Ammar Al Nuaimi inaugurates the fifth edition of the Ajman International Environmental Conference.

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, a member of the Supreme Council and the ruler of Ajman, His Highness Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, the Crown Prince of Ajman and the Chairman of the Executive Council, inaugurated the activities of the fifth edition of the Ajman International Environment Conference. The conference is organized by the Department of Municipalities and Planning under the theme of Climate Change and Sustainability.

The conference, held at the Sheikh Zayed Conference and Exhibition Center at Ajman University, features numerous experts and specialized researchers from 49 countries worldwide. They present 205 specialized scientific papers discussing important environmental issues. These include scientific solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate change in the UAE, sustainability in government housing in the country, and other environmental issues in various Gulf countries, Arab states, and different countries around the world.

The two-day conference also highlights numerous issues, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, disaster risk reduction, health effects of climate change, carbon footprint, smart cities, green infrastructure, climate change, green products, adaptation and mitigation strategies for climate change, renewable energy, efficiency, sustainable water and sanitation management, biodiversity conservation, climate change threats to ecological communities, environmental and ecological restoration, and adaptive management approaches and best practices.

The opening ceremony was attended by Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Hamed Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Department of Tourism Development, Sheikh Rashid bin Hamed Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Department of Municipalities and Planning, His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, along with several members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the country, participating experts, and heads and directors of government departments and senior officials.

His Highness Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi conducted an inspection tour of the exhibition accompanying the conference, during which he learned about numerous initiatives, equipment, and projects dedicated to environmental conservation. He explored environmental and climate-related projects and equipment, as well as products aimed at preserving the environment. During the tour, he listened to comprehensive explanations from the exhibitors about the roles and various applications of their exhibits in the field of environmental conservation and climate change.

He expressed his delight at the efforts of the Emirate of Ajman and its excellent progress in achieving high air quality rates and environmental conditions. His Highness mentioned that Ajman prioritizes environmental issues to achieve a clean environment by intensifying efforts in collaboration with other Emirates. The goal is to position the United Arab Emirates at the forefront of environmentally advanced nations worldwide.

He commended the achievements of the United Arab Emirates in the environmental sector, particularly the efforts of the Municipality and Planning Department in Ajman. His Highness praised their presentation of various environmental projects, initiation and organization of numerous environmental events. He acknowledged the dedicated efforts of those involved in positioning Ajman on the global environmental map by establishing sustainable partnerships with scientific environmental centers worldwide. His Highness expressed his happiness, pride, and admiration for the local entities and private companies for their efforts in protecting the environment, preserving natural resources, and his appreciation for the observed environmental accomplishments.

He praised the level of preparations and diligent efforts in organizing this event, reflecting the government's interest in implementing green economy strategies. His Highness acknowledged the collaboration with the private sector and local environmental companies in the emirate, appreciating and thanking the organizers for their efforts in attracting global attention to the emirate and enticing investors for its attractive environmental features.

He affirmed the commitment of the Emirate of Ajman, underlining its dedication to developing and implementing innovative solutions to protect the environment and ensure the sustainability of natural resources. This involves deploying and utilizing modern technology and artificial intelligence, encouraging ideological system diversity, optimizing energy consumption, and promoting the use of alternative and renewable energy sources, ultimately aiming for an economy that considers environmental considerations and achieves environmental security.

He stated, 'In the Emirate of Ajman, we are keen on preserving an environment free from pollution. There are concerted efforts by everyone in this regard, including the continuous development of technologies used in environmental protection. We are also working on disseminating laws and regulations that encourage increasing green spaces and reducing pollution resulting from industry and modern life.'

Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi expressed his hope that this conference would register another success story for the organizers and participants, including experts and researchers, benefiting the Emirate of Ajman.

Following that, the conference proceedings began with the national anthem and recitation of verses from the Holy Quran. Then, His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi delivered the opening speech of the conference, welcoming everyone to this new edition of the Ajman International Environmental Conference held under the theme of climate change and sustainability. He expressed gratitude to His Highness, the Ruler of Ajman, for his gracious patronage of this conference and for his continuous support to the environmental and sustainability efforts in the country.

