12 September 2018| Articles
My country’s achievements in the field of renewable energy have positioned it as one of the most economically competitive producers of clean electricity in the world. In November 2015, our visionary leadership launched the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 that seeks to address climate change through ensuring that renewable sources meet nearly half of the country’s energy requirements by 2050, in addition to reducing the carbon footprint of all power generated by 70 per cent. Our ambitions are pioneering, particularly in the context of our existing energy leadership, and I am deeply encouraged by our strong momentum.
Becoming a Permanent Representative of IRENA fulfils my lifelong endeavour to make sustainability a way of life in the UAE. I am fortunate indeed to come from a country that has nurtured the spirit of ingenuity and sustainability in me. I am committed to doing my part to strengthen the UAE’s partnerships with countries and institutions around the world to promote renewable energy and accelerate the pursuit of sustainable development.
In my new role as Permanent Representative I plan to ensure that the UAE mission to IRENA continues to contribute to the agency’s crucial work all over the world. IRENA has developed strong capabilities in research – both technical and policy-related – and promising networking opportunities that connect government, business and academia. These capabilities have demonstrated a sound business case for renewable energy to diverse stakeholders, and mapped out varied ways of collaboration. This is incredibly important work because we are at a critical tipping point in our history, where we must ensure that access to energy is achieved without compromising the environment. The UAE firmly supports this message and is dedicated to disseminating it across the globe.
Among the greatest challenges facing the energy transition is the speed at which energy consumption is growing in the UAE and around the world. We must be more mindful of our energy use to avoid undermining the vital contribution of renewables. The external costs of producing large amounts of energy to cope with ever-increasing demand include a deteriorating environment that can have severe implications on human health, availability of resources, the weather, and the overall standard of living – if not for us, then for our children. We need to urgently address high energy consumption and promote low-carbon sources of supply in equal measure.
If I could introduce one policy overnight I would promote a greater level of female participation in the sustainable energy sector through implementing training and development programmes that support women in building long-term, fulfilling careers in this field. Our nation has long recognised the importance of women’s meaningful participation, leadership and empowerment – not only in the energy industry but across all facets of our society. Today, perhaps as a natural outcome of our leadership’s endeavours, there are positive indications that women in the UAE view renewable energy as a preferred sector to work in.
IRENA spoke to the new Permanent Representative of the UAE, Her Excellency Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, to understand what drives this sustainability focus.