Keynote Address Highlights Abu Dhabi’s Government’s Contribution towards Creating Knowledge-Based Economy
Abu Dhabi-UAE: 18 December, 2011 – Tangible actions by the global environmental data and information community to bridge and rectify the growing obstacle to information gap will help in the conservation of our planet, said Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President of Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies.
Dr Moavenzadeh’s remarks came during his presentation titled ‘Moving the World Forward’ at the Eye on Earth 2011 Summit and Exhibition in Abu Dhabi that concluded on 15 December at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). The presentation was rooted in the ideals of sustainability and education propagated by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE.
Organized under the patronage of The UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Eye on Earth Abu Dhabi Summit aimed to address topics related to environmental information networking, including disaster management, oceans and blue carbon, water security, innovative cities, as well as networks beyond information technology.
Giving an overview of Abu Dhabi Government’s Masdar initiative, Dr Moavenzadeh’s said: “The 21st Century has begun by moving the world towards a knowledge-based economy, compared to the agrarian nature of the 19th century and the industrialization and cold war of the 20th century. This does not, however, mean we are giving up manufacturing or agriculture, but those two areas are becoming more and more automated with the major concern now focusing clearly on the environment and climate change.”
Highlighting the commitment to tackle these challenges, Dr Moavenzadeh said the Abu Dhabi Government launched the Masdar initiative. He said: “Masdar is endeavoring to move the world forward towards addressing the issues of environment and the opportunities that exist at this juncture. The UAE leadership seeks to actively participate in addressing the issues of environment, energy and climate change and to diversify the economy toward a knowledge-based one with emphasis on clean technology.”
Elaborating on the holistic and multidimensional approach to fulfilling the mission, Dr Moavenzadeh said Abu Dhabi is focusing on a two-pronged strategy – capital formation and market creation. The former will include human, intellectual and financial while the latter will cover start-ups, joint ventures and entrepreneurship, he pointed out.
Dr Moavenzadeh added: “Masdar Initiative was established in response to the commitment of Abu Dhabi to develop a comprehensive and holistic approach to tackle issues of environment and sustainable technology, develop the complete value chain that includes human resource, R&D capacity, venture capital, start-ups, and joint venture with major global firms. It also aims to create public awareness through platforms such as the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) and the Zayed Future Energy Prize (ZFEP). The successful attempt to locate the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi is also part of this initiative.”
Speaking about Masdar Institute that was set up by with Abu Dhabi Government with the ongoing collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dr Moavenzadeh added that the graduate-level research-driven institute aims to promote industry and government partnership.
Regionally, Masdar Institute is also the lead institution representing the GCC in the EU-GCC Clean Energy Network, which aims to advance the common interest between the EU and the GCC regions for strategic energy cooperation. The Clean Energy Network focuses on energy demand side management and energy efficiency, clean natural gas and related clean technologies, electricity interconnection and market integration, carbon capture and storage, as well as renewable energy sources.
Dr Moavenzadeh concluded: “We should not be constantly reinventing the wheel; therefore, access to and sharing of existing and vital information is not a luxury but a necessity and access to quality data is crucial, but often unavailable to poorer communities. Only through free flow of information will the world find solutions to preserve the plant.”
Established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow. With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change.