His Excellency Thani Al Zeyoudi emphasized that climate change is currently the most prominent challenge to sustainability. It not only threatens to hinder growth but also undermines the achievements made in various fields. The latest reports indicate global risks, with the World Economic Forum identifying climate change as one of the top five global risks in terms of both likelihood and impact over the next decade.

He explained that climate change involves significant opportunities that can be leveraged to build a more sustainable future. Linking climate change to human activities has increased awareness of the importance of modifying our practices and patterns of production and consumption of resources. This includes reconsidering our usual approaches to work, simultaneously shaping a driving force and highly impactful factor in the significant transformations witnessed by the world in the last two decades. It can be said that the phenomenon of climate change has contributed to the development of systems, solutions, and technologies surpassing the impact of any other challenge.

He said: The UAE has been proactive in harnessing these opportunities by adopting a package of advanced and integrated policies that ensure competitive advantages on the economic level and shared benefits on both the social and environmental levels. Foremost among them is the policy of diversifying energy sources, within which we have adopted the choice of clean and renewable energy, enhancing its contribution to the national energy mix to reach 27% by 2021 and 50% by 2050.

And he added, 'Our role in the UAE has not been limited to investing in these systems and technologies, but we have actively participated in their development and widespread dissemination, contributing significantly to reducing their costs by more than 70% compared to what they were in 2010.

In his speech, he affirmed that the United Arab Emirates has adopted, alongside clean energy, a strategy for green development and a green agenda aiming to transform our national economy into a low-carbon green economy based on the best practices, latest technologies, and innovative solutions that we have embraced in previous years, such as green architecture, enhancing resource efficiency, sustainable transportation, climate-smart agriculture, and more.

Furthermore, he explained that the past year witnessed more positive transformations in the field of climate change, the most significant being the launch of the UAE Energy Strategy, the National Climate Change Plan, and the National Program for Climate Change Adaptation. Together, they represent a comprehensive national roadmap and a crucial starting point in our journey towards the UAE Centennial. Additionally, the UAE initiated more renewable energy projects, notably the Noor Abu Dhabi project and the fourth phase of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Energy Complex, which will add approximately 2 gigawatts of renewable energy to the national energy mix. The country also inaugurated waste-to-energy projects on a large commercial scale in Dubai and Sharjah, with similar projects planned for the rest of the Emirates soon after completing technical studies and expanding the utilization of industrial waste as part of the circular economy approach.

He also highlighted that all of this coincided with the launch of several supporting projects, such as the Air Emissions Inventory project, the National Platform for Air Quality using satellite technology, the National Interactive Green Database Program, the Smart Map of the UAE for Natural Capital, the Environmental Performance Enhancement Initiative, and the National Strategy for Chemicals Management, among others.

And His Excellency, the Minister of Climate Change and Environment, pointed out that innovation and funding are two fundamental issues that have received special attention in global climate discussions in recent years. In light of this interest, in October of last year, we established the Climate Innovations Exchange – CLIX as a platform that brings together investors and innovators with creative ideas and solutions in the field of climate. The forum achieved excellent success in its first edition, announced during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January, reflected in the volume and diversity of participation, with a group of investors declaring their readiness to inject investments totaling $45.5 million over three years into the initiative.

He said: Last month, the UAE launched the Climate Project, which aims to impact the lives of 10 million people by 2020 by raising awareness and enhancing the ability of individuals and local communities to prepare for and cope with extreme climate phenomena, reducing the resulting losses. This initiative is part of the UAE's continued leadership on a global scale in humanitarian work and assisting developing countries in enhancing their climate capabilities.

