sustainability pioneers, from more than 70 countries around the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen, when we reflect on how we reached this point of rapid advancement, all roads lead back to one pivotal year, 2007, which was the tipping point, when technological change moved from gradual to exponential.
It was the year the IPhone was launched, putting the power of the internet, and network computing, in the palm of our hands.
In that year alone, Facebook jumped from 20 million to 100 million users, beginning the revolution of how we interact with friends and family, news and events.
And, most importantly, cloud computing unlocked the limits of data storage.
Yet, at precisely the same time as this digital revolution was unfolding, a shift of equal importance was taking place in the physical world.
This was the year the world’s population tipped from majority rural to majority urban, representing the largest mass migration in our history.
This is putting greater stress on essential resources, including energy, water, food and even air.
These trends underline the fact that ensuring sustainable development is the critical goal of our time.
Since 2007, we have made great strides toward achieving that goal.
New realities have redrawn the energy landscape, reshaping the operating model for the entire energy sector and pushing us all to up our game.
Renewables have matured to become price competitive with conventional energy.
And, both now work hand in hand, in a relationship that makes perfect economic sense.
The UAE, through Masdar and other initiatives, has been at the forefront of developing, and globally promoting, a truly sustainable, diversified energy mix.
Today, we have the means, and the technology, to achieve even greater progress toward sustainability.
First and foremost, Artificial Intelligence is beginning to rival human intelligence, increasing productivity, driving efficiency and stimulating smarter growth.
Ultra high speed internet is collapsing distances, linking businesses and building virtual communities.
And, big predictive data is beginning to transform the energy sector and optimizing resource use.
Here, in the UAE, we are embracing this future, by aligning our strategic objectives to these emerging trends.
Our wise, and progressive, leadership has focused the nation’s efforts on capturing the potential of Artificial Intelligence, promoting advanced sciences and empowering our youth, so that we can seize every opportunity and truly stay ahead of the curve.
As scientific breakthroughs become every-day reality,
we must take full advantage of the energy, creativity and optimism of our young people.
Investing in youth is always an imperative, but this generation, the first to be digitally native, is very special.
They are uniquely equipped to adapt to the rapid advances of this era.
Ladies and gentlemen, this year’s Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is intentionally focused on “generation next”.
Their outlook is not defined by the limits of the past, but liberated by the possibilities of the future.
As we celebrate the Year of Zayed, it is their turn to take the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week to the next level.
To carry forward the legacy of our founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
And to fulfill his vision of a world that will endure for countless generations, underpinned by peace, progress and prosperity for all.