By HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA
The UAE’s wise leadership believes in the centrality of the role of youth in achieving comprehensive sustainable development and in the success of Emirati youth in leading global issues and running international institutions. The UAE youth have taken to space and raised the UAE’s flag high in all international arenas. They repeatedly prove that their ambitions are limitless, and their knowledge, persistence and passion make them reliable in fulfilling the responsibility and hopes placed on their shoulders. They are our true wealth and the pillar of our progress and elevation. All of this is thanks to the wise directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the UAE has become at the forefront of countries that attach great importance to youth. It provides them with all opportunities and tools that enable them to constructively contribute to shaping a more sustainable future for future generations. The UAE has become a role model in empowering youth and enhancing their role locally and regionally. It also enhances their contribution to providing innovative solutions to accelerate the energy transition and achieve climate goals.
The first Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP28) Presidency-hosted and youth-led event, ‘Road to COP28’, reflects the trust placed by the UAE in Emirati youth and belief in their potential, competency and capabilities. It also shows the UAE’s keenness to encourage and motivate them, and strengthen communication between youth and those involved in climate action, consolidate their presence in global events, including the COP28, hosted by the UAE at Expo City Dubai in November this year. The UAE has launched many programmes and initiatives to engage the youth in climate change. The first cycle of the UAE Youth Climate Delegate Program (YCDP) aims to strengthen awareness of the UAE’s track record in climate action and its pioneering work towards addressing climate change. It ensures that youth perspectives and needs are reflected in global climate policy. The updated version of the UAE’s second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement emphasises the importance of engaging women, youth, and climate-vulnerable communities in an all-inclusive approach to developing policies and programmes that promote climate-smart living as a way of building a more sustainable future.
In the UAE and Dubai, we are responsible for qualifying youth and providing them with entrepreneurial skills to enable them to achieve their ambitions as part of the green development to support the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 and the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement 2015. The Middle East and North Africa region has strong potential to provide effective solutions that will help many countries mitigate and adapt to climate change without compromising on their pace of development. We rely on COP28 as the milestone for consolidating the region’s contribution to climate action worldwide, building partnerships and cooperation with all parties, especially among youth, to accelerate the process of building a better future for us and for generations to come. The COP28 UAE Presidency launched International Youth Climate Delegate Program, to select 100 youth delegates, primarily from least developed countries (LDC) and small island developing states (SIDS), to participate in climate negotiations and related public-private partnership initiatives.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) adopts an integrated strategy to qualify youth to participate in different aspects of national work. The strategy aims to empower young people and encourage them to build the nation, and anticipate and shape the future. At DEWA, we realise that today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders and the cornerstone of a brighter future for current and future generations. We strive to make them effective partners in achieving the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 and the Dubai Net Zero Carbon Emissions Strategy 2050 to provide 100% of Dubai’s total power capacity from clean energy sources by 2050, and the UAE Centennial 2071 to make the UAE the world’s leading nation.
DEWA is one of the largest government organisations that attract citizens, and it is also one of the largest government organisations in the UAE that is keen on recruiting, qualifying, and developing national calibre. The percentage of Emiratisation at DEWA has reached 88.14% in senior management. The number of Emirati employees at DEWA exceeds 3,388 males and females in various positions, including 1,889 employees in technical positions; 587 are female engineers. This supports efforts to empower women in the country. Youth resources at DEWA include 3,464 employees between 18 and 35 years old, comprising 30.9% of the total workforce. There are 2,149 young male and female Emirati employees, representing 19.2% of the total number of employees. DEWA’s Youth Council plays a pivotal role in creating communication bridges with other youth councils across the UAE. DEWA’s Youth Council participates in national programmes and initiatives to enhance the effective adoption of green economy solutions and the expected economic and environmental objectives to achieve carbon neutrality.
The World Green Economy Summit (WGES), which is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and is organised by DEWA, the World Green Economy Organization and the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, also attaches great importance to youth. It enables young participants to join high-level discussions with heads of state, experts and thought leaders. The summit provides young people with a platform to communicate their ideas, exchange experiences, and learn about best global practices in the green economy and climate change mitigation. The interactive event also deepens their understanding of future challenges and presents their proposals for sustainable economic development.
Amid the growing interest in climate action in the UAE and the world, in the Year of Sustainability, we are working to strengthen the country’s leading position and enhance its competitiveness. We look forward to making COP28 a global platform for consolidating the interaction of Emirati youth with the youth of the world, highlighting the achievements we have made in our human-development journey, consolidating prosperity and development, and ensuring a better tomorrow for people everywhere. Finally, I thank the distinguished youth calibre for their dedication to supporting sustainable development. You are our national investment in the future. We are proud of you.