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Ruler of Sharjah opens 6th Annual Arab Forum for Environment and Development
His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, President of American University of Sharjah (AUS), yesterday opened the two-day 6th Annual Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) at AUS under the theme: Sustainable Energy for Arab Countries.
Dr. Adnan Badran, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, AFED, delivered the inaugural speech in which he thanked the Ruler of Sharjah for his support to the conference and hosting by AUS. "The oil constitutes the greater part of energy in the region", he said, noting that the AFED report focuses on the renewable energy and a need for efficient management of energy sector.
Dr. Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahd, Minister of Environment and Water, thanked the Ruler of Sharjah for hosting the conference, stressing that the U.A.E. takes interest in the renewable energy in quest for diversification of energy sources.
For his part, Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Director of the Energy and Climate Change Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the U.A.E. in recent years has been focusing on the renewable energy, noting that the issue of renewable energy is vital to the U.A.E. given the fact that its facing increasing demand for energy, citing water desalination and industry sector. He added the demand for energy increased by 10 per cent in the recent years, referring to the population and economic growth.
Dr. Thomas Hochstettler, Acting Chancellor of AUS, welcomed the distinguished guests to the university. He said AUS was proud to be affiliated with this AFED conference and was pleased to serve as the venue for its deliberations. "We convene here today at a moment that is at once filled with alarm as well as hope. The sense of alarm that we collectively share stems in part from our expanding and deepening knowledge of the fragility of our physical environment," he said.
"This conference takes place in a setting that could not be more appropriate to the deliberations at hand. The emirate of Sharjah, under the leadership of His Highness, stands at the forefront not only regionally but also globally of civic polities that both understand the issues to which I allude and act decisively to address them. It is also fitting that this forum is taking place at a seat of learning and scholarship. American University of Sharjah is fully cognizant of the need for an ever-deepening understanding among the young people of our region of the environmental and developmental issues we confront and likewise of the need for the incisive scholarship on the part of our faculty and researchers in many disciplines that will ensure our ultimate success," he added.
Arab countries are blessed with huge potential of renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind, that have not been fully utilised yet. Still, some 60 million Arabs have no access to modern energy services. Energy efficiency and renewable energy resources can play a major role in improving energy access and eradicating poverty, particularly in rural and remote areas.
The high-level conference provides independent grounds to debate the findings of AFED Energy report among a group of experts and policy makers, leading to recommendations and a proposed roadmap.