He addressed the challenges posed by climate change, whether in terms of mitigation or adaptation, as enormous challenges characterized by a high degree of complexity and interconnection. However, they are certainly solvable. We, in the United Arab Emirates, as well as in other parts of the world, have demonstrated the ability to confront and mitigate the impacts of climate change, turning them into developmental opportunities. It should be noted, though, that standalone solutions will not be effective for the globally impactful issue of climate change, whether at the national or international level. Hence, policy integration and measures across all economic, social, and environmental sectors at the national level, coupled with global collaboration based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, provide the optimal means to enhance our capabilities in climate action and employ them to achieve the sustainable development goals we aspire to.

In conclusion of his speech, he expressed confidence that this conference, which discusses a wide spectrum of important issues under the theme of climate change and sustainability, will continue its role in enhancing these efforts and elevating our status as a leading global platform in the field of sustainability in general, and climate action in particular.

At the conclusion of the conference's opening ceremony, the announcement and launch of the Hamid Bin Rashid Sustainability Award took place.

His Highness the Crown Prince of Ajman honored His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi with the Honorary Shield of the Hamid Bin Rashid International Sustainability Award, in recognition of his role and the ministry's efforts in environmental conservation. The ministry has introduced numerous initiatives addressing climate change and has actively worked on implementing suitable solutions for climate challenges.

His Highness Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid received the conference shield from Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Department of Municipality and Planning, on behalf of the conference and its participants, in recognition of his honor and attendance at the opening ceremony of the conference.

Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Department of Municipality and Planning in Ajman, and Chairman of the Supreme Committee for the Conference, stated that the environmental vision of the Emirate of Ajman is in harmony with the country's vision in all sustainability and environmental issues. It emphasizes that the efforts of each emirate contribute to its transformation into a reality. This confirms our commitment to environmental issues and sustainability, and we have an unlimited passion for all new research and the latest scientific advancements in this field. He highlighted the achievements of the emirate and the importance of this conference and the outcomes and recommendations it will produce.

During the opening session of the International Environmental Conference, the Department of Municipality and Planning in Ajman launched the Hamid bin Rashid International Sustainability Award. This was announced as part of the Ajman event and was attended by a large audience of conference participants. It received widespread praise and a notable response from researchers, officials, and environmental experts present.

In collaboration with leading environmental consulting firms, the Department of Municipality and Planning in Ajman, as part of the announcement of the Ajman Award, revealed that Ajman has high air quality and is an environmentally healthy city. The department will continue its collaboration with consultants for these studies to achieve its goals of declaring Ajman a healthy city according to the requirements and standards of the World Health Organization. Engineer Khaled Muayyin Al-Hosani, the Executive Director of the Public Health and Environment Sector at the Department of Municipality and Planning in Ajman and the head of the organizing committee for the conference, explained that the new award aims to encourage new applied research in the field of sustainability. It seeks to stimulate educational institutions and individuals to innovate in the areas of sustainability and green technology, honoring those who contribute to environmental protection, natural resource conservation, and innovation in green technology. The award also aims to promote the concept of sustainability, raise environmental awareness, and foster a culture of sustainable development through participation, learning, and encouraging institutions to adopt best green practices that aim to preserve the environment and natural resources while achieving the concept of sustainable development.

And Al-Hosani pointed out that the award, announced during the opening session of the environmental conference, is divided into three diverse categories aimed at promoting sustainability in the vital environmental field, protecting the environment, and preserving its natural resources. The first category is for the best research on sustainable cities. The second category is dedicated to environmental figures with an impact on innovation and the development of eco-friendly technology, supporting the concept of sustainability. The third category is for the best government institution or facility and the best private institution or facility that adopts the best green practices, contributes to the protection of natural resources, preserves the environment, and achieves sustainable development.

The conference focuses its interests on climate challenges, in line with the attention of specialized institutions and government departments in the UAE to this vital environmental file. These institutions have accomplished action plans related to climate change, with some currently working on other plans to fulfill their commitments. Ajman Municipality, beyond organizing the conference, aims to position Ajman strongly on the map of international forums and enhance the vision of Ajman 2021.