Masdar, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, hosted its fourth annual Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) Forum at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2019, with key speakers urging women and girls to play an active role in addressing global sustainability challenges.
Held under the theme of ‘The Role of Women in Advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals’, local and international dignitaries, business leaders and policymakers participated in this year’s WiSER Forum, including Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan Al Nahyan, Chief Executive Officer, Alliances for Global Sustainability; Her Royal Highness Princess Haifa Al Mogrin, Assistant Deputy Minister for Sustainable Development Affairs and Acting Assistant Deputy Minister for G20 Affairs, Ministry of Economy and Planning of Saudi Arabia; HE Eng. Suhail Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy & Industry, and Her Excellency Reem Bin Karam, Director, NAMA Women Advancement Establishment.
The WiSER Forum is a Masdar-led impact-focused platform, which aims to promote new thinking, viable solutions and lasting collaboration to empower present and future generations of female sustainability leaders.
In her keynote speech at the WiSER Forum, Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan Al Nahyan, said: “Now is the time to strive to achieve those [Sustainable Development] Goals whether in your organisation, or even through your purchasing power. Let us make a world where gender doesn’t matter. Where all girls have the right to education and where each individual doesn’t have to choose between raising a family or working. Let’s eradicate gender inequality.”
Other distinguished participants at the forum included HE Eng. Awaidha Al Marar, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Department of Energy; HE Razan Al Mubarak, Managing Director, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi; HE Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, UAE Permanent Representative to IRENA; and HE Eng. Fatima Al Foora AlShamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for Electricity, Water and Future Energy Affairs, Ministry of Energy and Industry.
They were joined by HE Rym Al Falasy, Secretary-General, The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood; HE Abdulla Lootah, Director-General, Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority; HE Reem Al Shemari, Executive Director, Strategic Affairs Communications, Executive Affairs Authority; and Adnan Amin, Director-General, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Delivering the forum’s welcome address, Dr. Lamya Fawwaz, Executive Director of Brand & Strategic Initiatives at Masdar, and WiSER Programme Director, said: “The WiSER Forum brings together ministers, sustainability experts and young women to explore opportunities for women to take a more active role in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Facilitating meaningful, action-oriented dialogue and connecting female leaders with our community of aspiring young women is the key aim of WiSER.”
The WiSER platform expanded this year to include the WiSER Pioneers Programme, which was launched at the Mohamed Bin Zayed Majlis for Future Generations in October of last year. The first cohort of 20 WiSER Pioneers began their year-long calendar of development this week at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2019 (ADSW).
Mubadala and NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA) are partnering to support the first year of the programme, which is focused on advancing young women aged 20-30 into the next generation of leaders across the sustainability sector by engaging with activists and researchers. The year-long programme will offer young women access to bespoke educational workshops, global networking events, highly sought-after professional internships and access to international thought leaders and policymakers.
HE Reem Bin Karam, Director, NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, said: “Both NAMA Women Advancement Establishment’s and WiSER’s mandate are strategically built towards making international initiatives for women locally relevant, and in this sense, we are natural partners. We, therefore, look forward to making the most of this year-long strategic partnership between us to accelerate women’s access to education and professional training, as well as bring them closer to effective networking opportunities.”
Bin Karam added: “Evidence-based programmes and targeted interventions need to be made on both micro and macro levels through such partnerships between like-minded organisations to achieve proper integration of women across sectors and functions. To make a real impact and achieve the desired outcomes of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we need to consolidate our efforts to bring women and men on the same platform to work together in emerging sectors.”
The WiSER platform was officially launched on the sidelines of the 70th United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 by Masdar and the Zayed Sustainability Prize, at the time known as the Zayed Future Energy Prize.