Youth are powerful agents of sustainable development: Minister of Climate Change tells CNN

DUBAI, 26th January, 2018 (WAM) — Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, described the youth as “the powerful agents of sustainable development”. This statement was made in an interview with the CNN’s Eco Solutions, a program which highlights innovative environmental solutions being offered by the global community. In the interview, he shared his insights on major environmental and current topics.

When asked how the UAE develops the creative and innovative potential in young people, he explained that the UAE Government pays a lot of attention to empowering the youth and providing them with the tools to innovate. “On the sidelines of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the Ministry organised the Climate Innovations Exchange (CLIX) to connect young entrepreneurs and investors to help drive sustainable climate change solutions. As it turned out, we received as many as 364 submissions from young innovators and entrepreneurs in 65 countries. That platform was brimming with innovation,” he said.

Dr. Thani Al-Zeyoudi, further detailed that funding has always been a challenge for taking the ideas of young innovators to the next level. However, CLIX offered a cutting-edge solution to overcome this hurdle, by bringing together investors and young innovators on the same platform. CLIX initially sought to secure funds valued at $2.2 million, but by the end of CLIX, investors have already expressed their intent to invest $17.5 million in these innovations in the first year alone. The intended investment figure has the potential to grow to $45.5 million over a three-year period, according to the investors.

And when asked how aggressively the UAE is pursuing renewables deployment, he said that the UAE started focusing on renewables in 2005, and it was the construction and property booming era in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Despite of their high cost at the time, the UAE leadership gave the directions to adopt renewable solutions. Ever since then, the UAE has made an impressive track record of accomplishments in this area.

“Reliance on renewables will grow tremendously in the upcoming few years, as investors are taking note of renewable projects and how lucrative they can be. But to be realistic, fossil fuels will always be there on the energy mix grid,” he added.

Talking proudly about Solar Impulse 2, the first plane powered by renewable energy to tour the globe without a single drop of fuel, he said: “The amazing journey of Solar Impulse 2, which took off from and eventually landed in Abu Dhabi, has sent a clear message to all that renewables can be as reliable as any other source of energy in mobility.”

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