Sustaining all life on Earth must be top priority of nations, say senior UAE government officials at IGCF 2020

UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi and SEWA Chairman Dr Rashid Alleem highlight best practices to combat climate change

  
Sustaining all life on Earth must be top priority of nations, say senior UAE government officials at IGCF 2020

Sharjah : Participants and audiences at a panel session titled ‘Equation of Survival’ at the 9th edition of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) in Sharjah agreed that ensuring the sustainability and preservation of life on Earth, in light of international reports on global warming should be addressed as a top priority.

Guest speakers HE Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment and Dr Rashid Alleem, Chairman of Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA), made compelling arguments on why reversing the effects of climate change must become the central focus for governments in years to come, or, all life on Earth – human, animal, plant – would come under serious threat.

In the discussion, moderated by Sharjah TV host, Reem Saif Al Maamari, Dr Al Zeyoudi revealed glaring statistics and scientific studies by international organisations that highlight the grim reality facing the world due to global warming, and shared possible negative consequences that would ensue if swift measures were not taken by governments worldwide.

Around the world, 1 in 9 individuals do not have access to safe water, and the world in 2050 could be dealing with 140 million climate refugees in  three densely populated regions of the world, he said. On biodiversity, he added that one million living species are now threatened with extinction due to irresponsible environmental practices. Al Zeyoudi added in 2018, the WHO estimated a death toll of seven million people every year caused by ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution.

Citing new and emerging positive global practices, the UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment praised the corresponding growth in the clean energy sector, saying a noticeable shift is being seen, for instance, in the increasing use of electric cars, and the forging of effective public-private partnerships to accelerate the pace of change towards sustainable practices. He also noted that global efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of nations must be doubled.

On his part, Dr Rashid Alleem underscored the most important practices undertaken by the UAE government to preserve its natural resources, and pointed out that renaming the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (previously Ministry of Environment and Water) in 2016 highlighted the UAE’s strong commitment to tackle global warming, officially sealing the issue as one of the ministry’s top concerns.

In line with the UAE’s directives, Alleem noted that SEWA has introduced a series of measures to protect the environment, including establishing a Conservation Department, which is tasked with raising awareness about conserving water and power among Sharjah’s households.

Alleem continued that the entity has also launched its ‘Earth Hour’ initiative to encourage people to rethink their consumption behaviours, which has proven successful in reducing power use during peak hours. He stressed that SEWA is always keen to learn from other successful global practices.

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