Why sustainability is key to our future
Climate change was on an accelerating course, 700 million people still lived in extreme poverty and conflicts in war-torn countries remained entrenched.
More than 815 million people remain hungry and an additional two billion people are expected to be undernourished by 2050, while almost a billion people have no electricity.
Furthermore, without action, the world’s average surface temperature rise is likely to surpass 3°C this century.
As the annual Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) returns to the emirate this week, doubling down on those UN SDG’s — in particular, a push for better and more coordinated international action on climate change — has been earmarked as a key priority for this year’s agenda, as delegations from around the world, including Saudi Arabia, head to the UAE capital to discuss advancing the world’s sustainable development.
“We welcome the expanded pillars of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week as a means of attracting an even broader range of stakeholders to join the sustainability discussion and to innovate new approaches to addressing the challenges of climate change, resource scarcity and energy access.” The focus on climate change (SDG 13) at ADSW will be a call to action for global leaders to get behind sustainability goals and turn the tide against climate change, under #WeAreCommitted, an online campaign which has brought together sheikhs, government ministers, ambassadors, business leaders and young innovators to share their commitments to sustainability.
Since the UN SDGs were established, GCC leaders in nations that are most likely affected by increasing average temperatures, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have been doing their part to push forward environmental programs and implement renewable energy projects that will reverse the impact climate change.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, led the way for renewable energy developments in 2018, with up to $7 billion worth of new tenders, according to an official from the International Renewable Energy Agency, while the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 aims to achieve the UN objectives by encouraging more investment in alternative energy.
Speaking to Arab News, Marine Pouget, policy advisor for climate politics and civil society in the MENA region at Germanwatch, which aims to tackle climate change, said: “Saudi Arabia is a key player for the energy and ecological transitions” to a more sustainable world, as one of the most important oil countries.
“This region is extremely affected by climate change, because of its natural dry climate.
“The (GCC) needs to reduce emissions, work on energy transition with ambitious targets for renewables, establish climate laws and legislation, and work on adaptation to tackle desertification, water scarcity and heat waves.” Adnan Z. Amin, director general of the IRENA, said ADSW has become the “premier meeting point for those invested in the transition to a sustainable world.” “The reason it is so important today… is that over the over past couple of years our attention has been focused on game-changing events.
UAE keen to support Pakistan in water sector
Mohammad Arshad Islamabad The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has expressed keen interest in supporting Pakistan in the water sector.
In this regard, UAE has expressed readiness to provide immediate and technical solutions to the ongoing water issues in Metropolitan Karachi.
In this connection, a delegation from UAE headed by Emirati Ambassador Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Al Zaabi, Wednesday, held a meeting with Federal Minister for Energy Syed Ali Zafar here and discussed issues relating bilateral relations and mutual cooperation.
The guests indicated their capacities in waste water treatment, revamping of waste water treatment besides installation of new water treatment plants to fulfill the requirement of Karachi city.
The Minister thanked the delegation for their plans to invest in this much needed sector and said that there is wide opportunity to invest in various others sectors of Pakistan.
Minister affirmed that he is committed to layout plan to counter water scarcity issue and has constituted the team of experts in this regard.
He recommended the delegation to hold meeting with officials of Water Resources Division and Provincial Government of Sindh to discuss the feasibility and implementation of their investment plan in detail.
UAE delivers emergency aid to 30,000 people affected by drought in Somalia
JUBALAND, Somalia, 25th June, 2018 (WAM) — The Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation has distributed 824 tonnes of food items to 6,000 families – around 30,000 people – in the drought-stricken area of Jubaland in Somalia.
The food aid was distributed as part of the Foundation’s first phase of relief assistance this season and is in line with the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and H.H.
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and Chairman of the Khalifa Foundation.
A spokesperson from the organisation said that the humanitarian assistance aims to alleviate the burdens of the Somali people in the face of the severe drought affecting the area.
The aid was distributed in cooperation with local authorities.
Water must be treated as the scarce, precious resource it is
Fewer still have entertained the prospect of a time when water is neither cheap nor ubiquitous.
Top-down policies and precautionary measures might offset the problem but what is needed is a shift in public perception.
Currently, water is viewed by too many as plentiful and dispensable rather than an essential and precious resource.
Its usage in Abu Dhabi is currently rising by 9.5 per cent annually.
It behoves us all to limit our personal consumption by taking measures such as having shorter showers and not leaving taps running to ensure this country never falls victim to acute water scarcity.
The UAE’s primary water sources are groundwater, desalinated water and treated wastewater.
The former accounts for 51 per cent of the country’s needs but the ancient aquifers that house it are rapidly emptying.
Some shrewd action has been taken.
Yet if consumption continues to rise, these steps could prove limited.
Water scarcity is one of many environmental challenges facing countries in this region and beyond.
