The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG), a public-private partnership for the benefit of sustainable development, hosted a Hiwar (the Arabic word for dialogue) session on water resource management and its implications for Abu Dhabi and the region. The session was attended by ADSG members and professionals from across multiple sectors interested in sustainability.
The Hiwar session brought together high profile speakers and provided a platform for subject matter experts to share their insights and experience. During the session, specific discussions covered Abu Dhabi’s water regulations and monitoring, the importance of behaviour change and awareness to support the delivery of the Emirate’s water strategy and the essential role of effective stakeholder engagement and the role of the provision of essential data in the decision making process with regard to the sustainable management of water resources in the region.
Speakers at the event included Will Day, Sustainability Advisor to PWC and Senior Associate of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, Dr. Adel Abdelkader, Regional Coordinator, Early Warning and Assessment, West Asia -United Nations Environment Programme, Khadija Bin Braik, Head of Waterwise, Regulation and Supervision Bureau Abu Dhabi, Dr. Mohamed Daoud, Water Resources Advisor, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and Tanzeed Alam, Policy Director, Emirates Wildlife Society – WWF.
“Participants in today’s Hiwar highlighted the need for an innovative and multi-sectoral approach to address the risks and opportunities related to sustainable water resource management in the context of climate change and rapid urbanisation,” said Huda Al Houqani, ADSG Director.
“Every day, water is being wasted. This has environmental impacts and it also costs money. During today’s Hiwar, we discussed how integrated water management can efficiently save water. This benefits not only the environment but also ensures cost savings for organisations and individuals by affecting their bottom line positively. Events like today’s Hiwar demonstrate how knowledge can stimulate behavioural change towards a new water- aware culture,” Al Houqani added.
The session helped make significant inroads into building a common understanding on water management, thereby providing valuable insights and opportunities to explore the subject in more details with key stakeholders.
The ADSG’s work aims to support the Abu Dhabi Government Vision 2030 and the UAE Government’s holistic policy development approach towards sustainability under a common vision, UAE Vision 2021 and the Green Growth strategy.
During the session, Will Day, Sustainability Advisor to PWC and Senior Associate of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, added “With dramatically increasing demands being placed on our planet’s natural resources by soaring human consumption, few things are as important or precious as fresh water. The choices that we make about how we use and manage water, be it for food, energy, or for our own consumption, will be critical if we are to achieve sustainable economies and societies in the years ahead.”
Dr. Adel Abdelkader, Regional Coordinator, Early Warning and Assessment, West Asia -United Nations Environment Programme, added “In order to address the water, energy and food nexus, we need to take an integrated management approach based on sound data and information, and citizen participation.”
Khadija Bin Braik, Head of Waterwise, Regulation and Supervision Bureau Abu Dhabi, added “Understanding why, where and how water is used is imperative to the success of future water management strategies. Waterwise is working on projects that are primarily focused on producing real tangible data that will help Abu Dhabi in developing solutions that will positively influence our future water demands.”
Since it was established in 2008, ADSG has organised seven Hiwar Sessions, which all helped to shed light on current economic, social and environmental issues and its implications for sustainability in Abu Dhabi as seen through the lens of practitioners from the government, business and not-for-profit community. These sessions covered different topics such as “Sustaining Sustainability: Building a Robust Network for Good”, “How best to build transparent and responsible organisations”, “UAE Vision 2021 and the Green Growth Vision”, “Climate Change and Financing the Green Economy and “Sustainability in Practice”.
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