UAE- DEWA & Suqia educate school students on water conservation
(MENAFN – Emirates News Agency (WAM)) DUBAI, 25th March, 2018 (WAM) — Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, DEWA, and the UAE Water Aid Foundation, Suqia, under the umbrella of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, MBRGI, organised an awareness programme to raise the awareness of school students in Dubai on the global issues of water crisis, water scarcity, sustainability and rationalisation of natural resources.
Since its launch in October 2017, the programme, organized in association with Surge Middle East, included interactive and educational activities with the participation of over 1,400 students in Dubai schools and around 60 volunteer trainers from DEWA.
The programme includes a virtual trip around the world to identify the problem of water scarcity and the challenges facing millions of people around the world to obtain clean water.
It focuses on the concepts of equal distribution of water in different countries, water footprint, sustainability and rationalisation of resources.
"In line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, DEWA is committed to involve and inform the young people, as future leaders, about global environmental and sustainability issues, especially water shortage," said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Suqia.
We strive to highlight the issue of water scarcity and how we can contribute to solving it around the world and work for a better future for the entire human race, he added.
The programme also supports the Demand Side Management Strategy we adopted with the ultimate objective of cutting 30 per cent of our power and water consumption by 2030, he added.
Mohammed Abdulkareem Al Shamsi, Acting Executive Director of Suqia, said, "This programme aims to reach more than 3,600 primary and elementary students in 24 schools in Dubai, until the end of the current academic year.
We are committed to achieving the objectives, set by the MBRGI, to combat poverty and disease by contributing to finding permanent and sustainable solutions to water scarcity issue by using solar energy."
WAM/Elsadig Idriss/Hassan Bashir
Tanzania: Measures in Place to End Isles’ Water Problems
Authorities say that despite huge efforts that have been taken by the government to improve water supply, still there is a shortage of more than 234 million litres of water to meet the daily demand in Unguja and Pemba.
In the Urban-West region, the water availability is 63 percent of the daily demand, in Unguja North region is 48 percent and 50 percent in Unguja South region while in Pemba, the availability of water has reached 83 percent in north region and 87 percent in South Region.
A statement from the government says "All these ongoing operations undertaken by STECOL Company from China will be completed by April 2019, and upon its completion it will increase the availability of water in the urban west region from 67 million litres to 81 litres per day, an increase of 20.9 percent."
The minister responsible for water Ms Salama Aboud Talib said in addition, a big water project that was undertaken by the ‘China First Highway Engineering Company (CFHEC)’ geared to improve water supply in North and South Regions of Unguja was successfully completed last month (December, 2017).
The news about government’s efforts to overcome water crisis in its urban and rural areas comes at the time when complains against water shortage continues including call for water desalination.
It is thought that by the year 2025, the situation may become worse when two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages, and that the problems needs to be highlighted and re-emphasized over and over again so that everyone takes role.
Water scarcity or lack of safe drinking water is one of the World’s leading problems affecting more than 1.1 billion people globally, meaning that one in every six people lacks access to safe drinking water.
World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is about focusing attention on the importance of water.
Environmentalists and activists also link water shortage to excessive and unsustainable human consumption, and overuse of water across the board and in all forms of industrial processes such as Non-sustainable domestic practices such as leaving taps running when water is not needed.
Effects and Severe Consequences of Water Shortages are many including spending less time on other development activities for women, and Gender Based Violence (GBV) including being abused by rapists while children and women walk long distance or wake-up very early in search for water.
Yemen: The world’s ‘worst humanitarian crisis’ in numbers
FILE – In this May 9, 2015 file photo, boys carry relief supplies to their families who fled fighting in the southern city of Aden, in Taiz, Yemen.
It comes as aid groups say coalition airstrikes are destroying critical infrastructure and that the coalition needs to do more to facilitate the delivery of fuel, food and medicine at Yemeni ports.
(Abdulnasser Alseddik, File/Associated Press) DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Yemen was already the poorest country in the Arab world before a Saudi-led coalition went to war with Iran-allied rebels in March 2015 in a failed bid to drive them from the capital and much of the country’s north.
On Monday, Saudi Arabia announced $1.5 billion in new humanitarian aid for Yemen and vowed to expand the capacity of Yemen’s ports to receive fuel, food and medicine, as well as establish “safe passage corridors” to ensure transportation of aid to non-governmental organizations inside Yemen.
The amount pledged represents about half that demanded by the U.N. in its latest humanitarian appeal.
— More than 22 million people, including 11 million children, are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to U.N. officials and the International Committee of the Red Cross — More than 8 million people are totally dependent on food assistance and considered a “step away from famine”, according to the U.N. — An estimated 17.8 million Yemenis are considered “food insecure,” meaning they do not know where their next meal will come from, according to the U.N. — More than 400,000 children are suffering from acute malnutrition, according to the World Food Program — Some 15.7 million Yemenis lack access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation services, according to the ICRC — Some 16.4 million Yemenis lack access to adequate health care, according to the U.N. — Another 24.3 million lack access to public electricity, according to the ICRC — Yemen, a country of 27 million people, imports about 90 percent of its staple food and nearly all of its fuel and medicine, according to the U.N. — Since the start of the war, Human Rights Watch has documented 87 apparently unlawful attacks by the Saudi-led coalition, some of which may amount to war crimes, killing nearly 1,000 civilians and hitting homes, markets, hospitals, schools, and mosques.
— The price of petrol, diesel and cooking gas increased in December by more than 200 percent from its pre-war cost, according to the World Food Program.
— There were more than 1 million suspected cholera cases reported last year and more than 2,230 associated deaths, according to the World Health Organization — As of late December, there were 381 suspected diphtheria cases in Yemen and 38 associated deaths, nearly all of them children under 15, according to the World Health Organization.
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The UAE Space Agency celebrates third anniversary
Abu Dhabi: The UAE’s Mars 2117 project, which will see Emirati settlement on Mars within 100 years, will help solve many crucial problems like scarcity of water and food on earth, a senior official said in an interview with Gulf News on Sunday.
The new project will be associated with research themes featuring the exploration of transportation means, energy and food on Mars.
The research to meet such challenges on Mars as part of Mars 2117 project will help solve similar problems in the region, the official said.
You do research on space and find solutions to problems on earth.
This is very similar to what India, a developing nation making big progress in the space sector, is doing.
Dr Ahmad Abdullah Belhoul Al Falasi said the UAE Space Agency has become the largest agency in the region to oversee a modern space programme.
Dr Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said the stamp highlighted the UAE’s ambitions towards Mars by detailing the Hope Probe, which has spearheaded national space exploration programmes.
The agency also launched a new website, with a modern, interactive and user-friendly design that highlights its various missions and departments.
Collaboration UAE to have collaboration with almost all global agencies by this year The UAE Space Agency will establish official collaboration with all prominent space agencies across the world by the end of this year, a senior official told Gulf News in an interview on Sunday.
Over the past three years, the agency has developed laws and regulations governing the national space sector.
Auma opens Dubai service centre to support Gulf growth
Auma opens Dubai service centre to support Gulf growth.
DUBAI, UAE – Electric actuator manufacturer AUMA has opened a Sales and Service Centre in Dubai to help strengthen its presence in the Gulf Region.
Located in the Jebel Ali free trade zone, the new AUMA Middle East FZE office will become the hub for all AUMA’s activities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman and North Africa.
The Dubai office is affiliated to the AUMA Actuators Middle East subsidiary in Bahrain, which was founded in 2008.
The Bahrain office will continue to support customers and agents in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, and also serves as the regional training centre.
AUMA’s new Sales and Service Center in Dubai comprises modern offices, a workshop for valve integration, training facilities, and the company’s central spare parts stock for the MENA region.
The team includes some experienced AUMA experts who previously operated from AUMA’s Bahrain office.
The company has supplied its products to a wide range of major projects including plants for seawater desalination, water treatment, power generation, and oil and gas production, storage and processing.
As the office is in a free trade zone, shipment of goods is much easier; we can very quickly deliver actuators and spare parts to customer sites.
And we are much closer to our customers, we can provide even more comprehensive support to valve makers, consultants and EPC contractors who all have offices in Dubai.” ### Read more Australian pipeline project improves operations with high-precision actuators ACE Technician certification scheme to boost actuator standards in control industry
Nuclear power ‘vital’ to meet Middle East’s water demand
Nuclear power ‘vital’ to meet Middle East’s water demand.
"The future is not very bright," said Denis Borisov, projects manager at Roland Berger, the global strategy consultancy, speaking at AtomExpo in Moscow yesterday.
"There are many factors for the increase in water demand in the future namely the growth of population, urbanisation and a change in the patterns of consumption."
The UAE already desalinates its water in abundance with 96 per cent of domestic consumption of water coming from one of the 70 desalination plants in the country.
"Seawater desalination is the lifeline for some regions, including the Gulf," said Hamad Alkaabi, UAE ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"Nuclear is a proven technology that provides more than 16 per cent the world’s electricity in over 30 countries.
The option of combining nuclear power with seawater desalination has been proven technically and has the potential for wider commercial use in the near future.
"Considering climate change and economic growth, nuclear power generation is the most environmentally-friendly and safe as it does not have co2 emissions nor exhaust gases," he added.
"We have countries facing chronic water shortage so one way of solving that is providing them with seawater," said Cristina del Piccolo, chief technologist at Veolia Water Technologies in Italy, which has desalination plants in Sharjah, Fujairah and Abu Dhabi.
More than of half of desalination technologies are found in the Middle East, followed by 17 per cent in North America.